A new online publication from the World Council of Churches invites parishes and congregations to explore the themes of Christian unity, justice and peace in advance of the upcoming 10th Assembly of the WCC.
Entitled Pilgrimage to Busan: A Journey into Ecumenical Christianity, the six-unit resource is designed for use by congregations in study groups, adult forums, or for a day-long retreat as a way to study the theme to the upcoming assembly, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.
The assembly will take place 30 October to 10 November 2013 in Busan, Republic of Korea. It will be the most diverse Christian gathering of its size in the world.
"As we move toward our 2013 assembly in Busan, we can reflect on who we are, and what we are called to do as Christians," said the WCC General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
"I hope that Christians everywhere will join this journey, exploring the exciting themes and issues of world Christianity using this resource. Meeting each other in this way, Christian communities are joined in solidarity for justice and peace," he added.
Each unit or "station stop" in the resource draws participants into a specific situation (for example, that of Orthodox churches in Eastern Europe, or Dalit Christians in India) and focuses on a key ecumenical theme (unity, mission, peace, justice, prayer, discipleship).
"Ecumenism is really a movement for renewing Christianity. It entails a conversion in one's scope of concern, and it begins with encountering Christians very different from oneself," said resource writer, the Rev Dr Karen L. Bloomquist.
"Through stories, reflection, prayer and exploring other linked resources, people can deepen their awareness of other Christians and their own discipleship," she declared.
The resource includes participants’ and leaders’ guides which are available online for free download at the WCC assembly website. The resource is also suitable for printing.
The leaders’ guide offers deep background on the sites, themes and issues of each unit, along with links to further resource material. The participants’ guide structures the reflection and discussion, suggesting possibilities for practical engagement that are at the heart of the "pilgrimage".
Translations of the resource in French, German, Spanish and Korean are underway. Churches are invited to provide and distribute additional translations.
An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
* WCC assembly congregational resource Pilgrimage to Busan: http://wcc2013.info/en/resources/pilgrimage-to-busan/
* Official website of the WCC 10th Assembly: http://wcc2013.info/en