Churches in the Pacific can become "signs of hope" as they "bear witness to the Gospel and work together to address the issues that most concern the peoples of the region," World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia said in a message sent to the 9th assembly of the Pacific Conference of Churches this week.
The gathering will take place 2-8 September 2007 at the Kanana Fou Theological Seminary, in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Over 200 delegates from 25 churches and 7 national councils of churches are expected to attend the proceedings under the theme "Atua [God], empower us to be liberating communities." Over 30 young delegates will attend a youth pre-assembly taking place at the same venue 31 August-1 September.
The work of the Pacific churches takes place amidst "new challenges to political stability, environmental well-being and economic and cultural autonomy," Dr Kobia underlined in his message.
He expressed hopes that the assembly would be an "opportunity to focus the attention of the churches and councils on a common vision of unity and witness, and to coordinate strategies to address the critical issues within the region".
The full text of the letter to the delegates and participants can be found here: http://www.oikoumene.org/index.php?id=4133