From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
WCC Central Committee Members Agree Mission Is Central
04 May 1996 20:38:52
95333 WCC Central Committee Members Agree Mission Is Central
to the Life of the Church
by Jerry L. Van Marter
GENEVA--"The jamming noise of violent governments and contentious churches
demands constant messages from World Council of Churches (WCC) member
churches to foster renewal of mission in word and deed."
Those words, by Anna Marie Aagaard of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in Denmark, were echoed by countless speakers Sept. 15 as the WCC Central
Committee turned its attention to mission and evangelism. The WCC is
developing a new statement on mission and evangelism that will be presented
and discussed at a world conference on the subject next year. The
statement will be voted on by delegates to the WCC's Eighth Assembly in
Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1998.
"Mission is not an option," Aagaard said. "We must witness truthfully
and relevantly to the presence of Jesus Christ in the world." And such
witness must possess clarity, she added. "The way we live and proclaim the
faith becomes the story that is told, so we must become the embodiment of
counterviolence and counterconflict. We cannot be hazy and unclear about
God's grace and the demands of discipleship."
The Rev. Hector Mendez of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba
responded that hope is a key element in the church's mission. "Many people
in my country are coming back to the ways of God," he said. "Our mission
involves hope: to interlink Christian faith with hope so the people may
restore their lives."
The Rev. George Tsetsis, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
(Turkey), said Western Christians must pay closer attention to their own
spiritual well-being. "Western churches must renew the proclamation of the
gospel where they are, for the gospel is being abandoned too often by
The Rev. Aaron Tolen of the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, charging
that some in his country who call themselves Christian practice brutality
and torture, said mission planners need to ask, "What does it mean to be
Christian today? Why are we Christians? What difference does being a
Christian mean in real life?"
The Rev. Drexel Gomez from the Bahamas agreed that mission and
evangelism efforts must match word with deed. "There is a gap between
proclamation and practice," he said. "We are bilingual -- speaking a
different language on Sunday than the rest of the week."
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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