From the Worldwide Faith News archives

World Council of Churches Presidents

Date 22 May 1996 17:08:17

16 May 1996 
96173          World Council of Churches Presidents 
                     Issue Pentecost Message 
                 by Ecumenical News International 
GENEVA--The following is the full text of the 1996 Pentecost message from 
the presidents of the World Council of Churches.  The presidents of the 
World Council of Churches are Anna Marie Aagaard (Denmark), Vinton Anderson 
(U.S.A.), Leslie Boseto (Solomon Islands), Priyanka Mendis (Sri Lanka), 
Parthenios of Alexandria (Egypt), Eunice Santana (Puerto Rico), Shenouda of 
Alexandria (Egypt), and Aaron Tolen (Cameroon). 
     "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
     "On the day of Pentecost the apostles and a group of women, including 
Mary the mother of Christ, were all gathered in one place in Jerusalem. 
     "Suddenly they heard a noise like a strong, driving wind.  They saw 
what appeared to be flames of fire, and the flames rested on each of them. 
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. 
     "At Pentecost 1996 congregations of God's people will gather in many 
places all over the world to give thanks for the great things God has done 
and continues to do, as the Holy Spirit takes our lives and incorporates us 
too into the fellowship of the Spirit. 
     "The emerging of a new community with the event of Pentecost and the 
emerging new communities thereafter as witnesses to the Spirit's continuous 
presence constitute one God-given reality. The experience of the Spirit is 
linked with the experience of communities bound in the Spirit to Christ and 
to each other. 
     "In Jerusalem, once, there were pilgrims from all over the known 
world: Partians, Medes, and Elamites, visitors from Rome, Cretans and 
Arabs.  They were strangers to one another, unacquainted with each other's 
stories, histories, homes and even languages. 
     "But the breaking in of the Spirit within this complex setting made 
them hear and see that they were all being invited into a community of 
faith -- without being asked to do the impossible: to forget their stories, 
abandon their homes or step out of their traditions.  It was in their own 
tongues that they heard -- and understood -- the good news of Christ's 
resurrection.  To their amazement and perplexity they heard and understood 
the good news that God is faithful and calls everyone into the community of 
resurrection faith -- even if the tower of Babel still stands, even if they 
will remain in many ways strangers to each other, even if it will continue 
to be difficult for them to acknowledge a bonding together of the unlike as 
a sign of the Spirit's presence. 
     "And so, let us pray on this day of Pentecost: 
     Come, Holy Spirit, come. 
     Comfort, cleanse and renew your churches. 
     Make our ways godly, 
     so that the community we are 
     may be a witness in word and deed to your presence, 
     and that this witness may suffice 
     for men and women everywhere 
     to know that you are God;, 
     both the Giver and gift of new life." 

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