From the Worldwide Faith News archives

"Ecumenical tide is changing," WARC chief says

Date 20 Jun 2002 09:16:40 -0400

Note #7286 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


"Ecumenical tide is changing," WARC chief says

by Midge Mack

COLUMBUS, OH - Dan Rift, associate director of the Worldwide Ministries Division of the Presbyterian Church (USA), opened the annual Ecumenical Breakfast on June 19 with the observation, "To be Presbyterian is to be ecumenical."

The assertion was echoed later by the Rev. C.S. Song, president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), the featured speaker for the event.

Song, whose roots are deep in the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, is professor of theology at the Pacific School of Religion in California and pastor of a small Taiwanese Presbyterian church. "They asked me to help them out for two or three months," he said, "and I've now been there five years."

Song told his audience: "The ecumenical tide is changing. The questions before us are 'How do we get all of us mobilized to serve the world?' and 'How do we facilitate peace in our parts of the world?'" 

"It is fitting," he said, "that the theme of the WARC Celebration coming in 2004 in Accra, Ghana, is 'Life' - that abundant life that God calls us to, that Jesus teaches us.

"We cannot say to the world that God loves us all, and in the next breath that we will be condemned to hell forever if we do not believe that only Jesus offers us God's way. That frightens people. No wonder they don't believe.

"Let us remember that Jesus was unpredictable, and that his own disciples didn't understand. We still do not understand." 

Using stories from his own life as Jesus used parables, Song described how language and cultural customs sometimes prevent understanding, but pointed out that "Jesus broke the language barrier."  

"To be Reformed Christians, truly catholic as God is catholic," he concluded, "we must realize that what Christ meant by 'bread' was not the quantity of loaves, but the fullness of life."
The breakfast was attended by more than 100 people.
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