From the Worldwide Faith News archives

"Spirituality of Resistance" key theme of WCC's contribution to World Social Forum

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Tue, 21 Jan 2003 17:10:24 +0100

World Council of Churches
Press Release PR-03-04
For Immediate Use
21 January 2003

"Spirituality of Resistance" key theme of WCC's contribution to World Social

For the World Council of Churches (WCC) delegation taking part in the World
Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 23-28 January, the emphasis will be on
a spirituality directed towards resistance. 

"We are witnessing the development of a spirituality that supports the powers
responsible for the current unjust and unsustainable process of corporate
globalization. For that reason, we need to recover the long tradition of a
Christian spirituality critical of power. It is a spirituality which has
given those without power the strength and courage to oppose those who abuse
it," explains Rogate Mshana, responsible for the WCC's Economic Justice

Delegation members will lead a series of workshops showing links between
Christian spirituality and examples of resistance against the unjust world
order by churches and social and ecumenical organizations. 

The workshop subjects are:
* water for life (alternatives to water privatization)
* international challenges to peace movements
* alternatives to economic globalization
* the Decade to Overcome Violence: affirming peace and reconciliation
* youth against globalization.

WCC delegation members will also participate in two discussion panels
arranged by the Forum organizers. WCC director of Programme Genevieve Jacques
will give a presentation in a panel on "Fighting intolerance: respect for
diversity" (Saturday morning, 25 January), and the coordinator of the WCC
programme on Impunity, Truth and Reconciliation Guillermo Kerber will speak
on the panel "Democratic strategies to resolve international conflicts"
(Sunday morning, 26 January).

WCC president Bishop Federico Pagura has been invited by the Forum organizers
to share his experience as a Christian committed to the cause of the people
in a "Testimonies" section (Monday afternoon 27 January). The selection
criterion was that the contributors be "personalities whose lives and work
for freedom and human dignity are examples and pointers towards a new world".

The WCC delegation will be active at the World Social Forum within the
framework of an Ecumenical Caucus set up by the WCC, the Lutheran World
Federation, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, the Latin American Council of
Churches and an ecumenical coalition of Brazilian churches and related

Intended as the voice of the ecumenical community at the Forum, the Caucus
will be organizing:
a seminar on church campaigns on trade in various countries and regions
(Monday morning, 27 January)
* an "encounter tent" on the campus of the Catholic Pontifical University
* an ecumenical worship service on Sunday morning, 26 January, on the theme
"Encountering spiritual paths to peace"
* daily times of devotion.   

"The churches were not very visible at earlier Forum meetings, although they
strongly supported the causes on its agenda," Rogate Mshana comments. "We
hope that our higher profile on this occasion will enable us to strengthen
our participation in the social movements working to ensure that all human
beings can live in dignity."
Further details of how the WCC is participating in the World Social Forum,
including descriptions of the workshops and the text of the presentations,
can be found at: (English) (Espaqol) (Deutsch)	  (Frangais)

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office,  tel: +41
(0)22 791 64 21 / (41 22) 791 61 53


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in
more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which
meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in
1948 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

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