Written by Gradye Parsons
Each month the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Moderator or Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly write a column of general interest for the church-at-large.
The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) brings together people from all over the globe. Men and women dress in the clothing of their country – I wear khakis and a sports coat – and you hear many languages and see many different customs.
In the midst of it all, it is the stories that make the impression.
There is the story of a bright 19-year-old woman who has had HIV since birth. She is full of faith and energy. She has questions for the church, like what questions won’t be answered and may not be allowed? How can we become an HIV-negative world if we don’t talk honestly with our young people?
Then there is the story of a man from a small island in the Pacific. The tallest point on the island is 12 feet. The change in the climate and the rise of the oceans is not theory to him, but reality. Where are we in the Noah flood story, he asked? Why is it that we have done nothing to cause the situation, but still see no ark for our deliverance?
It also cannot go unmentioned that the WCC is meeting in the Republic of Korea on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. The churches in North Korea were not permitted to attend the gathering. The earnest desire for reunification is real and deep. How can we move from hope to action?
Christ is very evident here. From children’s choirs to Bible studies and worship services, sisters and brothers in the WCC lift up the head of the church and humbly ask for guidance.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.