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Plenary: Caring for Life

The plenary focuses on the sanctity of life and will emphasise the dignity and integrity of all human beings

02 September 2003

World Council of Churches
CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Geneva, Switzerland
26 August - 2 September 2003

 Plenary: Caring for Life


Moderator: Dr Agnes Abuom, President of the WCC.

The plenary will focus on the sanctity of life and will emphasise the dignity and integrity of all human beings by presenting the interim theological statement prepared by the WCC Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network (EDAN) and by addressing challenges raised by new technologies, specifically genetic engineering. The Central Committee will receive the EDAN theological statement that was prepared in co-operation with the Faith and Order team. The plenary will also affirm the need for the churches to engage with each other concerning the challenges posed by genetic engineering. The Policy Reference Committee II may include a specific recommendation on genetic engineering in its report to the Central Committee.

Main objectives:
- Central Committee to receive the EDAN statement and commend it for study by WCC member churches;
- Central Committee to encourage work on genetic engineering by the WCC and to call for the creation of a database on initiatives and statements by member churches concerning genetic engineering, a Bossey seminar in 2004, and the presentation of a study document in 2005.

The first session of the plenary will:
- emphasise the biblical understanding of the dignity and integrity of human beings made in the image of God and the sanctity of all life through a Bible study on Psalm 8 (group responsible: EDAN);
- ask an EDAN representative to present the theological statement prepared by EDAN in co-operation with the Faith and Order team.

The second session will:
- move on to the challenges raised by genetic engineering through a power point presentation;
- give an opportunity for two Central Committee members to share about initiatives taken by their churches on these issues and how they are motivated theologically (N.N., Pacific, and Loise Dauway, United Methodist Church/USA);
- give space for a debate among CC members, beginning with buzz groups and ample time for discussion in plenary.