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Message to the 34th General Assembly of the WSCF

17 July 2008

1-9 August 2008

 "Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;

your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

your old men shall dream dreams,

and your young men shall see visions."

Joel 2:28

May peace, justice and unity be yours through the unfailing presence of our Triune God!

The prophet Joel foresaw a pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh. He proclaimed not only that "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy", not only that the young would "see visions", but also that older members of the community would "dream dreams". On the basis of age, I am qualified to dream the dreams of which Joel spoke. And I wish to share my dreams with you.

My dreams encompass memories: living memories that include my own experience of participating nearly 40 years ago in founding the Christian Students Council of Kenya, of serving as national chair of that fledgling organization, of representing Kenyan students in the 26th General Assembly of the WSCF held at Addis Ababa in 1973. This was an early stage in my ecumenical journey, and I am profoundly aware of the influence that the student Christian movement can have in shaping a person's life.

My dreams embrace the longer ecumenical memory of a movement toward peace and justice. It is a movement of disciples following in the footsteps of Jesus, generation after generation, committed in faith to love of God and neighbour, to deeds of compassion, to unity, witness and mission, to the establishment of righteousness throughout the earth.

My dreams resound with the stirring of "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Rev. 7:9). It is a dream of the intended harmony of creation, the transformation of the earth we know, the realization of the kingdom of God. My dream is based in memory yet open to prophetic visions.

The Holy Spirit is being poured out today, inspiring us all. I have told you what I dream, and I eagerly await an account of your visions predicting what tomorrow may bring.

As the World Council of Churches, we accompany the WSCF leadership and assembly in prayer as you deliberate the key directions for the federation in the next quadrennium. We look forward to the ecumenical cooperation we can continue to share together in the future.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit rest upon this assembly of the World Student Christian Federation, and remain with each one of you throughout your life and ministry. Amen.

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia

WCC general secretary