World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Brazilian Inter-religious Group

14 February 2006

Read by Prof. Jorge Mello from the Associação Zen Budista de Porto Alegre

Dear brothers and sisters
Members from different Christian confessions gathered together at the IX WCC Assembly

Belonging to different Religions, Faith Traditions and Inter-Religious Initiatives, we express our joy in congregating with brothers and sisters from the WCC and its Christian denominations, in a spirit of faith, love and hope, as experienced in the multiple forms it has taken throughout the history of humanity. Our voices will join together in a plural and united hymn of thanksgiving to the God of all names, times and places, for this great moment of meeting and fraternity.

We rejoice with all our hearts at the openness revealed by the WCC regarding the importance of Inter-religious dialogue, in particular at this time in human history full of conflicts and challenges. We respond to this reality with all our faith and hope. Fully aware of our limits, we are comforted by the certainty that history is the only thing preventing true dialogue from overcoming the distances that have grown between us. We wish to be part of the spirit and fraternity which is so vigorously manifested by the participants to this Assembly.

We live in a part of the world which has a history of suffering and intolerance against non-Christian religious expressions. The colonization of our continent was disrespectful of other traditions, in particular those of Africans and indigenous peoples. Today, the context is changing through the search for dialogue, reciprocal forgiveness and the hope that all forms of intolerance will be overcome. There are signs encouraging us to strive for a culture of peace, in obedience to the God in all His forms, who desires dignity for all, especially in this continent with such a diversity of beautiful faces! 

We must jointly ask for forgiveness for the harm caused to so many people throughout the world, victims of the religious intolerance and the quest for power for pseudo-religious reasons. With humble hearts we need to build genuine reconciliation, taking as a reference our multiform God, whom we must serve with all our hearts. On behalf of our creeds we are ready to dialogue and to build the bridges that are necessary to confront the great problems that afflict humankind. Peace and justice need to leave the world of ideas and become reality in our lives!

We hope that the WCC Assembly WCC will become a moment of inspiration and renewal of the commitment to a humanity which is closer to the Creator of all beings.