World Council of Churches

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

INF 4 Hearings

22 February 2005

Six hearings will be offered to the Central Committee members

on Wednesday, 16 February, between 17.45 and 18.45

1.      Spirituality - Moved by God's Spirit

Over the past years, we have witnessed an explosion of concerns about spirituality.  The hearing will start by exposing (through a Power Point presentation) the many forms of spirituality advertised today and by recalling the major previous ecumenical reflections on spirituality.  The issues will be introduced by a panel representing the three main thrusts of spirituality in the ecumenical movement:  the nurturing stream of orthodox spirituality, the celebrative and engaged spirituality of ecumenical communities, the spirituality of resistance and active involvement in people's struggles.

The hearing will be moderated by Dr Bernice Powell-Jackson.

2.      Focus on Africa  (with interpretation)

Ecumenical Focus on Africa as a house wide programme is finalizing its activities.  The hearing will be an opportunity to review the progress so far and its impact in the region including the preparation for the Assembly.

Dr Agnes Abuom will moderate the hearing and the panel will include Ms Idah Njobvu and the Rt Rev. Michael K. Stephen.

3.      Burning issues in humanitarian assistance - Focus on ACT and Iraq

At a time when the humanitarian response to emergency needs is at the fore front of the world's news, the hearing will offer an opportunity to:

a)      Deepen the knowledge about the work and the role of ACT (Action of Churches Together: the WCC's emergency response arm);

b)       Reflect on the challenges of humanitarian assistance today;

c)        Focus attention on humanitarian work in Iraq.

The hearing will be moderated by the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky.

4.     Faith and order - Learning from Kuala Lumpur, Looking to the Future

The Faith and Order Plenary Commission met recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - the first time in a predominantly Muslim country - for a review of Faith and Order work since the Harare Assembly. This hearing will:

a)      Share the experience of the meeting, through personal accounts and a media presentation;

b)      Explore its impact, both on Faith and Order and on the Malaysian churches and culture; 

c)      Explore possibilities and projections for future Faith and Order work, including the dimension of younger theologians.

Moderated by the Faith and Order Moderator, Rev. Dr David Yemba (DRC), the panel will include Faith and Order Officers, Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri, Central Committee member and local host for the event, and Faith and Order and WCC media staff.

5.      Religious Plurality and Christian Self-understanding  (with interpretation)

Considering the need for the WCC to again participate in a theological discussion on religious plurality and Christian self-understanding, the Programme Committee in 2003 encouraged Faith and Order, the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) and Inter-religious Relations and Dialogue (IRRD) to reflect together on an appropriate theological approach on how Christians could interpret the reality of religious plurality.  Representatives of three networks, Faith and Order, CWME and the IRRD have the last two years been involved in a series of discussions trying to articulate how Christians are to understand God's presence in the world of religious plurality.

The theme of "hospitality" was chosen to be the leitmotif of the document indicating a welcoming attitude to the other and echoing the biblical experience of Hebrews 13, 2: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

The hearing will invite a discussion on the subject of Christian self-understanding in a world of religious plurality, highlighting some of the essentials in the document.


6.      Promoting the Greater Participation of People Living with HIV and AIDS in the Life of Churches


Churches provide a significant proportion of care and support for people living with HIV or AIDS. However, the involvement of People Living with HIV and AIDS in the life of churches is negligible and, when present, mostly token in nature.  This situation does not help the churches either towards transforming themselves into HIV/AIDS competent ones, nor to become welcoming and inclusive communities.

In the process of correcting this anomaly the hearing will assist Central Committee members to experientially understand:

a)   The difference people living with AIDS make in the ecumenical formation of the churches;

b)  Challenges in establishing and sustain partnerships with people living with HIV or AIDS networks and engage people living with HIV and AIDS;

c)     Implementing workplace policies as per ILO guidelines in the ecumenical framework.

The discussion will be moderated by Rev. Jeffrey A. McKenzie, Central Committee member from Jamaica.  The members of the panel will include Rev. Japé Heath, Anglican Minister from South Africa and Coordinator of ANERELA+ (African Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS), Ms Losevati Nacolatabua, WCC Pacific Office, and Mr Emosi Ratini of the Fiji Network for People living with HIV/AIDS.

Please fill out and return this form to the Information Desk.

My choice for the hearings is: __________________________________________

Name:   ____________________________________________________________