A worship service on 30 August at the Pentecostal Cathedral of Curico, Chile, featured participation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and the WCC president for Latin America and the Caribbean Rev. Gloria Ulloa. Christian unity and ecumenical aspirations remained in focus at the service attended by more than 1,300 people.
Bishop Luis Ulises Muñoz Moraga, head of the Pentecostal Church of Chile, a member church of the WCC, said there is “no other way” for their church but the one that leads to Christian unity. “Despite occasional internal tensions around the question of churches’ engagement in ecumenical movement, the commitment to be part of the global fellowship as an expression of faith prevails,” he said.
The Pentecostal Church of Chile joined the WCC as a member in 1961.
The WCC general secretary delivered a sermon at the service, preaching from Romans 15:13. “We pray together so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
“Those who have hope have power to live and to participate in transformation of life, so that others can live with hope. Your church, Pentecostal Church of Chile, is a remarkable example of this truth, in the past decades under dictatorship as well as today,” said Tveit.
The WCC president Rev. Ulloa brought greetings on behalf of the global ecumenical fellowship represented by the WCC. She led the final prayer of the service, affirming that the Council is formed by the experiences and the witness of its member churches. “You are the World Council of Churches,” she said. “We are proud to have you as members of our fellowship.”
“The passion and communion that we have witnessed today is a great inspiration to our pilgrimage of justice and peace,” Ulloa added. “We encourage them, as WCC member churches, to continue to bear witness to Christian unity by connecting through the wisdom of God to other communities and movements that work together for life in Chile and worldwide”.
The service in Curico gathered members of 12 congregations of the Pentecostal Church of Chile, including musicians and singers. The service was broadcast live on the church’s website.
The WCC delegation also learned about the work of the Pentecostal Church of Chile, especially in the area of education for peace, care for creation, the work of the Shalom Center based in Alto Viches.
The meetings of the WCC delegation in Chile were part of the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace – a call from the 10th Assembly of the WCC at Busan in the Republic of Korea in 2013. The delegates will continue their journey through Brazil and Colombia until 7 September.