An ecumenical consultation shared a message responding to the divisions that pose high existential threats to the world’s survival, relaying how Christian witness can lead to transformative mission.
Organized by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and hosted by the Church of Christ in Thailand, the ecumenical gathering from 1-5 November, entitled “Standing Together in a World Divided,” addressed the ecological, social, political, economic and theological challenges of our times.
“We came from multiple countries and church organizations acutely aware that the community of nations has rarely been so divided and so poorly led,” reads the message. “The would-be emperors of today’s empires fan the flames of racial and ethnic division and compete for economic domination while ignoring rising protests demanding democracy, free expression, and human rights, and downplaying the accelerating effects of climate change.”
The group shared experiences of pains and joys, resilience and transformation. “Grave suffering and brave protest for freedom and social justice around the globe compel us to radical engagement at various levels,” reads the message. “We hear the groaning of creation and the blood of sisters and brothers crying out from the earth.”It is not a common crisis but an extraordinary one, reads the message. “Justice must be central to our understanding of justification; a Christian politics or a Christian economics may not be fully possible – but a clear Christian witness is always possible,” reads the message.
“Every church community is called to transformative mission guided by love of both neighbor and enemy, in responsible service and meaningful repentance and forgiveness, recognizing that real reconciliation and collective security require costly grace, historical memory, and concrete and sustained practices of restorative and reparative justice.”