Thursday, October 24, 2013

Journey to Busan

I leave tonight for the 10th World Council of Churches General Assembly, in Busan, South Korea.

I’m consumed with details. I’m leaving the country for over two weeks, and I still haven’t called the bank or checked rates with my cell phone carrier. Thirteen-hour plane rides tend to feel just about five hours too long, so I need a few books. I will have no problem eating or getting what I need in South Korea, but I never did get around to learning hangul. I’m expecting to make lots of mistakes in interpersonal interactions with Christians from other parts of the world. I’ll miss my dogs, my friends, and a bunch of important work meetings.

In the midst of just getting stuff done, I’m nervous-excited! I’m nervous because I’m one of the four PC(USA) delegates* to the GA, and I have actual responsibilities. Along with participating in the women’s and men’s pre-assembly event (two days on gender), and Ecumenical Conversation 6 (“Developing effective leadership: contextual ecumenical formation and theological education”), I'm going to serve on the Programme Guidelines Committee. The mandate for the committee is to “propose policies for all further programmatic work of the World Council of Churches.” This committee will be "making recommendations for future work in the areas of churches and ecumenical developments, unity and mission, public witness and diakonia." Exciting. But that’s a big responsibility, considering the constraints the WCC continues to face, and the very big issues communions handle in their own contexts.

I hope to blog a bit here during the GA.

I ask you for prayers for the event: for a spirit of openness and delight in the diversity of Christian expressions, for the cause of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, for the conversation and worship that will take place among Christians from many traditions and countries. 

* I was elected to this position at the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) before I came on staff of one of the PC(USA) agencies. I thought I wouldn’t be able to go, but our polity and my job allow me to do so.

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