number 6, december 10, 1998

Select other issues: 

God of many names

At the Africa plenary, Mercy Amba Oduyoye addressed the "God of Many Names." Throughout the assembly, in both worship and plenaries, we are calling some of those names – Barefoot God; Centre God who Runs Out to the Periphery; God Our Refuge (Saranam), Hope and Light; Father;  Saviour; Gentle Christ; Brave Jesus.

What names for God are on the lips and in the hearts of assembly participants? Jubilee asked them, and here are some of the replies:

Abigail Damasane
, Family of God Church, Zimbabwe: "We don’t just say, ‘Hello, Mr. Smith.’ If you are master of ceremonies and you present a person held in high esteem, you don’t just make them stand up, you have to hail them. Then they stand up mightier. We hail God the King, the Messiah, the Saviour, the Redeemer, the Provider."

The Rt. Rev. Everson T. Sieunarine
, Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago: "In the Caribbean we speak of a Liberating God who always frees, whether it’s women from psychological or physical bondage, people from abuse, youth to think and imagine their future, people not to be enslaved by politicians. He’s always God beyond my ways, my color, my creed."

The Rt. Rev. Zebedee Masereka
, Church of the Province of Uganda: "Sustainer. He makes sure that what He has created, He will hold onto. He makes sure He sticks on you."

The Rev. Mihail-Daniel Lungu
, Romanian Orthodox Church: "God’s being and essence aren’t known to us. On the other hand, we may know God from His Creation, the aspirations He puts in our minds, and the effect of His actions on us. God is the Good One – Good Without Comparison. The Right One – Above Any Idea of Rightness. Loving – Above Any Idea of Love. God of Spiritual Beautifulness."

The Rev. Philip L. Freier
, Anglican Church of Australia: "God Who is Accepting, Healing, Forgiving. God Who is Judge of All History."

H.G. Mar Cyril Aphram Karim
, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East: "The personal names – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the attributes – Mighty, Comforter, Saviour."

Mabel Abeka Mills
, Organization of African Instituted Churches: "Where I come from in Ghana, the names come in the context of prayer – God the Creator, Forgiver of Sins, Our Supplier; God Who Gives Us Grace and Understanding; Our All-Sufficient God; God the Father of the Needy, Husband of the Widow, and Redeemer of the Oppressed."

Aruna Gojer
, Church of South India: "Loving God, because I am experiencing Him in every moment of my life. If I go astray, He’s always with me."

Hee Sook Lee
, Presbyterian Church of Korea: "Merciful God, Loving God, God of Justice, God with Minjung Grassroots People, Mother God, Redemption and Salvation God, Womb God."

Rose Hudson-Wilkin
, Church of England: "Vulnerable God, which for me connects to being barefoot. Growing up in Jamaica, we only wore shoes to church and school, and the school ones were dilapidated. We were prone to be injured. There’s a certain nakedness that’s not pretentious. Weeping God, connecting with our tears."

Back to top

Read other articles in this issue:

Capoeira, their way to move around campus
Children say it's time for action &
World's most dynamic schoolboy?
Children issue some challenges
CNN world news coverage ‘mile wide, half-inch thick’
Young speak of dignity
God of many names
Street kids have their own plot
An advent night in Africa

8th Assembly and 50th Anniversary

copyright 1998 World Council of Churches. Remarks to webeditor