number 8, december 12, 1998

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Some quiet nourishment

People stopping in at the University Chapel at 12.30pm have been finding preachers expounding in a diversity of styles on a range of Bible texts — and each with a word for the WCC’s 8th assembly.

"In a quiet corner of the campus, something rich and nourishing is going on and people who have come have very much appreciated it," said Gwen Cashmore of the Church of England, Assembly Worship Committee member responsible for the logistics of the four-part "Preaching Service" series.

This ministry of the Word on Thursday, for instance, featured the Rev. Dr Elisabeth Tapia (United Methodist Church, Philippines). In "Spirituality of a Pondering Heart," she explored Luke 2:19: "Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart."

"After a long day of plenaries and padares, come here or to the worship tent and ponder in your heart what’s going on," she urged. "What pain do I hear? What is God revealing to us in different forms and voices? Listen to the still, small voice, the rhythm of God’s grace daily. For a pondering heart enables one to do courageous acts."

Dr. Tapia encouraged her listeners to emulate Mary’s vulnerability, availability, solidarity and "doxological" life. "She had a joyful spirit! We need not only prophetic voices but hopeful and joyful spirits," she said.

To those frustrated that "the wheels of ecumenical unity turn so slowly," she said, "Don't lose hope. Ecumenical understanding and common vision take time and energy. Let’s not give up on praying and working for Christian unity, justice and peace, and the healing of nations, relationships and the earth.

Ofelia Ortega, theology professor from Cuba, preached on "Our Heritage" at the first preaching service, followed by Bishop Thomas Hoyt of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (USA) on "Rightside Up Values in an Upside Down World."

Concluding the series on yesterday was Dr Bradley Nassif, a theologian of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East and academic director for Fuller Theological Seminary in southern California, USA. Dr. Nassif, who promotes Orthodox-Evangelical dialogue around the world, preached on "Salvation in the Trinitarian God."

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Read other articles in this issue:

Polygamy no problem for African churches
Mandela to attend assembly tomorrow
Catholic Church doesn't want to 'dwarf' WCC
Evangelicals work the stream at WCC
Orthodox find the space for dialogue
Padare, the assembly energizer
Unmasking Orthodox claims
Amsterdam had a Message
50 million members, and growing fast
Some quiet nourishment

8th Assembly and 50th Anniversary

copyright 1998 World Council of Churches. Remarks to webeditor