World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150, route de Ferney PO Box 2100 1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland E-mail: media

14 December 1998

WCC Eighth Assembly - Press Release No. 54

The World Council of Churches, meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe, issued a message of hope, 'Being Together under the Cross in Africa', on Monday (14 December), the closing day of its Eighth Assembly. It said: "The theme of this Assembly, "Turn to God - Rejoice in hope' is an invitation to look again to the very foundation of our faith and life as churches, finding there the hope that will draw us on. In this our Jubilee year we proclaim good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and the year of God's favour.

"As we have turned once again to God, we have been able to rejoice in hope. We invite you to share with us the vision which we have been able to express together and which, we pray, will become part of a common life and witness."

Here is the text of the message itself:

"We long for the visible oneness of the body of Christ,
affirming the gifts of all,
young and old, women and men, lay and ordained.

We expect the healing of human community,
the wholeness of God's entire creation.

We trust in the liberating power of forgiveness,
transforming enmity into friendship
and breaking the spiral of violence.

We are challenged by the vision of a church
that will reach out to everyone,
sharing, caring, proclaiming the good news of God's redemption,
a sign of the kingdom and a servant of the world.

We are challenged by the vision of a church,
the people of God on the way together,
confronting all divisions of race, gender, age or culture,
striving to realise justice and peace,
upholding the integrity of creation.

We journey together as a people with resurrection faith.
In the midst of exclusion and despair,
we embrace, in joy and hope, the promise of life in all its fullness.

We journey together as a people of prayer.
In the midst of confusion and loss of identity,
we discern signs of God's purpose being fulfilled
and expect the coming of God's reign."

Contact: John Newbury, WCC Press & Information Officer
Press and Information Office, Harare
Tel: +
E-Mail: WCC media

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 339, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the Assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.