world council of churches

Issue 38, December 2001


Dear Reader,

This issue of Current Dialogue pays homage to a great man in the history of the ecumenical movement, in the life of the WCC and in the world of interfaith dialogue and relations. Stanley Samartha died in July this year after a long battle against cancer. We want to remember him as a scholar and a friend; a person deeply committed to interfaith dialogue. Friends and people engaged in interfaith dialogue responded to our call for contributions and bring thus into being this issue of Current Dialogue. It is important in these days that we give even more space to interfaith dialogue. You will from the following pages learn how present the issue of dialogue was in the mind of Stanley Samartha. It was not an interest that one can have or not have. It was an attitude of life. Living in the midst of plurality must be part of our confession and world-view.

Inside this issue of Current Dialogue ...

  • Excerpt from "Between Two Cities - Part I" by Stanley Samartha
  • Tributes and messages from:
    Konrad Raiser
    Wesley Ariarajah
    Lukas Vischer
    Dick Mulder
    Franz von Hammerstein
    Alan Brockway
    Fr. John Bosco Masayuki Shirieda, S.D.B.
    Fr. Albert Nambiaparambil cmi
    Kenneth Cracknell
    K.C. Abraham
    O.V. Jathananna
  • Bibliography of Stanley S. Samartha
  • The events these last months prove that we with emphasis must make dialogue an intrinsic part of our beings, whether we are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or people of other faiths. We must learn from dialogue with people of other faiths to make it impossible to use religion against the other or to allow our religious traditions to spawn violence.

    Stanley Samartha was given the task to lead the WCC work in relations with people of other faiths and to inspire and encourage Christians to embrace an attitude of dialogue to their friends and neighbours. It was and remains sometimes still an uphill battle. In remembering the work of Stanley Samartha, we are strengthened in our commitment to pursue this way. This is the only way.

    Hans Ucko, editor

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