We are starting to get into the service and mission work of the World Council of Churches (WCC) here at its 9th Assembly in Brazil. Christian identity and religious pluralism was the theme yesterday, a topic that necessarily has to do with peace-making in our world today. Economic justice was the theme on Thursday. One of the Disciples here is writing a story about globalization and poverty, and the WCC initiative known as the the AGAPE Call. That will be posted soon.

Today we review the work of the program initiative known as the Decade to Overcome Violence. In that plenary session, the US Conference for the WCC will issue a statement about the war in Iraq among other things. The Public Issues Committee is preparing reports and the Program Guidelines Committee is preparing the agenda for the Council’s work in the next decade.

The culmulation of workshops and plenaries on issues of justice and peace is overwhelming, and exciting. Here on this world stage, Christian churches are coming together to find ways to alleviate suffering, improve human rights, influence global trends and world leaders.

It’s not all talk about institutional ecumenism and whether the Council itself is expanding its ecumencial table broadly enough. It’s not all talk about consensus models and elections to the Council’s highest positions, and whether we call our evening gathering worship or prayer.

It’s mostly about what I believe Christianity is all about: the church of Jesus Christ at work in the world on behalf of the world, making the world a better place, a place of peace and human flourishing.

Watch the DisciplesWorld website, www.disciplesworld.com, for stories on the decisions made here about how to address issues like global poverty and war in the Middle East. Also watch for the stories of real people coming together from very different backgrounds to share in mission and love.

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