Monday, 3 December 2007

From Windhoek, Baghdad, Tehran or Lahore

In my rather irreverent way I've been wondering whether there is a collective noun for a gathering of bishops? I suppose a gathering of cardinals could be called a conclave but I'm not sure with bishops - maybe a conference? And of course in the ecumenical context the collective noun would have to include bishops from a wide range of churches - even some Reformed churches have bishops.
This passing irreverent thought was triggered by a sense of privilege. Week after week we meet and pray with, listen to and talk with, an enormous variety of people passing through the ecumenical centre - from groups of young people to bishops, archbishops and cardinals, people bearing witness to God's word in so many diverse and challlenging situations. It's easy when working in an international organisation to get a bit blasé about these cross cultural encounters. Easy too not to make time for them and to always allow pressing current demands to take over.
This morning Bishop Zephaniah Kameeta from Namibia preached as we began advent and sang "O come, o come Emmanuel..." He has been a strong advocate for both justice and for reconciliation in his country. Next week we will listen to the Armenian Archbishbishop of Baghdad, who will be attending a WCC consultation on accompanying churches in situations of conflict. Archbishop Asadourian has spoken widely, as has Canon Andrew White, about how the churches cope living in the extreme violence of Iraq today.
When and how will this crazed warfaring madness end?
So as bishops and church leaders gather to reflect on how to accompany churches and religious communities in situations of conflict, there's a responsibility to not let their story go untold and to search for hope somehow.


Gustavo Bonato said...

I know a lot about "being blasé" about amazing experiences.

Every time I compare my previous experiences (like having lunch in Geneva at the same table with people from Pakistan, Mexico, North America, Samoa and Denmark) I have to admit: I am VERY lucky.

Jane said...

And sometimes we don't value our everyday encounters enough either. Maybe we are just too blasé about everything.
Loved your tv broadcast btw