Thursday, 14 February 2008

Hopes and fears for our churches

The WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia today gave a wide ranging report to the WCC central committee currently meeting in Geneva. He began with questions about what our hopes, fears and anxieties for our churches were. You can read the full text of the report here and a report about it here.
It particularly interested me to think about how a global organisation can position itself to be responsive at a time of such rapid change in the world. It fitted in with some of what I had been discussing and learning about during my course in Rome over the weekend.
World-wide bodies need more than ever to engage with the local, with national and regional concerns. But what is the best way to do that? Perhaps naming hopes, fears and anxieties for our churches is one way to start to find a way forwards.
I've been interested at this meeting and at other international church gatherings to notice how much people want to tell their own stories. All of us somehow want to make our own contribution, to say what we think, to get our country or point on the agenda. But how much time to we really make for listening? How much space do we actually make for the "other" in our need to tell our own story? Somehow I think the space we leave for the other in the way we tell our own story is where dialogue, ecumenism and unity might begin. And of course every generation needs to learn anew both to tell its own story with integrity and to truly listen to otherness.