8th assembly/50th anniversary

Together on the Way
official report of the eighth assembly

"You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month -- on the day of atonement -- you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee year for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family" (Lev. 25:8-10)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1-2)

For fifty years we have gathered in the assemblies of the World Council of Churches, in response to the prayer of Jesus, that we may be one.

In Amsterdam we recognized the disorder of humankind in the face of your design for the world. Your design is the glory of a world reconciled to you and signed by the harmonies in all creation. We wait in hope for it still.

Evanston lifted up the one who is forever our living way: "Christ -- the hope of the world." We claim this hope again, a costly hope, crucified and risen in power before us. Hail to the Christ, the name beyond all names!

In New Delhi we celebrated the flame of your life among us: "Jesus Christ -- the light of the world." The light is now flickering, now flaming bright, challenging the shadows, forever warming the cold souls of our despair.

In Uppsala we lifted up our hearts and proclaimed your promise: "Behold, I make all things new." The vision of a new heaven and a new earth, arising in grace before us, called forth before the starkness of our life.

"Jesus Christ frees and unites" we sang in the midst of Nairobi's life: people from around the earth, standing before God in our captivities and disunities and naming a divine possibility.

In Vancouver we gathered in faith before you, "Jesus Christ -- the life of the world." We stood in wonder before the defeat of death, determined as now to reveal your victory, made real before the eyes of all people.

"Come, Holy Spirit -- renew the whole creation" was the longing prayer in Canberra. You, and you only, O God, are the source of our renewal. We bowed in humble faith before you, offering ourselves to work with you, in the power and truth of your Spirit.

We give thanks and praise to God for the journeying of our past. Great is your faithfulness, O God!

A celebration of gathering from the opening worship of the eighth assembly of the World Council of Churches, 3 December 1998.



Being Together under the Cross in Africa: The Assembly Message

1. Harare 1998: An Introduction and Personal Perspective, Diane Kessler

2. The Theme: "Turn to God -- Rejoice in Hope"
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Anamnesis, Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania
2.3. Metanoia, Wanda Deifelt
2.4. Rejoice in Hope, Kosuke Koyama

3. The Work of the WCC: Past, Present and Future
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Report of the Moderator, Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia
3.3. Report of the General Secretary, Konrad Raiser
3.4. Discussion of the Reports of the Moderator and General Secretary
3.5. A Common Understanding and Vision: Plenary Discussion
3.6. Our Ecumenical Vision
3.7. The Work of the Finance Committee
3.8. Programme Guidelines Committee

4. WCC Membership and Relationships
4.1. The Work of Policy Reference Committee I: Introduction
4.2. New Members
4.3. Relationships with Orthodox Churches
4.4. Other Relationships
4.5. Proposal for a Forum of Christian Churches and Ecumenical Organizations
4.6. Other Recommended Actions
4.7. Report of Policy Reference Committee I

5. Actions on Issues of Current Global Concern
5.1. The Work of Policy Reference Committee II
5.2. The Debt Issue (from Policy Reference Committee II Report)
5.3. Globalization (from Policy Reference Committee II Report)
5.4. The Work of the Public Issues Committee
5.5. Statement on Child Soldiers
5.6. Statement on the Status of Jerusalem
5.7. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights
5.8. A Statement on Human Rights

6. The African Context
6.1. Introduction
6.2. Africa: The Footprint of God by N. Barney Pityana
6.3. From Cover to Core: A Letter to My Ancestors by Mercy Amba Oduyoye
6.4. Response to the Africa Plenary
6.5. Address by President Nelson Mandela

7. Greetings from Religious and Political Leaders
7.1. Pope John Paul II
7.2. Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch
7.3. Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians
7.4. World Evangelical Fellowship
7.5. Kim Dae-jung, President of the Republic of Korea

8. Additional Documents
8.1. Letter from the Decade Festival -- Churches in Solidarity with Women
8.2. Response to the Plenary on the Ecumenical Decade -- Churches in Solidarity with Women
8.3. Policy Reference Committee II Report. Appendix I: Sudan
8.4. Policy Reference Committee II Report: Appendix II: Globalization
8.5. Youth Participation in the WCC
8.6. Indigenous Peoples
8.7. Responses from Evangelical Participants
8.8. A Letter from Children
8.9. Visions for the future Philip Potter


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