22 February 2011. Geneva:
“God of life, lead us to justice
and peace” will provide the
theme for the 10th Assembly of
the World Council of Churches
(WCC). The Assembly is to be
convened in October 2013 at
Busan, South Korea.
The theme was determined by the WCC Central
Committee on Tuesday 22 February following periods of discussion spread
over several days. A “theme” is not merely a slogan or motto for a WCC
assembly but provides a focus for theological reflection, worship and
meditation surrounding the assembly, as well as for planning of
programmatic activities before, during and after the event.
The theme of the 9th Assembly, held in Porto Alegre,
Brazil in February 2006, was “God, in your grace, transform the world.”
The theme for the 10th Assembly is also phrased in the form of a prayer.
The proposal of the 2013 theme was accompanied by
the citation of a biblical text: Isaiah 42:1-4, depicting the servant of
the Lord who neither breaks a bruised reed nor quenches a dimly burning
wick (verse 3) and who will not be crushed “until he has established
justice in the earth” (verse 4).
The 10th Assembly theme as adopted was one of two
suggestions from the Assembly Planning Committee. The other possibility
presented early in the meeting was: “In God’s world, called to be one”.
During the course of deliberations, several attempts
were made by Central Committee members to combine the emphases of
justice, peace and life, on the one hand, and of unity on the other
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the
WCC, in the final moments before the decision, asserted that “seeking
justice and peace is a call to unity – and may be clearly interpreted as
Carmencita Karagdag from the Philippine Independent
Church reminded the Central Committee that neither the word “justice”
nor “peace” has appeared in any “theme” of the previous nine WCC
assemblies since the council was founded in 1948.
the end, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace” was adopted by
consensus. The wording was adopted in its English-language formulation.
Official translations of the theme into many languages, including
Korean, will be coordinated by the WCC and announced in the coming days
“We are addressing the whole world,” said
Metropolitan Mor Eustathius Matta Roham in regard to the theme. A member
of both the Central Committee and the Assembly Planning Committee, he
represents the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East,
located near the other end of the Asian landmass from South Korea. “This
will be read in many different places, by Christians and non-Christians.
We must be sure that the theme will be clearly stated in all languages.”