Vatican Promotes Unity at World Mission Conference

Holy Spirit Invoked as Healer and Reconciler

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2005 ( The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will lead a delegation of 26 Vatican representatives to the Conference on World Mission and Evangelization.

The 8-day conference, held in Athens, Greece, May 9-16, was convoked by the Department for Mission and Evangelization of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC).

It will be the first time the conference will be held in a majority Orthodox country, reported a statement of the Vatican dicastery.<br>
The Catholic delegation, headed by Legionary of Christ Bishop Brian Farrell, include representatives of the mixed working group between the Catholic Church and the WCC, the Roman Curia, the Federation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, missionary orders, lay movements within missionary orders and movements committed to Christian unity.

“The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in the course of its collaboration with the WCC, and through its consultors set up within the Department of Mission and Evangelization, has contributed to the process of reflection for the convocation and preparation of this meeting,” said the statement.

“The Catholic Church in Greece also gave a contribution and is present at the conference with a delegate,” it added.

At the invitation of the Church of Greece, an estimated 600 delegates, representing Churches and ecclesial communities affiliated with the WCC, are attending this major international meeting.

“The main aim of the conference is to provide space for Christians and churches to exchange their experience and think together about priorities in mission and the future of Christian witness. The conference seeks to empower participants to continue to form healing communities in celebration and witness, reconciliation and forgiveness,” affirmed the WCC in a statement.

“The theme of the conference — ‘Come Holy Spirit, Heal and Reconcile! — is a reminder that this mission does not belong to us, but is the mission of God, who is present and active as Holy Spirit in the Church and the world,” added the ecumenical council.

Coming from WCC member churches and the Roman Catholic Church, as well as Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches and bodies, the participants include young people, women and men working in the frontiers of Christian witness, Church and mission leaders, theologians and missiologists.

There have been 12 such ecumenical mission conferences since 1910.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of 347 churches in more than 120 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church, but works cooperatively with the WCC. Its delegation is participating in the current conference as an observer.

The highest governing body of the WCC is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Samuel Kobia from the Methodist Church in Kenya is the organization’s secretary-general.

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