World Council of Churches -
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For immediate release:
20 April 2004
Message of the presidents of the WCC at Pentecost 2004
Greetings on this Feast of Pentecost 2004!
We call on all member churches of the World Council of Churches to join together this Pentecost to pray that the Holy Spirit may weave us together in love and peace.
Weaving in many less developed countries is part of daily life because of limited resources. Wax, leaves, fibre and hair are used to make mats, ropes, clothes and to fasten the posts for houses and canoes. They have power and strength once they are woven. The most common weaving is for mats.
Weaving in most under developed countries can be likened to the work of the Holy Spirit. A Pacific church leader, the Reverend Lopeti Taufa, likened the Holy Spirit to a weaver who weaves people together for peace, for identity and submission, as follows:
One concept that emerged is the concept of submission. In the work of weaving one thread will be pushed up while another will be pressed down. If it is your turn to go down, submit yourself so that with the one being pushed up, you will form a firm link in the final product. There is a place for submission, a fruit of the spirit, in the life of the family, the church.
Another concept is that of identity. Our individual identity is recognized in our oneness, togetherness. When we allow ourselves to be woven into the warp and woof of the mat, we become a firm strong unit. Some of ushave the experience of existing in an isolated situation. Isolation is a painful and not always enriching experience that tends to cut us loose from the rest of the environment. When we get together and share ourselves and our identity we enrich the whole togetherness that we have.
Thus weaving is the work of the Holy Spirit in our connectedness as a people of God, and our need of his empowerment and presence.
The World Council of Churches calls on all member churches to be woven together through prayer and reaching out to each other. The reality we face in our world at this present time is threatened with poverty, injustice, wars, HIV/AIDS, pollution, terrorism, and ethnic tensions which have caused despair in many quarters. We need once again to pray the theme of the Canberra Assembly - Come, Holy Spirit - Renew the Whole Creation - and work for peace, reconciliation and harmony in our world.
It seems that weaving is really meaningful this Pentecost. We need to pray for the Holy Spirit to weave the whole of creation in love and peace and make us instruments of peace:
where there is hatred let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
(Prayer of St Francis of Assisi)
We all need to submit
to the mercy and grace of God. Human nature is threatened by greed, selfishness, and hopelessness. Jesus promised that the coming of the Holy Spirit will weave us all in convincing, teaching and witnessing to his love and peace.
The famous missionary Roland Allen believed that the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a missionary event. It was the fulfilment of God's promise through the prophet Joel 2:28;
Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
This means that irrespective of sex, race, age and social standing, we are to reach out to demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit to weave God's grace and love to all of humanity. The different tongues that the disciples spoke was a sign of the whole of humanity being woven together by the Holy Spirit for the missionary task to all people.
May the Holy Spirit this Pentecost reveal to the whole church the new spirit of inclusiveness that may weave those outside the World Council of Churches family into a reality of the "whole inhabited world" (oikoumene).
Holy Spirit come
Make our ears to hear
Make our eyes to see
Make our mouths to speak
Make our hearts to seek
And our hands to reach out
And touch the world with your love. AMEN.
Dr Agnes Abuom, Nairobi, Kenya
Rt Rev. Jabez L. Bryce, Suva, Fiji
H.E. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of the Senior
See of Ephesus, Istanbul, Turkey
H.H. Ignatius I Iwas, Damascus, Syria
Dr Kang Moon Kyu, Seoul, Korea
Bishop Federico J. Pagura, Rosario, Argentina
Bishop Eberhardt Renz, Tübingen, Germany
The tradition of the Pentecost message from the presidents of the World Council of Churches dates back to 1950. The message is a joint effort of the eight WCC presidents who represent the different regions within the WCC constituency.
Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.