[World Council of Churches press release] “Join the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace” is the title of the Message of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea, was convened on 30 October and drew to a close on 8 November 2013. An assembly, the highest governing body of the WCC, is held once every seven to eight years to endorse policies, review projects and point the future direction of the organization.
The “Message” of a WCC assembly is meant to report the spirit of the event as well as common commitments of representatives from 345 member churches, related religious bodies and partner organizations. It reflects the theme of an assembly, adopted beforehand by the WCC central committee. The theme of the Busan assembly was this brief prayer: “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.”
The original WCC assembly at Amsterdam in 1948 sent a message to the churches and the world that included the phrase “We intend to stay together.” The Message of 2013 affirms, in the context of the churches’ invitation to the pilgrimage of justice and peace, “We intend to move together.”
Describing their time in Busan and other parts of the country, participants in the 10th Assembly offered this affirmation:
“We share our experience of the search for unity in Korea as a sign of hope in the world. This is not the only land where people live divided, in poverty and richness, happiness and violence, welfare and war. We are not allowed to close our eyes to harsh realities or to rest our hands from God’s transforming work. As a fellowship, the World Council of Churches stands in solidarity with the people and the churches in the Korean peninsula, and with all who strive for justice and peace.”