by Maggie Breen
Early on Thursday, October 24, I will fly to the Republic of Korea to participate in the Global Ecumenical Theological
Institute (GETI). The institute takes place in Seoul and Busan from October 25 to November 9, 2013, alongside the World Council of Churches' 10th Assembly. It brings together 150 younger (under 45!) advanced theology students from all regions of the world and all Christian denominational traditions to be with dedicated faculty and leaders in the ecumenical movement. The group will study and help each other think more deeply about the theme "the future of ecumenism and the transformation of World Christianity in the 21st century.”
What a joy and gift it will be to be able to engage the ideas and understanding of colleagues from around the world. The small group to which I have been assigned has participants from Botswana, Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia, Finland, Romania, Grenada and the US. We will engage in bible study and prayer together, and we will hear lectures
from and be in conversation with professors who have dedicated their careers to the study of ecumenism, its call and implications.
As someone immersed in grassroots ecumenism, working with churches on a local level as we move towards deeper understanding and as we seek to be a community that loves and cares for the world in the name of this one who unites us, I will be listening carefully
and asking questions of the business of the assembly. I will be paying close attention to how the conversations at this macro level speak to and can be informed by the local experience. In this hinge period, with our culture shifting in significant ways, and with our communities hungering for places of belonging and peace, how can the ecumenical church point to God’s faithful action amongst us? And how can we lead in the ways of justice and peace?
I am so very thankful for this opportunity, for the support of my church, and of my school, Seattle University. I will be blogging here as I go – hopefully providing a glimpse of some of the things I am seeing and hearing, what we are uncovering together and what it looks like when God’s people come together on such a grand scale to dialogue and worship. I would ask your prayer for God’s leading and for a spirit of openness, vulnerability and
courage that I might bring my whole heart to this gathering.
Chuck Sigars is currently an elder at St. Andrew and a newspaper columnist and author.