Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has sent a greeting to the 9th World Council of Churches Assembly, which formally began on February 14 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The message was read by Bishop Tom Butler of Southwark, England. Williams will travel to Brazil in time for February 17's group of sessions.
In his message, Williams urges the churches gathered to learn from their dependence on Christ:
"We must ... draw strength and clarity of purpose from our utter dependence on the One whom we know to be 'full of grace and truth,'" he said. "In Christ too, we can find renewed impetus in our painstaking quest for theological convergence, in the knowledge that this also will be used by God, in his grace, to transform the world, opening up, as it does, new possibilities for common mission as divisions are healed and we deepen our fellowship together."
Williams will deliver a keynote address to the Assembly on Friday, February 17, on Christian Identity and Religious Plurality.
While at the WCC Assembly, Williams will attend a lecture given by the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, lead a service of Evening Prayer organized by the Anglican Delegation to the WCC, and attend a plenary session on ecumenical conversations.
Williams will also meet senior church leaders and representatives from the WCC.
The official Episcopal Church delegation to the WCC includes: The Very Rev. Cynthia Black, advisor; Carmen Brooks; Bishop Christopher Epting; Sarah Harte; and the Rev. Kwasi Thornell.
News and updates about the WCC Assembly can be found online at: http://www.wcc-assembly.info.