The “COVID & Beyond” discernment process continues on Wednesday, 9 June, with a theme plenary, beginning at 15:00 (CEST). Linked to the church calendar, this Pentecost section of the process will focus on witnessing.
The session will be streamed live in these languages via Facebook:
All are invited to watch and participate either through the comments functions or by sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
What Does God Require of Us?
We live in apocalyptic times. The triad of the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and authoritarianism, and the climate crisis has not only placed our planet in a perilous predicament, but it also presents itself as kairotic moment for the Church. This is both in terms of the Church’s own self-understanding but also its mission.
In times of crises the Church is called to find orientation and hope in the Word of God. The prophet Micah emphasizes that in times that might appear to us as turbulent, desperate, and confusing the direction of Scripture is clear and straightforward. We know very well what is required of us: “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Discerning, Confessing, Witnessing, and Being Reformed Together
The 2017 General Council marked a Communion-wide journey together to discern, confess, and witness to a God of Life in a world fallen among thieves so that we can continually be reformed. Over the last three years, we have carefully sought to bring these four verbs into the WCRC’s programmatic work. Through our RAN (Resisting Cultures of Discrimination, Authoritarianism, and Nationalism), Mission in the Context of Crisis and Marginalization, and Global Apartheid processes we have been able to collectively discern that we are at the brink of a significant moment that necessitated deep theological thinking and reflection. A moment that has become even more apparent as the apocalypse of the pandemic unveils for us the deep inequalities that we are living in.
Living Faithfully in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond
The WCRC in its call to communion and commitment to justice seeks to live faithfully to this calling in the time of COVID-19 and beyond and seeks to engage in a process of theological thinking and reflection. The process will involve and engage the whole Communion through creative online processes and discernment circles that will ensure the full and just participation of the Communion. These will focus primarily on the regions, focus groups, as well as the programmatic foci of the WCRC.
Walking Together through the Liturgical Calendar
It is envisaged that this year-long, Communion-wide process will build up to a face-to-face meeting in the second half of 2021 and culminate in the Communion collectively confessing a God of Life at the 2024 General Council.
Over the next year as we consider what God requires of us, we will walk through the liturgical calendar discerning in Advent, confessing in Lent, witnessing in Pentecost, and opening up to being reformed in ordinary time. The programme will consist of 17 digital events in 2020 and 2021, though it is not expected that everyone will attend all events, and will lead to a conference in September 2021.
A Communion-Wide Process
The programme will give space to WCRC regions, focus groups, and programme networks to engage with the crisis. Throughout all events, a discernment process will be applied that shall address the urgency, gather the learnings, and sharpen the message. The planned conference in September shall not be a moment of closure, but an event to channel the energy—that we hope the process will create—for the life of the Communion. At the conference the Communion will account for itself and will prepare an agenda leading to the 2024 General Council.
The idea of a sharing session is to express areas of particular urgency in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the injustices it exposes and to generate ideas how we as a Communion on all levels should respond to the crisis. They are held via Zoom and streamed live to Facebook and YouTube.