Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Global Baptist leader addresses World Council of Churches in unity plenary

Neville Callam (photo courtesy WCC)
Yesterday (November 5) the Tenth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea held a plenary session on unity at which Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Neville Callam was one of the featured speakers. A press release issued by the WCC reports that Callam and Metropolitan Nifan of Târgoviste, patriarchal exarch for external and ecumenical relationships of the Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church, offered reflections on the “Journey of Fellowship: Hopes and Challenges on the Way.”

The Rt. Rev. Alan Abernethy, Bishop of the Diocese of Connor in the Church of Ireland, summarized Callam's address in a post to the Diocese of Connor web site:

The Rev Dr Neville Callam, General Secretary of the Baptist Alliance, Jamaica, encouraged us to give thanks for what has happened already. He also suggested three challenges:
1. We need to find convergence on the sources we find authoritative.
2. We should foster theological thinking with our young people on unity.
3. Let us not limit our thinking and actions to being textual.
He also prayed God would keep us restless on our journey.

Callam's address generated an enthusiastic Twitter response, with several participants in the WCC assembly tweeting excerpts from Callam's remarks that were re-tweeted by many other Twitter users (dates of tweets below are EST and thus dated the day prior to the November 5 plenary in Busan at which Callam spoke):

 Susan Johnson ‏@NationalBishop 4 Nov
"We face the scandal of our disunity." - Neville Callam
FPF oecumenisme ‏@FPFoecumenisme 4 Nov
en train d'écouter Neville Callam à Busan, un belle et bonne contribution, et sa voix est magnifique
Nelus Niemandt ‏@Niemandt 4 Nov
Neville Callam: our focus on textuality alone and negligence of orality is a problem.
FPF oecumenisme ‏@FPFoecumenisme 4 Nov
Neville Callam 3 défis 1) les décisions des Eglises sur les questions morales endurcissent ces positions créent nouvelles divisions
Nelus Niemandt ‏@Niemandt 4 Nov
Neville Callam: nothong should restrain our passion for the unity of the church.
As a Baptist ecumenical theologian, I am proud that the global Baptist community was represented on the program of the WCC plenary session on unity by Callam and gratified that his address has been so well received by these representatives of the church catholic. Anyone who has heard Callam speak will concur that "sa voix est magnifique"!

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