Canadians Forge International Links at Assembly

By De Santis, Solange | Anglican Journal, April 2006 | Go to article overview

Canadians Forge International Links at Assembly


De Santis, Solange, Anglican Journal


A significant Canadian Anglican contingent attended the general assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), held Feb. 14-23 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, continuing a tradition of deep Canadian involvement with the international church group.

"It was a tremendous opportunity to network with Christians from around the globe. I ran into people that I'd met from virtually all of my travels in the last year and a half--Armenia, China, Cuba," said Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the Canadian primate.

Archbishop Hutchison attended as one of three Canadian Anglican delegates, accompanying Canon John Steele, from Victoria, and Jillian Harris, an indigenous representative from Vancouver Island, both from the diocese of British Columbia.

Held every seven years, it was the ninth general assembly. About 700 delegates representing the 348 member churches of the WCC attended along with 3,200 other participants. They attended plenary sessions, workshops, ecumenical conversations, youth events and Bible study at the Pontifical University of Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre is the largest city in southern Brazil with a population of 1.5 million.

Rev. Maylanne Maybee, co-ordinator for mission and justice education for the Anglican national office in Toronto, also attended. On the first day, she wrote in a blog (Internet diary) that "coming to an event like this was like joining a mini society--a society not defined by nationality or denomination, but by a shared faith in Jesus Christ and in his message of love, hope, justice and possibility."

Ms. Maybee led a workshop on the Gospel in the context of social justice and connected with international members of the Urban Rural Mission (URM), a WCC social and economic justice program. Ms. Maybee is the incoming moderator of URM Canada.

After a hectic, but inspiring two weeks, she wrote, "At its best, the council is far more than an organization or a bureaucracy--it has offered sanctuary to the displaced, pioneered social movements, and participated in transformative moments in history. …

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