Global church body to partner with Buddhists at Bangkok meeting

(Photo: Ecumenical News / Peter Kenny)Ecumenical Center, Geneva where the World Council of Churches is headquartered. Picture taken on May 10, 2013.

The World Council of Churches is to hold a meeting with its partners and 25 Buddhists in Bangkok in focussing of life, justice and peace in an attempt at a different type of interreligious dialogue.

In collaboration with the Christian Conference of Asia and organized by the WCC unit on Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation meeting will take place May 27 to 31 in Bangkok, Thailand.

"Today's multi-religious environment does not just provide Christians with the 'context for' engaging in the pursuit of life, justice and peace; rather it opens the possibility of 'collaboration with' people from other faiths who are already engaged in such pursuits," said Peniel Rajkumar, programme executive in the WCC's interreligious dialogue unit.

The Asian locale, like the meeting of the WCC's highest governing body in South Korea toward the end of the year, is also important, Rajkumar says, since it embodies religious plurality in a scene that also involves religious conflict, environmental destruction, gender discrimination, and economic exploitation.

The meeting is aimed at "joint discernment" of constructive approaches to life, justice and peace and is premised on the idea that "being distinctively rooted in our respective religious traditions need not necessarily deter joint discernment but can rather deepen our thinking on and engagement with life, justice and peace in creative and concrete ways," he said.

Built on practices of hospitality by all participants, many of whom will be staying during the consultation at the Bangkok Christian Guest House and visiting a Buddhist monastery, the manner of the meeting builds on theoretical knowledge with case studies and mutual spiritual enrichment.

The WCC's 10th Assembly, to be held from October 30 to November 8 in Busan, South Korea, will feature an ecumenical meeting on "Religions working together for peace and freedom."

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News