General Assembly Theme and Programme
The 34th WSCF General Assembly theme is “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy” (Joel 2:28). The theme from the prophet Joel is quoted in the story of Pentecost found in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2. The text emphasises the role of youth in the dreams of the early church and the sense of optimism experienced at Pentecost. This theme connects WSCF with the prophetic tradition and expresses a sense of optimism, vision, strength and purpose for this General Assembly and the coming quadrennium. The theme coincides with the WSCF global theme of study and action for 2008, which is “Students in the 21st Century”. WSCF annual themes for this quadrennium have included Women (2005), Empire (2006) and Migration (2007).
The purpose of the General Assembly is to review the last four years, plan the next quadrennium of WSCF’s life and renew the Federation’s leadership. As well as these core tasks, the 34th General Assembly aims to raise up leaders for the ecumenical movement, church and society for the coming decades. For more information on the purpose, structure and history of WSCF General Assemblies, please go to What is the GA?
GA Programme Overview
The WSCF 34th General Assembly begins on August 1, 2008 and runs till August 9, 2008. Immediately prior to the General Assembly are the Men’s and Women’s Pre-Assemblies from July 31 - August 1. The WSCF global Executive Committee will meet before and after the Assembly from July 29-30 and on August 10.
The General Assembly programme is made up of keynote speeches, Bible studies, vision sessions, commissions for capacity training & strategic planning, worship and business sessions.
“Your young women shall see visions"
Dates: July 30 - August 1
“Your young men shall dream dreams"
Dates: July 30- August 1
Keynote Sermon - Revd Dr James A. Forbes Jr.
Time:Friday 1 August,during Assembly Opening Worship 4.30-6pm.
Keynote Address I- Dr Rubem Alves
Time: Saturday 2 August, 9.30-10.30 am.
Keynote Biblical address - Rev’d. Dr. Patricia Kirkpatrick
Time: Saturday 2 August, 11.30 am - 12.30pm
A keynote Biblical address entitled "Prophecy Past and Present" will be offered by the Rev’d. Dr. Patricia Kirkpatrick, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Hebrew Bible scholar from McGill University, Montreal. Dr Kirkpatrick’s fields of interest are the Hebrew Bible, Old Testament Studies, Oral Narrative Composition and Transmission, Folklore and Ancient Historiography. She currently teaches Biblical studies papers on the literature of ancient Israel, ancient historiography, the archaeology of ancient Israel and women and the Christian Tradition.
Keynote Address II- Senator Nancy Ruth
Time: Monday 4 August, 9.30-10.30 am.
Keynote address III- Dr Gregory Baum
Time: Thursday 7 August, 9.30 - 10.30am
Dates/times: 2.30-4.00pm, (Orientation to Commissions), 4.30-6.00pm, August 3
The four commissions of the GA are designed to address areas that are at the heart of WSCF’s identity and life: ecumenical leadership, advocacy and solidarity, Biblical and theological formation and capacity building. The purpose of the commissions is to give each group of delegates the opportunity to explore one area in depth and then bring their learnings and recommendations to the plenary. Each commission will be assigned relevant areas of the WSCF global work to evaluate as one part of the larger theme of the commission. All of the commissions will consider the impact of gender justice and women’s empowerment issues as an integral part of their commission’s work. Every delegate will be part of a GA Commission and guests will be invited to participate in commission sessions.
Commission 1: Raising Prophets: Ecumenical Leadership Formation Commission
This commission will look at our current context and examine the question of ecumenical leadership formation. The commission will also explore the relationship between ecumenism and interfaith partnerships; in addition to working together with others from different Christian traditions, WSCF recognises that current ecumenical leaders need to be prepared to dialogue and work with people from other religions. This commission will look at the theological imperative for ecumenical and interfaith work and will discuss how to be involved in interfaith partnerships while fully embracing our own traditions. The commission will strategise about how WSCF may best take initiative in the area of interfaith partnership, which is of growing importance in the world.
Commission One Resource People
Mr. Patrice Claude Brodeur (Canada), World Conference on Religion for Peace,
Commission 2: Prophecy in Action: Advocacy and Solidarity Commission
From its founding in 1895 until now, WSCF has been engaged with the needs of the world and actively partnering with others who also wish to make a positive difference in the world. This partnering happens through projects on local levels, by standing in solidarity with others who are protesting against injustice (as in, for example, recent statements issued by WSCF in solidarity with the people in Burma/Myanmar and Zimbabwe) and through global advocacy work at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, United Nations Human Rights Council and UNESCO - in many cases working together with other NGOs, ecumenical and youth organisations. This commission will look at case studies of past local and global initiatives, learn from experts in the field and work to set priorities for WSCF’s advocacy and solidarity agenda. We will discuss how to improve our internal WSCF communications between the global and grassroots levels and how to continue building up our external partnerships so as to advocate most effectively. We will also look at the Biblical and theological framework that undergirds our advocacy and solidarity work.
Commission Two Resource people
Rev’d Chris Ferguson (Canada), WCC Representative to the UN in New York, Ms. Christine Housel (USA),
Commission 3: Radical Renewal: Biblical and Theological Commission
Bible study and the study of theology have always played an important role in the life of the Student Christian Movement. In SCMs, students are challenged to view the Bible afresh with the same thoroughness and depth they bring to their chosen fields of study and are exposed to a variety of approaches to Biblical scholarship. Theological questioning underpins the whole life and work of SCM. Students are invited to continuously ask theological questions, “Where is God in this situation?” “How do we understand what God is saying to us in our context?” “How do our answers to these questions challenge us to action in the world around us?” WSCF recognises the study of the Bible and theology as a core activity, as an inspiration for personal and communal life and for action in our societies. This commission will seek to understand why this is not so for many young people today and to discuss how we may continue to strengthen our efforts in a way that speaks into today’s context effectively.
Commission Three Resource people
Dr. Douglas John Hall (Canada), McGill University (to be confirmed)
Commission 4: Making the Vision Real: Capacity Building Commission
This commission focuses on the need for skills development for Student Christian Movements so that they will continue to be sustained and supported by good technical and strategic leadership and organisational best practices. Throughout its programmes and activities, WSCF aims to both model best practice and to directly provide leadership and movement building skills to students, so that they may develop their own leadership and pass on good practices to others in their SCMs and communities. This commission will work to define the movement development needs of the Federation and of our SCMs, articulate a vision of what we want to be achieving at every level of WSCF (locally, nationally, regionally and globally) and offer practical training in relevant aspects of movement building skills. Training areas will include funding applications, monitoring and evaluation of projects, reporting, budgeting, communications, networking, peer support and management and administration. The commission aims to provide students with additional skills that they may use immediately in their own contexts, as well as to make recommendations for the global strategic plan on how to build capacity throughout the Federation.
Commission Four Resource people
Ms. Cathy Williams (UK) Specialist in policy, research and project management on sustainable development, TWWP
Date/time: 8.30 - 9.30am, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 August.
The Pentecost of social movements - Lee Cormie
Each day of the GA will be framed by innovative ecumenical worship lead by a skilled global worship team. We will worship God, creating space for the Holy Spirit to speak and move, acknowledging our common belief in Christ and confessing our need for God’s presence and action in our community. Our times of worship will also serve as exposure to the many churches, cultures and traditions that we represent. Our goal in worship is to express and experience the unity that we have in Christ and to open the riches of different regions and denominations to the Assembly’s participants.
Worship animation team
Worship animator - Rev’d DeLynn Celec (Canada), Rev’d Dora Arce-Valentin (Cuba), Rev’d Michael Wallace, Ms. Jooa Vuorinen
Time: Friday 1 August, 4.30 -6.00pm
Time: 8.00-8.30am August 2, August 4-9.
Time: 1.00-1.30pm, August 2, August 4-9.
Time: 9.00 - 9.20pm, August 2, August 4 - 8.
Time: 7.00 - 8.00 pm, August 9.
Two local clergy from Montreal will support the Assembly as chaplains to the Assembly with pastoral care, group facilitation and worship animation.
Date/time: Monday 4 August, 2.30 - 6.00pm
The General Assembly contains a programme of experiential learning which will take delegates to engage with and learn from communities and ministries engaged in social justice work in Montreal. Montréal has much to offer as a living case study of the many and various complexities, gifts and problems found in contemporary North American society. WSCF has relationships with people and communities who work through initiatives in environmental justice, indigenous issues, urban poverty and immigrant/ refugee issues. There is nothing that teaches so well as exposure to living realities, so GA delegates will supplement conversation and analysis with visits to local people and projects. These programmes will include visits to the local groups and organisations listed below.
First Nations/Indigenous People
Kanesatake: Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine/Local community
Urban Solidarity Programmes
Tour of Queer - GLBT Montreal (community, history)
Exposure visits resource people
Pastor Richard Paré (Mission Bon Acceuil), Michael MacEachen (GLBT Montreal), Jen de Combe (Montreal City Mission), Tom Dear (Kahnawake: History and Culture), George Rider
Local Church Visits
Date: Sunday morning 3 August, 8.00 am - 1pm.
Times: (General business) 11am-1pm, 6 August
The assembly’s business sessions will deal with the constitutional requirements of the WSCF General Assembly such as affiliations of new member movements, oversight of policy and procedure for the WSCF global Personnel and Finance Committees and the election of new staff and officers for the global Federation.
WSCF Executive Committee
The outgoing 2004-2008 quadrennium WSCF global Executive Committee will meet before the General Assembly from July 29-30, at the GA venue, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Room 3.04. The incoming global 2008-2012 Executive Committee will meet after the Assembly on August 10, at the General Assembly venue, Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf. Click here to view the ExCo Timetable.
The General Assembly Stewards' Programme is an opportunity for youth who are committed to working for justice and peace from a place of spiritual
Stewards will assist the Assembly staff in administration and media tasks
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What are they saying about the GA?
6 Nov 2008
"Highlights of the GA, of mine, there are plenty. Those many moments when I felt really connected with some of the lovely people, sharing, laughing and hugs, the special night out in town with friends, chats with The Wise Woman, drawing a mind map with the solidarity workshop group...