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11.05.05 02:53 Age: 7 yrs

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, WCC General Secretary gives Opening Remarks

Introduction

"First, I wish to extend my profound thanks - and those of the World Council of Churches - to the Church of Greece, as well as the churches of Greece, for their invitation to hold the first mission conference of the new millennium in Athens where the apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel boldly, while still showing respect for the culture of Athens and the traditions held precious by the Greeks.

I am also pleased to welcome all of you who have followed in the footsteps of Paul, coming to participate in this event. You come from many places and represent the rich diversity celebrated at Pentecost. Quite a number of you are well acquainted with World Council of Churches conferences and assemblies. I am delighted to see you here again amid the beautiful surroundings of Agios Andreas. On the other hand, this may be the first opportunity for others of you to join brothers and sisters from such a wide variety of backgrounds in a WCC event. I particularly want to welcome you! Your presence enriches our fellowship, and I am keen to learn how God is at work in your lives and communities.

On his second missionary voyage, the apostle Paul came to Athens from Thessalonica by way of Beroea, passing along the Aegean coastline where we gather today. The sails of the ship that bore him were filled with breezes like those we now feel, blowing over this same sea. May that knowledge inspire us as we continue the Christian journey, and may the ecumenical ship be propelled by winds of the Spirit. (...)"