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A meeting of hearts and minds in South Korea

August 7, 2009


August 7, 2009

The wonders of the Internet and digital technology may have made it possible for truly global conversations across thousands of miles, but nothing quite beats being in the same room and getting to know the people behind the ideas. 

That’s exactly what happened when some 200 Christian leaders from 40 nations came together at the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary in Seoul, South Korea, in June to fine tune the programme for Cape Town 2010.   

Over the course of five days, the Lausanne leaders learned about God’s work in and through the South Korean Church, but also took the opportunity to strengthen relationships and begin their common study of Ephesians, the foundational study of Cape Town 2010. 

The warm and fruitful conversations are just a foretaste of what’s to come at Cape Town 2010, believes Blair Carlson, Cape Town 2010 Congress Director.   

“Some 40 countries were represented at the Seoul meeting and many Lausanne-related committees, working groups and the Cape Town 2010 Congress team attended.  It gave everyone an opportunity to meet across geographical and committee lines, in some cases for the first time.” 

He added: “Meeting face-to-face in Seoul allowed opportunity for informal fellowship over meals especially to get to know individuals, ministries and interests that are difficult to communicate solely electronically.” 

The WEA is involved in all aspects of the planning for the Congress, from the programme, to communications and participant selection, and several WEA leaders were present at the Seoul meeting, including its International Director Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe.   

With 4,000 evangelical leaders expected to gather in Cape Town from 16 to 25 October 2010, making sure that the programme tackles the right issues is a huge task.  During the Seoul meeting, the WEA leaders took part in several discussions on the programme, looking at the six major themes – truth, reconciliation, world faiths, priorities in evangelism, integrity and partnership.   

“The Seoul meetings were particularly important to help us move towards the final program of the Congress,” said Dr Tunnicliffe. “With the potentiality of hundreds of topics it is important to narrow the focus to the most salient issues of the day for the Church. The planning meetings helped significantly in that process.” 

One of the most important discussions during the five-day gathering centered on the use of technology to enhance the discussions taking place within the Congress as well further afield via the Web.   

The Information Technology Committee is working on an online system that will allow delegates to feedback during the Congress via their laptops or handheld devices, while the Communications Committee is looking at how it can make the most of Twitter, blogs and social networking pages.   

WEA is presently in discussion with Lausanne about how it can help to facilitate the conversations taking place with thousands more evangelical leaders worldwide who will be taking part virtually via the GlobaLink.     

Communicating the Congress outcomes to the grassroots is vital if Cape Town 2010 is to succeed in being more than just a one-off event.  This is where the WEA has a significant role to play, with its broad network of churches and organisations in 128 countries around the world. 

Dr Tunnicliffe said: “It is key in planning such a global event as Cape Town 2010 that there is a strategy for delivering the results back to the grass roots through an ongoing process. The planning in Seoul helped with this critical need.”