1998 NCC News Archives

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WCC Assembly Participants Call on the "God of Many Names"

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Dec. 14, 1998 -- Ghanaian theologian Mercy Amba Oduyoye, speaking during the WCC's 8th Assembly, addressed the "God of Many Names." Throughout the Assembly, in both worship and plenaries, participants from the four corners of the earth called some of those names - Barefoot God; Center God Who Runs Out to the Periphery; God Our Refuge, Hope and Light; Father, Savior; Gentle Christ; Brave Jesus.

What names for God were on the lips and in the hearts of Assembly participants? Here are some:

Abigail Damasane, Family of God Church, Zimbabwe: "We don't just say, 'Hello, Mr. Smith.' If you are master of ceremonies and you present a person held in high esteem, you don't just make them stand up, you have to hail them. Then they stand up mightier. We hail God the King, the Messiah, the Saviour, the Redeemer, the Provider."

Rt. Rev. Everson T. Sieunarine, Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago: "In the Caribbean we speak of a Liberating God who always frees, whether it's women from psychological or physical bondage, people from abuse, youth to think and imagine their future, people not to be enslaved by politicians. He's always God beyond my ways, my color, my creed."

Rt. Rev. Zebedee Masereka, Church of the Province of Uganda: "Sustainer. He makes sure that what He has created, He will hold onto. He makes sure He sticks on you."

Rev. Mihail-Daniel Lungu, Romanian Orthodox Church: "God's being and essence aren't known to us. On the other hand, we may know God from His Creation, the aspirations He puts in our minds, and the effect of His actions on us. God is the Good One - Good Without Comparison. The Right One - Above Any Idea of Rightness. Loving - Above Any Idea of Love. God of Spiritual Beautifulness."

Suzanne Mpoyo, Methodist Church, Democratic Republic of Congo: "In our language, Kiluba, the first name we are using is God of the Multitude of People. Second is Father of Creation. When we see the mountains and the beauty of creation, we speak of The One Who is Modeling."

Rev. Philip L. Freier, Anglican Church of Australia: "God Who is Accepting, Healing, Forgiving. God Who is Judge of All History."

H.G. Mar Cyril Aphram Karim, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East: "The personal names - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the attributes - Mighty, Comforter, Saviour."

Mabel Abeka Mills, Organization of African Instituted Churches: "Where I come from in Ghana, the names come in the context of prayer - God the Creator, Forgiver of Sins, Our Supplier; God Who Gives Us Grace and Understanding; Our All-Sufficient God; God the Father of the Needy, Husband of the Widow, and Redeemer of the Oppressed."

Aruna Gojer, Church of South India: "Loving God, because I am experiencing Him in every moment of my life. If I go astray, He's always with me."

Hee Sook Lee, Presbyterian Church of Korea: "Merciful God, Loving God, God of Justice, God with Minjung Grassroots People, Mother God, Redemption and Salvation God, Womb God."

Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Church of England: "Vulnerable God, which for me connects to being barefoot. Growing up in Jamaica, we only wore shoes to church and school, and the school ones were dilapidated. We were prone to be injured. There's a certain nakedness that's not pretentious. Weeping God, connecting with our tears."


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