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Seeking a theology for another possible world


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"The other world we are thinking of is the one we have, not a world beyond," said Rev. Orlando Santos de Oliveira. The primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil was speaking at the opening session of a theological forum on the theme of "Theology for another possible world". Therefore "The only possible theology is one that engages with a liberating God on a concrete pastoral basis, in dialogue with new religious and social movements and the society we live in," de Oliveira declared.


Bringing together 180 theologians from all parts of the world, the World Forum on Theology and Liberation is taking place in Porto Alegre, Brazil from 21-25 January, just before the 26-31 January World Social Forum (WSF).


Being organized by ecumenical organizations in Latin America, and supported by international ecumenical bodies including the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Forum's theme refers both to the World Social Forum slogan, "Another world is possible", and to that of the February 2006 assembly in Porto Alegre of the World Council of Churches, "God, in your grace, transform the world".


According to its coordinator Luis Carlos Susin, the theological forum offers an opportunity for "mutual dialogue for Christian theologians of all continents" and "interfaith dialogue in a context that is marked by violent conflict between religions".


What theological visions of a way towards another possible world will the forum offer? "The road is made as you walk it," Susin suggested. "From our religious experience, we can […] dedicate ourselves to justice and compassion, or to intolerance and fundamentalism. We have chosen the first option. In this forum, we will share our vision that another world is possible."


"How can we live our faith in the context of globalization?" asked the president of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba, Rev. Dr Ofelia Ortega. "Our task is the fulfilment of the Agape of God which is based on grace and transforming justice," she reflected. Turning the WCC assembly theme around, Ortega stressed human responsibility for the act of transformation: "God, in your grace, help us to obey your call to be agents for transforming your world."


"The community of faith is a community of hope", emphasized Dr Walter Altmann, president of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB).For Altmann, the genuine Christian contribution to another world is to live as "fruits of hope", based in God's grace, and as "creators of hope" who hold fast to the "final, eternal hope" in the face of all that threatens hope in today's world. His own church has adopted the WCC's forthcoming 9th assembly theme for action and reflection over the forthcoming year, Altmann reported.


cf. WCC press release PR-05-62 of 19 January 2005


High-resolution photos from the forum are available on our website:



Media contacts in Porto Alegre:

Susanne Buchweitz subuc@terra.com.br +55 (0) 51 3342 2627 +55 (0) 51 3225 9066

Henrike Mueller hem@wcc-coe.org+55(0)51 8114 7833