our common service

from a report of the Joint Commission of the Orthodox and Oriental Churches on “our common service to the world of suffering, need, injustice and conflicts,” includingthe mentally and physically handicapped(and the implications of their findings for us):

The Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue betweenthe Joint Commission the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, at its meeting at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in Chambesy, Geneva from September 23rd to 28th 1990, received a report from its Joint Pastoral Sub-committee which had met at the Anba Bishoy Monastery in Egypt from 31st January to 4th February 1990. The report was the starting point for an extended discussion of four types of pastoral issues :

I. Relations among our two families of Churches, and our preparation for unity.
II. Relations of our Churches with other Christian Churches and our common participation in the Ecumenical Movement.
III. Our common service to the world of suffering, need, injustice and conflicts.
IV. Our co-operation in the propagation of our common faith and tradition.

And here is the statement on III. Our common service to the world of suffering, injustice and conflicts:

15. We need to think together how best we could co-ordinate our existing schemes for promoting our humanitarian and philanthropic projects in the socio-ethnic context of our peoples and of the world at large. This would entail our common approach to such problems as :

(a) hunger and poverty,
(b) sickness and suffering,
(c) political, religious and social discrimination,
(d) refugees and victims of war,
(e) youth, drugs and unemployment,
(f) the mentally and physically handicapped,
(g) the old and the aged)

“We need to think together how best we could co-ordinate our existing schemes for promoting our humanitarian and philanthropic projects in the socio-ethnic context of our peoples and of the world at large.”

This is a call to coordination of our efforts toward people in need, including persons with disability. Perhaps here in America we could begin this effort at coordination among ourselves, that is, the various Orthodox jurisdictions, and then begin to work together with the Oriental Churches. But who will initiate this; who can make this happen?

Lord, raise up servants for these tasks, that your good news may continue to go forth to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the downtrodden [St. Luke 4:18], that we may do the greater works of Thine that Thou has called us to, according to Your promise. [St. John 14:12]    

quotations from http://Monachos.net  specifically http://www.monachos.net/printable/friendlyprint.php ; picture from http://www.centreorthodoxe.org/index.php?nav=dialogues2&smenu=smenu8&lang=fr

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