Prominent religious leaders representing the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Catholic Church, are scheduled to meet in Thailand to finalize the last stage of one of its collaborative project. A source from the secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand told ucanews.com that since 1977 there have been varied forms of cooperation between the Catholic Church’s Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and WCC-Geneva through its Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation (IRDC) Program. The collaborative project, to be discussed at the meeting among 50 Religious leaders scheduled for Jan. 25-28 at the Anoma Hotel in Bangkok, concerns the views and experiences relating to Christian missionary activity and respect for followers of other religions. The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is expected to attend the opening ceremony on Jan. 25. The project called Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World: Recommendations for a Code of Conduct was conducted in three phases, the source said. The first phase was an interreligious consultation on Conversion: Assessing the Reality held in 2006 at Lariano, Italy, where 27 persons from across the world, belonging to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Yourba religion participated. The second phase was an intra-Church consultation on Towards an Ethical Approach to Conversion: Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World organized in 2007 at Toulouse in France in which 39 persons from different denominations of the Church participated. Then for the final third phase, it involved four joint meetings in the last two years in Geneva and Rome between the committees of PCID and WCC offices to prepare the draft of the project’s document. Therefore in the meeting next week, the group of religious leaders will finalize the document and get endorsements by the respective Churches involved in the project, the source pointed out. The official worldwide release is likely to take place at the world meeting in March 2011. The source said the big meeting will touch on the issue of Gospel preaching in the global context under multi-religious societies. As there are different denominations in Christianity, it is important to address the Church’s evangelization work in harmony, the source said. According to the source, the Religious leaders had earlier expressed the hope that the (Bangkok) meeting will make an important contribution to the promotion of mutual respect and understanding among members of different religions so that they may live and work together peacefully for the common good. TH12972.1637
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