Religion: On the Fringe

Facing a thatchwood wall in a mod African conference hall, a gathering of key Protestant and Eastern Orthodox leaders from six continents and four races last week sang and clapped to the accompaniment of a jazz combo, recited the Lord's Prayer simultaneously in a Pentecost of languages, then paraded out into the Nairobi night for an informal session of Christmas caroling.

Despite those exuberant closing moments, however, the fifth septennial assembly of the World Council of Churches was a hesitant gathering at an uneasy time. Just before it opened, Founding Father W.A. Visser 't...

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