Dr. Margaret Mitchell, Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School, led the attendees in a study in which she shared some of her work on the Corinthian letters. The NWCU Bible Study is sponsored by the American Bible Society which makes a generous gift to help underwrite the cost of our event. Prof. Mitchell is currently revising for publication her 2008 Speaker’s Lectures at Oxford University,“The Corinthian Correspondence and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics,” She worked to give us an overview of how I Corinthians should be approached and read. She reminded us that the central message is an appeal for Christian Unity in which St. Paul warns that Christ’s Body is being torn “limb to limb.” Paul calls for reconciliation, using the medical term which in Greek refers to the act of re-setting a dislocated limb. Paul warns them that those who destroy the unity of the Body will be destroyed by God.
In their first Plenary Session, attendees heard the NWCU Keynote Address, which was again sponsored by Order of St. Lazarus. Making the Keynote Address, for the 2009 NWCU, was Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Metropolitan Girasimos’s address raised important issues and at the same time challenged participants. In his opening remarks he said, “Where is the common base from which we can rebuild the Body of Christ?”
He reminded us that the task of Christians is to keep the Body of Christ united, and where it is divided, to work for its reconciliation.
The sermon was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, President of the World Alliance of Reformed (WARC). Prior to his retirement in 2008, Dr. Kirkpatrick served as the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The service included several anthem by Choirs and Musical Performers from the Phoenix area.