UPDATE: Lausanne has released an official statement on the missing Chinese delegation. You can read it at http://www.lausanne.org/news-releases/china-missing-from-global-table-as-cape-town-2010-congress-opened-sunday-in-south-africa.html. Please pray for the believers in China.
Tonight, before 5,000 people, Doug Birdsall declared the third Lausanne Congress officially open.With an opening ceremony equivalent to the Olympics (without fireworks), the entire room was energized. Hardly a soul left until the end at 9:30pm. We heard beautiful African music. We saw a fascinating documentary on the history of Christianity from Pentecost to the present. We were welcomed by African leaders. We were admonished that this is probably the most diverse group of Christians ever assembled, so let’s try to make it the most united one, to fulfill Jesus’ prayer.
There was only a short reference to the Chinese delegation, which was prevented from leaving China, but everyone seemed to know what had happened. There was a round of applause as Doug asked God to bless them and even bless their leaders with wisdom and grace.
For our communications team, it was a busy day dealing with the challenges of technology and helping the press get settled in. Tomorrow will be the first full day, and there will be more substance to report. Please check www.capetown2010.com, which will have highlights of the opening ceremonies and rich content within the next 24-36 hours.