During the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea, the council recruited young religious communicators to lend their voices and skills in sharing the story of the gathering to the global audience. That's where the work of one United Church of Christ staffer, Jessie Palatucci, comes in during the two-week event. She's helping the WCC share the ways in which the assembly is communicating its efforts to move toward justice and peace.
During the WCC Assembly, Palatucci is graciously giving her time, assisting the WCC communications staff for two weeks. "For me this has been an incredible opportunity, not only to travel to Korea and experience a new place and a new culture, but to meet and work with communications professionals from all around the world. It's been an amazing," said Palatucci, who is a communication specialist for the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries in its Washington, D.C. office.
In Korea, the entire WCC communications team, more than two dozen people, brings together professionals from all over the world. Palatucci is part of a six-person team of volunteers that updates the WCC web site in four different languages and posts Facebook updates. Her colleagues in this endeavor are young adults from Poland, Sweden, Honduras and Switzerland.
"It's exciting to work across languages and cultures and learn together. I think this has been a great way for the WCC to show that it truly values the presence and voice of young people," Palatucci said. "Between the communications team, the stewards (who function as volunteers to help support the assembly), and the young adult delegates present, they have made it possible for roughly 700 people under the age of 30 to participate in this event."
Palatucci has been a communications specialist for the UCC Justice and Witness Ministries since 2009. She works out of the Washington D.C. office and provides social media updates for JWM, maintains portions of the UCC website, and assembles and distributes JWM's Justice and Peace Action Network (JPANet) email newsletters that call members to action on timely justice issues.
Prior to joining the UCC full time, she was a two-year intern in the D.C. office as a policy advocate after she graduated from St. Michael's College in Vermont with a degree in journalism.
"It's also really interesting to see an event like this as someone who has grown up in the UCC," Palatucci said. "The concept of diversity in faith and unity even in those differences is so much at the core of who we are as a church — it's almost easy to take for granted. To see churches coming together at an event like this, despite massive differences in culture, language, and theology to work together for peace and justice is very powerful."
The WCC is web streaming several events during the assembly, and included a program schedule on its website — where it is providing other information about the event, including daily news stories and updates about the assembly, and a 15-minute video of assembly highlights.
For people on the go, there's even a free mobile application available through Apple's App Store and Google Market that will feature WCC Assembly news, photos and video links. The assembly is also providing updates through social media networks at @wcc2013.
The UCC is one of the 345 members of the WCC, with a team of almost two dozen representatives from across the life of the church at this gathering. The WCC assembly, which occurs once every seven years, takes place from Oct. 30 through Nov. 8 in Busan. The assembly is the highest governing body of the WCC, and is a moment when member churches come together for prayer, celebration and to set the future agenda for the council. There are more than 4,000 delegates, visitors, event staff and media members from more than 100 countries in South Korea for the assembly.