A World Mission Conference (WMC), hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, is being planned for 2018, reported the executive group of the World Council of Church’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME).
The group met in Rome on 22-24 February, and was hosted by the Missionaries of Africa (Missionari d’ Africa-Padri Bianchi), which offered hospitality as well as insight into the history of this missionary community.
The group worked on developing a thematic concept and content of the next WMC, highlighting the importance of a celebratory tone overall, with a strong African influence and a clear missionary character. Reflecting on the urgency to address the people at the margins, CWME director Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum reflected: “We need to reintroduce the aspects of radical transformation in the values of God’s kingdom in today’s troubled world. To this end, CWME intends to focus on three thematic areas as we move toward the 2018 WMC: transformation and discipleship; Holy Spirit and empowerment; the missional movement and the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”.
Commissioner Jennifer Martin, who represented CWME in a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace Theological Study Group meeting in February in Israel, referred to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace as a journey of accompaniment with those afflicted by oppression toward restoration and the fullness of life. She highlighted that a core function of CWME is to “challenge and encourage people into claiming the abundant life which God has created for them”.
Bishop Dr Geevargese Mor Coorilos, CWME moderator, stated: “The World Mission Conference is meant to reimagine “missio Dei” in particular contexts and as such, CWME is very excited about the prospect of organising a World Mission Conference on the African continent”.
“Our hope”, he added, “as we meet in Rome, is that we would be able to follow up on the new excitement and renewed energy that the new WCC Mission Statement, Together Towards Life, has generated across the globe and to challenge the worldwide church, the ecumenical movement and mission bodies to move with the Holy Spirit in an ethos of transforming discipleship”.
“We have had lively and enthusiastic discussions around the conference theme”, concluded CWME’s vice-moderator, Rev. Dr Janet Corlett, adding that the group “prayed for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in discerning how our conference might serve the mission of God, challenge the current age, and inspire us all with God’s promise of life”.
The outcomes of the meeting will be shared with all CWME commissioners for further comments and feedback before being presented at the WCC Central Committee meeting in June in Norway.