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Mission: a call to life-giving witness

Mission: a call to life-giving witness

Rev. Dr Stephen Bevans speaking at the mission plenary of the WCC assembly in Busan.

04 November 2013

Today the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly featured a mission plenary. The plenary session presented an action-oriented reflection based on the new WCC mission statement: Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes. The plenary sought to highlight the common challenges and opportunities for mission in the current global context.

The new WCC mission statement, Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes, was unanimously approved as an official statement of the WCC by its Central Committee at its meeting in Greece in September 2012. The WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) has prepared A Practical Guide on the new statement, which includes Bible study, prayers and songs. The guide also includes a DVD that contains video clips on the history and activities of the CWME, the eight preparatory study reports leading to the new statement and the centenary issue of the WCC journal International Review of Mission (IRM).

Moderator of the plenary Prof. Kirsteen Kim, in her introductory remarks, acknowledged the growth and strength of the missionary movement of the Korean churches. The presentations included an engaging theological reflection by the Rev. Dr Stephan Bevans, a priest in the Catholic missionary congregation of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) United States, on the WCC mission statement. Bevans recalled the words of Rowan Williams, “Mission is finding out where the Spirit at work, and joining in.” He said, “It is with the same conviction and same faith in the Holy Spirit that this document proposes a fresh, dynamic approach to engaging in the work of mission and evangelism in today’s changing landscapes”.

The plenary included two other reflections – “New Ways of doing Evangelism”, on the contemporary context of evangelism in the world, by the Rev. Cecilia Castillo Nanjarí, who is from the Pentecostal Mission Church in Chile; the second reflection was presented by Bishop Dr. Geevarghese Mor Corillos, who is moderator of the CWME, speaking on the concepts of mission, including “mission from the margins”, derived from the new affirmations of the mission statement.

The plenary included a CWME video production focusing on the changing landscape of global mission since the 1910 World Missionary Conference, also known as the Edinburgh Missionary Council of Church in the Phillipines, brought the mission statement to life with vibrant and creative dance and music portraying contextual references on the mission of the Holy Spirit bringing  fullness of life.

Recording of the Mission Plenary

Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes

WCC assembly participants make pilgrimage for peace on Korean peninsula (WCC news release of 4 November)

Religious leaders highlight significance of water at WCC assembly (WCC news release of 4 November)

Official website of the WCC 10th Assembly

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