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Anticipation from Tanzania on the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

Anticipation from Tanzania on the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

The Conference on World Mission and Evangelism will be held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Pamela Valdes/WCC

21 February 2018

Bishop Dr Fredrick O. Shoo is presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). He is also author of a “Welcome” in the Handbook for the upcoming World Council of Churches Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME). Below, Bishop Shoo is featured in an interview that comments on crucial issues in the conference that will require deliberations to lead toward a truly transforming discipleship. The upcoming CWME will occur in Arusha, Tanzania on 8-13 March.

Q: What do you most wish conference participants will ponder during their stay in Arusha?

Bishop Shoo: We will welcome all of the participants to worship, reflect, deliberate, and celebrate God’s mission at this crucial moment in the world, when humanity still continues to violate God’s creation, justice, and peace. As the world enters the fourth industrial revolution, we need to ponder these two questions: Where is the place of Spirituality? How will our missional pilgrimage address this era?

Q: Can you speak a bit about the conference objectives?

Bishop Shoo: There are four basic aspects of this conference: its missional, ecumenical, African, and youthful character. In its deliberations, the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism strongly expressed the need for the conference to reflect missiologically — in an African and ecumenical context — on the signs of the times in our world today. This is a world in which God is active and present, bringing completion to God’s creation.

Looking at the content of the conference, I see crucial issues that will need our bold deliberations. I hope that we shall be vigilant in addressing global issues that threaten life in the world today.

Q: What does a transforming discipleship call us to do?

Bishop Shoo: A transforming discipleship calls us to leave our comfort zones and be ready to carry the cross. Fear and selfish interests can be serious obstacles to a truly transforming discipleship. Jesus, the master of the cross and resurrection, teaches us what it means to be transforming disciples, as he says: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it” (Mark 8:34-35).

Q: In what ways will the conference reflect the African context?

Bishop Shoo: Our Local Host Committee and the Conference Preparatory Committee of the All Africa Conference of Churches have worked together to ensure the conference embraces the African context. A joint process by the Conference Planning Committee and ELCT staff was crucial in preparing ground for the practical realization of this conference.

Tanzania is a country with great and beautiful flora and fauna. There is much to see, to hear, to taste, to touch, and to learn.

Learn more about the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT)