Commission on World Mission and Evangelism
The contemporary missionary movement has been one of the major streams fostering ecumenism ever since the world mission conference in Edinburgh in 1910. When the International Missionary Council (IMC), one of the outcomes of Edinburgh, merged with the World Council of Churches in 1961, the programmatic work and responsibility of the IMC became entrusted to the WCC.
A three-fold structure was created within WCC as a consequence of the merger:
- a Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, usually meeting once in between two WCC assemblies
- a Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), meeting every 18 months
- a staff group working on matters related to CWME
In the CWME conferences, the WCC is already experiencing a form of 'wider ecumenism' with the full participation of delegates from the Roman Catholic Church, and evangelical or Pentecostal churches or mission movements.
The CWME commission is composed of some 25 members, also coming from WCC member churches, mission bodies affiliated to the CWME conference and representatives of the 'wider ecumenism'. Roman Catholics, evangelicals and Pentecostals are full members of the CWME commission and participate in all its activities.
The Commission intends to offer spaces to churches and people or movements engaged in mission and evangelism for sharing reflections, experiences, questions and discoveries on content and methods of Christian witness today. The main concern is to empower churches and mission bodies to be in common mission and to do it in Christ's way, i.e. linking the methods used with the content of the gospel.
CWME fosters conferences, consultations, study processes, publications and visits, correspondence or other forms of contacts.
In the run-up to the Edinburgh 1910 centennial, major thematic foci are
- the relation between mission and unity, or between the church and mission (a study will be done in cooperation with the Faith and Order Commission)
- the theology of evangelism in a world of religious plurality. This will involve a new reflection on the significance of evangelism and on methods of sharing the gospel. CWME is also participating together with other programmes of the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church, the World Evangelical Alliance and Pentecostals in the search for a "code of conduct on conversion"
- the search for a spirituality of mission as healing and transformation
- the reflection on Christian identity in a world of religious plurality (also in cooperation with other programmes of the WCC)