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Marketplace (Sokoni)

Marketplace of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism.

Sokoni

“Sokoni” is a Kiswahili term for a community marketplace where people gather to exchange commodities and products. It is a communal space for sharing ideas and stories about life in that community. Globally, community marketplaces are shared spaces, mainly populated by women and children as sellers and buyers of the community’s produce. In this world mission gathering, the Sokoni is a mission marketplace of ideas, stories, and activities that articulates the responses of marginalized groups to the signs of the times from the perspectives of the margins. It is a mission marketplace that values prophetic mission thinking and practice. It recognizes the transforming agency of the marginalized as they speak to the current realities of the world, whilst seeking to inform future mission thinking and experience within the church and the wider ecumenical movement.

Structure, Methodology, Timeline, and Space

The Sokoni runs for three days of the conference, beginning on Friday with a focus on “Youth,” continuing on Saturday with a focus on “Women,” and closing on Monday focusing on “Mission from the Margins.” The duration of each Sokoni session is four and a half hours, opening with exhibitions, displays, and performances from 15:30, which is the afternoon tea break, and closing by the end of dinner at 20:00. Conference participants are encouraged to enjoy their afternoon break around the Sokoni space. From 16:00 to 17:30 we offer “Creative Dialogues” on topics related to the day’s focus (i.e., “Youth,” “Women,” or “Mission from the Margins”) and presented in various artistic forms, techniques, and cultural expressions. The creative dialogue on each of the three days concludes by 17:30 sharp to ensure adequate space is given to Evening Prayers, which are led by each Sokoni group in collaboration with the Spirituality Team. The Evening Prayers are given a half hour each and are closed by 18:00 for dinner. After the prayers, participants are welcome to mingle and eat their dinner around the Sokoni space. The Sokoni space closes at 20:00 sharp.

The physical space for the Sokoni is outside the conference auditorium and covers a huge area that accommodates a vibrant and colourful marketplace. The space is circular, with a centre stage surrounded by exhibitions, displays, and market stalls selling handcrafts, artworks, books, and other goods produced locally and from around the world. The whole space is utilized as multiple locations with activities staged concurrently, encouraging movement and the lively engagement of participants. We presuppose inclusive and integrated approaches in the Sokoni activities, performances, and story-telling.

Youth Sokoni

Date: Friday, 9 March 2018
Time: 15:30–20:00

The youth-themed Sokoni is led by GETI in collaboration with the WCC Youth desk. Conference participants are encouraged to take their afternoon break at the Sokoni space where the youth lead with creative performances and presentations. The displays and exhibition areas highlight issues related to youth ministry and mission.

GETI is host to 120 students from diverse countries and confessional backgrounds who are engaging in an ecumenical short-term study and exposure programme (5–13 March 2018) in Arusha. These students are empowered to engage among themselves, and share stories, experiences, knowledge, and questions about their aspirations as they strive to be disciples of Christ in today’s world. They are encouraged to share their reasoning and questioning as young people of faith with the World Mission Conference and offer specific contributions to its programmatic sections, including the Sokoni. The GETI students are distributed around the Sokoni space, leading, performing, accompanying, and supporting conference participants as they engage with the youth activities.

Timetable (Friday, 9 March 2018, 15:30–20:00)

15:30 Youth Sokoni/Marketplace Opens!
16:00 Creative Dialogue: “Being a Young Disciple of Christ in Faith, Hope, and Love.” Living Water from Unusual Places — Young people’s locations as hopeful interrogations to the church. “On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).

(i) Centre Stage:
Introducing the Youth Sokoni theme of “Faith, hope, and love,” GETI 2018 participants give a dramatic reading of 1 Corinthians 13 in different languages. (30 youth)

Around the Sokoni space, cloths are suspended between trees with photos displayed representing youth Talking Walls.

(ii) Four Booths:
On the Streets…
This booth represents the streets, symbolizing the unusual places of the church today. Streets are the trajectories through our towns, connecting neighbourhoods, separating building blocks, and serving as meeting spots, transportation routes, and pilgrimage routes. Everything seems to move on them swiftly: people, cars, trucks, bikes. Streets are places of encounter, passage, discovery, but also of violent disruption, chaos, and separation. Amidst these contrasting experiences on the streets, there is time for the unexpected, the surprising event: street music, a homeless person, a manifestation, children’s chalk drawings on the sidewalk, graffiti on house walls, an itinerant trader, an evangelist. GETI 2018 participants will exhibit photos, drawings and other pieces of visual art that illustrate the unusual and new locations of the church out of the youthful creativity on the streets. (20 youth)

An Open Compound: In the Fire…
This booth represents fire, which symbolizes both the nurturing warmth it procures and the ravaging heat it produces; both dimensions are present in young people’s experiences. Their enthusiasm and creativity, as well as their rage and protest in the face of global challenges, are vivid expressions of this existence “in the fire.” Discipleship today cannot be meaningful if it does not take into account these experiences of young people at the border-line, in the margins and yet at the centre of any community which wants to project itself with vision and passion into the future. (20 youth)

An Inviting Tent: Under the Shells…
This booth represents a shell as an image of security, protection, belonging, home — Where can young people feel at home? Increasing mobility in a globalized world can mean uprootedness and perpetual search for young people. Creation at the seaside offers a life-nurturing image of longed-for belonging for young people: covered and protected by shells, yet still in contact with the sand and the rolling waves. Under the shells is symbolic of shelter and movement, which in its contrasts offers space for imaginative explorations. How can the church as the body of Christ be a place where young people feel protected and safe like under a shell, and yet in constant movement towards transformation? (20 youth)

A Creative Table: Up with the Kites…
This booth represents a creative space for kites empowered by the wind — the wind blows, branches and leaves of bending trees are floating in the air. Young people are yearning for this fresh wind of inspiration and renewal, motivating them to carry forth their vision for a more peaceful and just world. In these symbolic actions of building kites are embedded all the youthful energy, the bursting laughter and joyful songs. How does the life and witness of churches today reflect this drive for action and visible signs of being alive? (20 youth)

17:30 Reflection of the Day & Evening Prayer (30 min)
The Seeds of Hope – A youth prayerful contribution to a sustainable future.

18:00 Evening Prayers Close! Dinner Commences!
The evening prayers conclude at 18:00 sharp. Participants are free to enjoy their dinner around the Sokoni space as they continue to mingle and engage in conversations.

20:00 Youth Sokoni/Marketplace Closes!

 

Women Sokoni

Date: Saturday, 10 March 2018
Time: 15:30–20:00

The women-themed Sokoni intends to make visible women’s creative ways of being in mission, as well as the gender justice issues that women in mission face. The activities in this Sokoni session bear the motif of moving together in the Spirit, with mentorship as an embodiment of transformative discipleship. This Sokoni is designed to be an interactive animation that involves as many of the women mission participants as possible, and using observation and exploration in silence, talk-show side-by-side fireside chats that engage the audience and storytelling “campfire” sessions as methodology. With the motif of pilgrimage, the participants are invited to journey alongside women as we celebrate our gifts of women in mission, lament our wounds of invisibility, and work towards the transformation of gaining our voice towards gender injustice.

Here, women’s characteristic ways of being in mission, their stories, and the issues they address, and their strategies inform and shape mission-from-the-margin thinking and praxis. In this way, they challenge imperial, colonial-centrist, and patri-kyriarchal models of mission. Women in mission approaches are rooted in embodied, holistic, and interconnected experiences of life in the margins without diminishing the margins’ complexities.

Timetable (Saturday, 10 March 2018, 15:30–20:00)

15:30 Women Sokoni/Marketplace Opens!

Women’s Market Place: mounted exhibits, displays and stalls

PROCESS of the Sokoni Women’s Creative animation, dialogue and talk-show discussion:

15:30: At the entrance of the Sokoni, a very visible banner/tarpaulin reads:  YOU ARE TO REMAIN SILENT.

There are 5 market stalls along the path to the center of the marketplace displaying different resources on women’s stories of mission:

STALL  ONE
Women in Prayer: Women’s story of the mission prayer movement and spirituality / World Day of Prayer: an ecumenical prayer movement for home and foreign mission since 1855.

STALL TWO
Women’s story of prayer and action for peace: the Fellowship of the Least Coin, a global ecumenical prayer movement for justice, peace and reconciliation since 1956.

STALL THREE
Women’s story of mission as financial resourcing and empowerment of women into leadership: Resources from the United Methodist Women since 1869

STALL FOUR
Women’s story of mission as holistic development and gender justice: Resources from SECAAR, Mission 21 and Ujamaa

STALL FIVE
Women’s story of mission as education, health and empowerment of girls and boys: Resources from WCC EHAIA, Health and Healing, EAA and WYWCA.

IN SILENCE, Guests choose one market stall, to silently reflect on the resources displayed at the particular stall and move on to the next.

16.00 Loud announcement (preferably by a woman) is made from the center of Sokoni: “Women have broken their silence and from now on they speak.”

A celebrative dance and singing (celebrating the breaking of silence so that women’s stories of mission are shared) follows, right at the center, and guests are invited to join the dancing and singing by the performers themselves.

At the center of Sokoni:

16.10-16.15: The talk show hostess invites all to pay attention and participate in the talk show. She introduces the women in Sokoni and invites the participants (5 at a time) and engages with them using some guiding questions.

16.40: A song breaks to usher onstage a new group.

16.45-17.10: Hostess invites 4 more participants and engages with them using guiding questions.

17.10- 17.25: Using the fireside chats, the talk show host invites inputs from the audience.

17.25-17.30: Closing remarks.

17.30-18.00: Gathering prayer by Spiritual Life.

18.00-20.00: DINNER.

20.00-21.30: Conversation with the GETI.

Please feel free to have your dinner around the Sokoni space and continue to enjoy what is on offer in the displays and exhibitions or continue conversations on the Sokoni themes.

 

Mission from the Margins Sokoni

Date: Monday, 12 March 2018
Time: 15:30–20:00

This Sokoni is hosted by “Mission from the Margins” networks, including those focused on issues of Indigenous peoples (EIPN), people with disabilities (EDAN), migration / multicultural ministry (M&MM), racial justice (RJ), and people living with HIV. This Sokoni reflects on the materials displayed, exhibited, on sale, in the artistic performances, and in the creative dialogue themes of “Mission from the Margins.”

This Sokoni commences with a youth performing arts group, leading with music and drumming the conference participants from the plenary hall to the Sokoni space and to the centre stage. Participants from the Indigenous youth pre-conference representing communities at the margins are very involved in leading the activities in this Sokoni. Dramatic performances on the centre stage highlight stories from the margins of conflict, resistance, renewal, and hope. Artistic performances — including skits, music, and drumming — are continued on stage every half hour during one and a half hours of the creative dialogue.

Participants are invited to join a “Mission from the Margins Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace” that involves journeying/engaging with five stations of the margins located around the Sokoni space in open booths or platforms: (i) Spring, (ii) Forest, (iii) Borders, (iv) Crossroads, and (v) Village (see below for the explanations of stations).

Each station is hosted by intergenerational leaders who rotate in leading the station activities, dialogues, conversations, and story-telling. Conference delegates are encouraged to visit and engage as pilgrims in the activities in each station during the one and a half hours allocated to the creative dialogue. Whilst movement from station to station is free-flowing and at each delegate’s discretion, as pilgrims you are encouraged to move in chronological progression from stations one to five if possible and to spend at least 15 minutes per station culminating in celebration mode in the Village, which is station five. Pilgrims are free to visit a station more than once if reflections and contemplation on mission from the margins themes highlighted at particular stations compels them to do so. Pilgrims may very well end up journeying only to some and not all of the five stations within the time frame; this is fine too. As pilgrims please allow yourselves to be led by the Spirit as you move in the Spirit around the stations of the margins, meditating on what it means to be called to transforming discipleship in this space.

Timetable (Monday, 12 March 2018, 15:30–20:00)

15:30 Mission from the Margins Sokoni/Marketplace Opens!
At 15:30 sharp the youth creative arts group leads the conference participants with drumming performance from the plenary to the centre stage of the Sokoni space. Participants are encouraged to grab their afternoon tea and mingle around the centre stage as soon as possible.

15:40 Centre Stage – Artistic Performances
Youth creative dramatic and artistic performances highlight stories from the margins of conflict, resistance, renewal, and hope. Participants are introduced to the “Mission from the Margins Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,” which involves journeying through the five stations of the margins. The five stations of the margins are creatively represented in the introductory performances on the centre stage.

16:00 Creative Dialogue
Five Stations of the Margin:

(i) Spring
The stories and activities at this station draw on images of spring/water as the spiritual source of our pilgrimage. Springwater resides deep down in the earth and must push through much to get to the top and be accessible as a life source for humans and all life forms dwelling on the earth’s surface. There is also the reality that spring water, which is clean water, is not accessible to all. Clean water is a scarcity for many millions of peoples around the globe, including migrants and refugees forced to live in dehumanizing conditions today. Water justice is an issue that urgently needs addressing.

Through rich symbolism and creative story-telling, this station of the margin explores possibilities of transforming discipleship that resonate with the woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well (John 4:1-40) As Christians we believe that Jesus is the water of life, the living water. As the living water of life, Jesus Christ is accessible to all who thirst and his heart must break in pieces that so many are denied living clean water in our world today. The lead host for this station is our ecumenical disability network, EDAN.

(ii) Forest
The forest is a common space for all of God’s creation to share. It is not a space for exclusive claims. The forest is necessary for our oxygen supply and all need good clean air to live. However, the forest is a contested space and it is human beings and human interests that make it so. Corporations are vying for ownership in order to mine, to extract minerals for profit. Indigenous owners continue to be displaced and made homeless by land-grabbing interests. Damages to nature and natural resources are visible in the devastation of the forest. Creative and interactive activities at this station explore transforming discipleship in relation to Indigenous spirituality, understandings, and biblical notions of stewardship, climate change, environment, eco-theology, and sustainability. The lead host for this station is our Indigenous network.

(iii) Borders
Borders represent barriers, separation, insecurity, isolation, fear, anxiety, places of challenge and conflict in a foreign land (e.g., Abraham in Egypt, Paul’s mission at the margins). This station of the margin highlights the global migration and refugee crisis and the states’ responses of adopting closed border policies as a migration control measure. There are also the barriers we construct to mark boundaries in relationships, which are sometimes healthy but often isolate, divide, or diminish human interconnections and interdependency. Here we explore different meanings of “border” and when borders are healthy or otherwise. We look at ways to dismantle and break down unhealthy borders; at how to build bridges instead of borders; and at possibilities of transforming discipleship at the border. This station is organized and led by migration and multicultural ministry practitioners.

(iv) Crossroads
The crossroads represent a space where choices are made: to let go, to make new starts, to embrace and relate rather than exclude and isolate. The stories and testimonials are about making choices for discipleship and how to share gifts and resources, how to welcome and be hospitable, how to find solidarity and provide belonging rather than alienate and collude in “othering” processes. We draw on biblical motifs that resonate with making choices (e.g., Jeremiah demanding decisions and choices to be made); with crossing borders, as in Jesus coming to share our humanity; and with opportunities to respond to God’s invitation to the margins — where Christ is transforming people on the cross. This is also a space to choose reconciliation — with each other, with God’s creation, and with God. We particularly explore racial reconciliation as a model of transforming discipleship at the crossroads. This station is led by racial justice practitioners and leaders.

(v) Village
The village symbolizes heaven, God’s kingdom and reign, a city not built by human hands, where all God’s peoples gather, interact, grow together in love. This is therefore a space of celebration and thanksgiving (biblical images include Heb. 11, Acts 17). This is God’s village at the margins, which is a holy space, a blessed space. Here God’s justice and peace are real. Here the agency of the marginalized are visible. As transforming disciples of Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit to be agents of holy disruption, they are God’s partners in transforming the structures and systems of oppression and injustice to spaces of solidarity, mutuality, and community. This is God’s village of hope, belonging, healing, and reconciliation. Specific examples of healing, reconciliation, and hope in HIV communities in Africa are highlighted as possibilities of transforming discipleship. The village is a space of rejoicing, dancing, and singing in celebration. All pilgrims are invited to join in the celebration of God’s love and to reflect on the multitude ways in which God’s love is manifested in their lives. This station is hosted by the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV / AIDS (INERELA).

17:30 Evening Prayers
The “Mission from the Margins” concluding presentation finishes at 17:30 sharp. The Sokoni programme moves swiftly into Evening Prayers for half an hour.

18:00 Evening Prayers Close! Dinner Commences!
Participants are invited to enjoy their dinner in the Sokoni space, and to mingle and move freely around the Sokoni exhibition, display areas, and market stalls — relaxing, talking, and exploring.

20:00 Mission from the Margins Sokoni/Marketplace Closes!