The pre-assembly event of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism saw churches' renewed commitment and different approaches to mission and evangelism in a context of rapid change in society, politics and church.
The discussions took place on Monday, 26 March in Manila, Philippines, where more than 200 participants have gathered to develop a statement on mission and evangelism, which will be presented at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea.
The day's presentations focused on churches' responses to the challenges posed by changing landscapes, addressing the theme “Winds of Change: Church on the move”.
Bringing a regional perspective from Latin America to the debate on mission, Pentecostal missiologist and CWME commissioner Dr Tito Paredes pointed out that economic and political contexts need to be considered as churches formulate their response on mission.
“Given the realities of poverty and the poor in our world today, particularly in the two thirds world, it is imperative that the integrity of mission actively work for the reduction of poverty,” said Paredes.
Speaking particularly about the churches in Latin America, Paredes said that “a collaborative and united effort should be sought among the Latin American churches and Christians of the worldwide church to communicate the whole gospel.”
“Our mission challenge is a historic opportunity to verbalize the perceptions and longings of a generation seeking an authentic spirituality,” said Dr Melba Padilla Maggay from Diliman Bible Church in the Philippines.
“Religion must go beyond therapy and meeting the immediate need of psychological healing and emotional gratification, and return to the human quest for purpose, meaning and significance,” added Maggay.
Presenters who shared reflections on issues of migrants, with Catholic, Orthodox and Charismatic perspectives on the theme, included Rev. Dr Rafaat Girgis, Adele Halliday, Fr Richard Baawobr, Fr Vladimir Fedorov and Dr Laszlo Gonda, among others.
Church to renew its thinking on mission and evangelism (WCC press release of 22 March 2012)
High resolution photos available via photos.oikoumene.org