“Mission, at the heart of it, is really theological,” she said. “It’s a fundamental theological tenant that we uphold.”
First and foremost, she added, mission is God’s mission—but also God is a God of justice, and God is devoted to those who are marginalized. “Within the Scriptures, we see in Jesus’ life the commitment to the people who did not have voice, and so in our focus over time within the ecumenical movement, we have come in the WCC to say that ecumenical mission is mission from the margins, so that the margins have agency,” she said.
Her biggest hope for 2023 is to work collaboratively in a way that discerns the way forward. “If we can build a sense of collaborating across the programmes, If we can have Faith and Order and the Commission for World Mission and Evangelism being seen as two sides of the same coin, it’s unity and mission, and also ecumenical formation,” she said. “I believe that my role is one of coordination and so I sit as programme director to coordinate with the other programmes and within the programme I am responsible for.”
The idea of connecting the global and the local through working commissions, for instance, is part of the collaborative nature of the work going forward, she said.
“I think we need to make sure that, in the work we do, we are consultative but also collaborative, and so during this period with we are putting together commissions, it’s not the work of the secretariat alone but the work of the member churches who actually nominate people to participate,” said Nalwamba.
She especially looks forward to the transversal on youth ecumenical engagement, which is already working. “We saw how many youth there were engaged in different spaces during the assembly,” she said.
She believes that the ecumenical movement is handing over to the younger generation—and that the Bossey Ecumenical Institute, the Ecumenical Theological Education (ETE) and the Youth Ecumenical Engagement programmes will be key in the coming year.