Moderated by Rev. Michael Blair, United Church of Canada, the launch features some of the books’ editors and contributors. “I trust that those who engage…will recognize that it has been a labor of love…” says Blair, who also poses three questions for panelists.
“Why should we pay attention to the formation of the International Missionary Council way back in 1921?” asks Blair. A second question is, “What have we learned from the study process that has happened,” while a third is “Is there a future for a mission cooperation?”
Rev. Dr Risto Jukko, director of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, expresses what an honor it is to launch the two books. “In fact, these two books go directly together…” he says, walking viewers through the photos depicted on the books’ covers.
Dr Marina Ngursangzeli Behera, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, UK, expresses her joy at being able to work on the publications during the last two years, including a gathering to theology students. “I was so amazed to see the eagerness of those students when they raised questions, when they took part in discussions,” she said. “We are not just looking at history…but at how people been cooperating and working together in God’s mission.”
Jingqin Gu, China Christian Council, offers commentary as one of the members of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism who has been putting together and working with study centers.
Rev. Dr Michael Biehl, Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany, expresses his gratitude at how willing people were to gather online to contribute to discussions related to the books. “One of the things we learned is that there is much more happening than we see,” he said.
Rev. Prof. Dr Kenneth R. Ross, Zomba Theological College in Malawi, reflects on how important the history of the International Missionary Council is as we re-imagine mission for the future. “You’ll hear often…people speaking of the WCC beginning in 1948—which of course is accurate—but it didn’t come from nowhere in 1948,” he says. “I think honoring where you’ve come from is an important thing.”