“Is our notion of discipleship inclusive of those who exist in the marginal spaces of our world?”, asked Adi Mariana Waqa, the keynote speaker of a plenary on the theme of mission from the margins at the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME).
A Roman Catholic student of theology from Fiji, Waqa spoke on behalf of “24 indigenous disciples present at the conference who exist in one form or another in the margins of either their country, society, or culture”.
Calling for a revolutionary reform of Christian mission, she shared her understanding that mission now and into the future is lived and practiced at and from the margins.
“As church numbers decline in many first world nations, the margins are full of color, diversity, spiritual growth, and dynamic dialogue on theology and biblical hermeneutics”, she said.
Reflecting on the role of youth in the current framework of missionary work worldwide, she made an analogy with Jesus’ ministry at his own young age.
“Can you imagine the impact it had on me as a young indigenous person to discover that Jesus lived as a marginalized youth?”, she asked. “In this very conference, I dare to say that Jesus would definitely be a ‘youth’ here”, added Waqa.
The plenary was moderated by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, from the United Methodist Church and vice-moderator of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Waqa’s presentation was followed by testimonies from Greenland, United States of America, the Philippines, and Germany. The CWME goes on until 13 March, in Arusha, Tanzania.