On June 2, 2021, the United Evangelical Mission - Communion of Churches in Africa, Asia and Germany (UEM) will celebrate its 25th anniversary as an international mission. With the decision of the General Assembly 25 years ago in Bielefeld-Bethel, the then "Vereinigte" became today's "Vereinte Evangelische Mission" (United Evangelical Mission) and the former partner churches in Africa and Asia became equal members in a previously German organization.
The transformation under the motto "United in Mission" meant an epochal change of perspective and led to today's forms of equal cooperation. This includes, for example, joint budget responsibility, decision-making or the filling of leadership positions with representatives of all member churches and, in addition, the implementation of jointly agreed programs on a trilateral level such as personnel exchange, scholarship offers, church partnerships or the volunteer program for young adults. To avert humanitarian emergencies resulting from violent conflicts, natural disasters or pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola or Corona, the international communion of churches supports the respective affected member on site through projects, emergency aid and appeals for donations.
With regard to the future tasks of the UEM, the acting Moderator of the UEM from Indonesia, Rev. Willem Simarmata, says: "We should use this anniversary as an opportunity to talk about the major challenges. For example, about the global economic inequality between developed and developing countries, or about the structural and personnel challenges within the international mission of UEM."
Referring to the German member churches, the General Secretary of the UEM, Rev. Volker Martin Dally, says: "The decision 25 years ago to share everything together and to be equally responsible has led to a new self-understanding of lived communion on all sides. But the potential to rethink our own structures from these experiences is far from exhausted."
The UEM in Germany today includes six Protestant churches and the von Bodelschwinghschen Foundations Bethel. Compared to 15 African and 17 Asian Protestant member churches from eleven countries, the German churches form the smallest regional group within the UEM.
The majority of the UEM staff work on the premises of the former Rhenish Missionary Society in Wuppertal-Barmen (Germany). In Africa and Asia, the UEM is represented by regional offices and staff in Tanzania and Indonesia, which are increasingly taking on tasks for the communion.
The anniversary celebrations of UEM in Germany have been postponed until 2022 due to Covid-19. The celebrations are to be held in Villigst next fall, following the General Assembly, which has also been postponed. African member churches will ring in a UEM week in their region on June 1, 2021, to mark the 25th anniversary. The member churches in the Asia region will celebrate the anniversary of the international mission on June 4, 2021, during a hybrid celebration in Jakarta (Indonesia). More information about these anniversary events is on the home page of our website under "Meet Us."
Detailed information about the origins and further development of the UEM can be read here.
Martina Pauly (Press Spokesperson)
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