The Evangelical Church of Westphalia (EKvW) in Germany and the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) hosted a digital international and ecumenical conference entitled "Mission today - facing the challenges of the 21st century" on May 28/29, 2021. The results will be incorporated into the debate on specifying today's understanding of mission at the digital EKvW Spring Synod from May 30 to June 2, 2021 - against the backdrop of social change and the question of the intercultural opening of the churches
Under the leadership of the Westphalian ecumenical department head and vice-moderator of the UEM, Oberkirchenrat Dr. Ulrich Möller, more than 200 participants from churches in Africa, Asia, the USA and Europe dealt with the current religious-cultural challenges and social developments, the different understandings of mission and the possibilities of communicating the Christian message in today's plural and secular society. In doing so, they provided important impulses for the upcoming discourse from different perspectives.
The basis for the discussions in interculturally composed workshops was a working paper prepared by a joint working group of the Standing Committee on World Mission and Ecumenism and the Standing Theological Committee of the Regional Synod. It refers to Eberhard Jüngel's statement "Mission is the heartbeat of the church" and the message of the German EKD Synod in Leipzig in 1999 "We are commissioned to show people the truth and beauty of the Christian message." Under the motto "Inviting, inspiring, evangelical," the theses presented provide argumentation aids for the church's mission. Among other things, the statements mentioned therein deal with God's mission, mission in the face of the challenges of modern society and in intercultural encounters, learning processes in worldwide partnership, mission based on partnership and equality as exemplified by UEM, and the dimensions of future participation in God's mission.
The fourth largest EKD regional church will discuss not only the changing understanding of mission but also the mission mandate derived from it: "The missionary mandate of the church obliges and encourages us to an inviting communication of the gospel. In listening, praying, and celebrating together, we set out ready to change and engage - especially in dialogue with people of other religions and worldviews. We want to show what we love and understand, what sustains us."
Martina Pauly (UEM spokesperson)
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