The Rheinische Missionsgesellschaft (Rhenish Mission Society) was founded on 23 September 1828. On 7 October 1829 the first Rhenish missionaries reached South Africa and began their work with the founding of the first Rhenish mission station. In memory of their homeland in Germany they called this Wupperthal.
From there the mission soon moved to today's Namibia, where it began its work in 1842. Mission areas in other countries were added in the following years, such as Indonesia in 1836 and China in 1847. Three member churches of the VEM call themselves "Rhineland".
There was a first meeting of the three Rhenish churches as members of the United Evangelical Mission. In Wuppertal and Düsseldorf representatives of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, the Rhenish Church in South Africa, the Chinese Rhenish Church and UEM met. Together with the Archives and Museum Foundation of UEM, which administers the historical heritage of the Rhenish Mission, they discussed the identity of the Rhenish churches in their origins and their developments. Similarities and differences were described in terms of mission history and theology. A boat tour across the Rhine was a symbolic act of unification.
The Rhenish Church in South Africa had invited to a conference in Cape Town. Representatives of the Rhenish Churches of the UEM exchanged views on the significance of the heritage of the Rhenish Mission for the current work of the Rhenish Church in South Africa. In a final document, a research process was agreed upon, which is to work through the history of the Rhenish Church in South Africa. A symbolic act was the visit of the first mission station of the Rhenish Mission in Wupperthal in the ceder mountains.
"The Church has settled on the Rhine and has sown its seed in the world." This verse of a song of the Chinese Rhenish Church refers to the development of the mission work of the Rhenish Mission. At their meeting the representatives of the Rhine Churches of the UEM dealt with the deepening of their partnership, common projects and the awareness as Rhine Church to be part of a global movement. A symbolic act was the trip to mainland China and the place where the work of the Rhenish Mission in China began.
(Text excerpts from the exhibition "Rhenish to the World")