The General Assembly of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) in Parapat, Indonesia today decided to accept the South African church "Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa" and the Indonesian church "Gereja Kalimantan Evangelis" as full members. The legal validity of the admission of the "Rhenish Church South Africa" already decided in 2016 was obtained with an amendment of the constitution. Thus the international communion of churches grows to a total of 39 members, 38 churches and the "von Boldeschwinghschen Foundations Bethel".
The 66 delegates from Africa, Asia and Germany also agreed on a number of amendments to the constitution and above all on an extension of the legislative period from 4 to 6 years after a one-year transitional period starting in 2021, the 25th anniversary year of the international UEM. This leaves sufficient time for the implementation of the international work. Since the General Assembly will in future be convened every three years and no longer every two years, this decision will also result in savings.
Other resolutions dealt with the strengthening of the international volunteers programme, especially in a South-South direction, and the need for international and regional workshops to promote gender justice, especially in patriarchal societies within the international UEM community. In addition, supporting measures for the ordination of women within the East Congolese Baptist Church in the centre of Africa, which is the only UEM member to have denied ordination to women so far, are to be promoted.
Furthermore, it was decided to focus evangelism work on the target group of young adults in all three UEM regions in order to increase the attractiveness of the church for young people. The dialogue with Islam, which has been proven for years, is to be continued.
With a view to international partnerships, contacts are to be established with European partners. In addition, new forms of partnership such as trilateral and institutional partnerships are to be further developed and implemented. The theme proposed for the next Partnership Prize was "The joy of partnership".
The delegates also proposed the motto for the next Assembly in 2021, which, with reference to Matthew 5:13 and Psalm 34:14, reads: "Being the salt of the earth. Together against violence and extremism and for peace, justice and reconciliation".
Dr Martina Pauly