The title of this year’s annual report is brief: “We live diversity”. In it, we present the diversity of the work of the United Evangelical Mission in the three regions and our holistic understanding of mission in greater detail. Important for facilitating this diversity is common learning, a process in which we realise that our faith is lived differently in different cultures without the unity of the faith being undermined.
The apostle Paul described this as nothing less than the strategy of his missionary work: in the Letter to the Corinthians, he recounts how he embarked on this in his encounters with different cultures, in order to proclaim the gospel. “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22, NIV)
At the UEM, in the various contexts in Africa, Asia, Germany – and recently even a little beyond Germany – we try to incorporate this idea and to develop, supervise, and evaluate our mutual concepts, programmes and projects in line with the pillars of our work. In the process of this work, the cultural diversity that people in our society always fear has turned out to be a blessing. We find new ideas and solutions when we open ourselves to shared learning and dare to do things that at first seemed unthinkable. Only through this courageously comprehensive thinking has the UEM been able to evolve from a classic mission society to an international missionary community.
Peter Sandner, who died last year at the age of 89, made a decisive contribution to this evolution. In his time as director, he succeeded in overcoming the missionary paradigm of sending and receiving. Today, the UEM is living the dream of an ecumenical fellowship in which all parties have the same rights and obligations. In the pages that follow, you will read about how this dream is unfolding in practice. Our work in the three regions embodies the pillars of the UEM – Advocacy, Diaconia, Development, Evangelism, and Partnership.
The report includes transparent financial accounting and an explanation of how the UEM is structured. You, the UEM members, have contributed to making this great diversity possible through your membership dues, church districts and congregations, initiatives and circles of friends, and many, many private donations. In the name of the UEM, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude.
Volker Martin Dally
General Secretary of the United Evangelical Mission