Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Report of the Cevaa, Cwm, and Uem Joint-Consultation [*]

Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Report of the Cevaa, Cwm, and Uem Joint-Consultation [*]

Article excerpt

WUPPERTAL, GERMANY, 1-6 FEBRUARY 2000

I INTRODUCTION

1. The purpose of the consultation

The Joint Meeting of CEVAA, CWM and UEM is an outcome of a meeting during the World Council of Churches (WCC) assembly at Harare in December 1998. The three leaders of the respective organizations met and dreamed of closer cooperation between the three organizations, which have attempted to live out the principle of partnership in mission. Though there are similarities in the ways in which all three organizations have tried to put into practice the insights on mission emerging from the ecumenical movement, each organization has done it in its own way. The cultural roots of the missionary bodies to which all three organizations owe their origin and the cultural mix of churches in the organizations have played a part in making each organization distinct. The consultation decided to share evaluations of each organization's current mission engagement with an aim to:

1. Learn from and challenge each other

2. Give fresh impulses to the ecumenical movement

3. Identify areas for cooperation

The consultation believed that good ideas in mission should not only be relevant but also be translatable into action.

2. The process of the consultation

As preparation for the consultation, several documents were prepared and translated into the two official languages of the consultation, English and French. The documents mainly contained the history of development of the organizations, the structures of operation and the programme activities. Three main areas were considered:

* How does our organizational structure enable power sharing and the participation of member churches in planning and discharging the mission of the church?

* What are the principles for financial cooperation in each of the three organizations?

* How have we helped our member churches to be missionary churches (exchange of personnel, theological animation, joint programmes/regional empowerment).

Three persons were appointed to collate and critically reflect on each of the three specific areas, and make presentations. The presentations were followed by plenary discussions. All participants were then divided into four small groups to reflect on four major questions that emerged through the discussions. Two key theological presentations provided further input and challenges. After further discussion in plenary, the groups presented their recommendations. The consultation benefited from the interaction and participation of all participants. The instant translation facilities were of great help. Many mission-related topics and burning issues at the local, regional and global levels were touched upon, but not all could be included in the report. This report is neither the minutes nor the full record of the event. It contains mainly the priorities that the participants themselves identified for pursuance by the three organizations, which are looking forward to closer cooperation in order to make their speci fic contributions to the global ecumenical movement.

II FINDINGS OF THE CONSULTATION

A. Areas of similarities and differences in the experiences of the three organizations

1. Similarities

All three organizations acknowledge their indebtedness to the ecumenical movement. The former missionary societies, which gave birth to the organizations, went through major theological and structural changes. They implemented the principles of partnership in the context of world mission, and became communities or communions of churches in and for mission. Thus there are similarities in the fundamental principles which gave birth to the three organizations.

Theologically speaking, the mission principles of the organizations reflect the themes and priorities of the global "ecumenical" or "conciliar" movement and its missiological insights. …

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