Church Bodies Propose World Mission and Evangelism Conference

A global conference on Christian mission was proposed for late 2011 by a commission of the World Council of Churches.

The Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) – composed of delegates from WCC member churches as well as from the Roman Catholic Church and several other non-member Christian bodies – recommended that the next world conference on mission and evangelism take place during a period when the ecumenical body will be celebrating many landmark events.

During discussions, the group noted that it will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 – considered by many to be the starting point of the modern ecumenical movement – in June 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Therefore, a mission conference in late 2011 would avoid diverting energy and attention from the centennial celebration and allow time "so that we can digest what we learn in 2010 and apply it to the ecumenical agenda going forward," said Nayiri Baljian, an Armenian Orthodox representative of CWME in the "Towards Edinburgh 2010" General Council, according to a WCC report.

In addition, a mission conference in 2011 will also be strategic for discussion purposes as the WCC marks the end of its program "Decade to Overcome Violence" (2001-2010) with an international ecumenical peace convocation in the spring of 2011. A mission conference following the event provides a setting to discuss related topics.

Looking ahead, the Tenth Assembly of the World Council of Church will most likely be held in 2013. CWME representatives noted that a mission conference in 2011 will offer the WCC assembly agendas for ecumenical mission and evangelism that can be incorporated in its Assembly gathering in 2013.

The 50th anniversary of the CWME will occur in 2011, another reason to hold the mission conference that year.

CWME's recommendation for a 2011 conference awaits action by the WCC central committee which has power to decide the event schedule.

The WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism was created through a 1961 merger between the International Missionary Council (established following Edinburgh 1910) and the WCC.

The last world mission conference was held near Athens, Greece, in 2005.