World Council of Churches mission journal focuses on assembly theme of reconciliation

"Current Dialogue" launch event, Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, 7 February 2020, Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

The latest issue of “International Review of Mission,” the twice-yearly journal of the Word Council of Churches (WCC) on mission and evangelism, looks toward the WCC’s 11th Assembly taking place in 2022 in Germany on the theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”

“Is there an assembly theme that could be any more thoroughly a Christological, and hence missiological, statement?” asks editor Risto Jukko, director of the WCC’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, in the editorial to the issue on the theme “Reconciliation as Expression of Christ’s Love.”

Among the authors of the issue, Michael Biehl introduces the theme from the perspective of mission as reconciliation, as formulated in ecumenical and missiological discussions since the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism conference in Athens in 2005. Tormod Engelsviken places the message and ministry of reconciliation in its biblical context and contemporary missional application, arguing that there is an eschatological hope for a final reconciliation, where relationships to God, other human beings, and a recreated world will be renewed. Petros Vassiliadis reminds readers how mission is ecumenical in nature and the essential role of reconciliation for mission in the understanding of the Orthodox Church and in Eastern Christianity in general.

Other articles are more clearly focused on reconciliation in particular contexts or related to specific people. These include the articles by Tinyiko Maluleke on forgiveness and reconciliation in the life of Desmond Tutu; Atola Longkumer, writing on the continuing project of reconciliation between Christian mission and the Indigenous peoples of Indo-Myanmar; Lesmore Gibson Ezekiel, who focuses on Mission-African approaches to mission and reconciliation; and Francis Anekwe Oborji’s discussion of the African Palavar model of reconciliation and mission.

This is the first of four special issues of “International Review of Mission” dealing with the theme of the WCC’s 2022 assembly – the first two focus on “mission and reconciliation,” while the following two will be concerned with “mission and unity.”

In a section on “Documentation and Experiences,” Kirsten van der Ham and Catharina Margaretha (Geke) van Vliet write on Experiencing Ecumenism in an International Theological Exchange Programme (available in Open Access). The issue also includes a selection of book reviews.

“International Review of Mission” appears twice a year and is published by the WCC in partnership with Wiley, the Oxford-based books and journals publisher.