The Council for World Mission (CWM) hosted its first Communications Consultation in Singapore on the 19th and 20th January 2015, focusing on the theme Engagement and Advocacy in the context of Empire. The theme is drawn from CWM’s theology statement, which names Empire* as the context within which it understands itself to be engaged with God’s mission. Attracting communication practitioners, leaders and advocates from across the six regions of CWM – Africa, Caribbean, East Asia, Europe, Pacific, South Asia, as well as global mission partners – the consultation explored ways to live out God’s mission in the digital age, learn from the experiences of each other in the field of communications and create a network of communicators who can work together to achieve the same goals.
Rev. Dr. Collin Cowan, General Secretary of CWM, in welcoming the members of the consultation urged them to look beyond the methodologies and means of communication to the message of “healing and hope for a battered, broken and distorted world”, hope in the God of liberation, who is committed to freeing a groaning creation. Citing the consultation as a groundbreaking one for CWM and seeking the critical input of the global gathering, the General Secretary said: “If the Church would dare to claim itself called to be followers of Jesus we can consider no other mission (other than healing and hope) as authoritative and authentic”.
In her keynote presentation, Rev. Dr. Karin Achtelstetter, General Secretary of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), called the Christian community to take seriously the urgency of communicating human dignity and advocating for communication rights of all. Inspiring and provocative presentations, over the 2-day period, provided space for debate and discussion around critical issues within the area of communications. Among the issues discussed were “Engagement and Advocacy in the digital space”, “Initiatives in Political Communication”, “The Power of Community Communication”, “Communication for the Youth”, “The Challenges of Mass Communication”, “Conversations on Advocacy, Social Justice and Social Media” and “Alternative forms of Communication”.
The CWM communications policy, designed to express spirituality, enable sharing, affirm justice and challenge injustice, enable participation, celebrate diversity and build connectedness, led the members of the consultation to create meaningful linkages with CWM’s vision of Fullness of life through Christ for all creation and identified practical ways to move forward the communication agenda of CWM.
The consultation brought to light the urgency of CWM living out the core callings of its communications policy as a way of claiming its call to live and share hope in a world of despair; to challenge fierce injustice with peace and justice; and to affirm that there can be no compromise of the gospel in the way we communicate across the various platforms available to us. We agreed that such communication should ultimately lead to the experience of life in all its fullness, signaling our participation in Jesus’ mission and sharing in the fulfillment of the vision for which he lived and died.
*A coming together of economic, cultural, political and military power in our world today that constitutes a reality and a spirit of lordless domination, created by humankind, yet enslaving simultaneously.