This is a 4 to 5 weeks cross-cultural mission program involving direct exposure to the realities of a world where poverty, pollution, deforestation, modern day slavery, class and caste systems, gender discrimination still exist. A specific location where such realities are prevalent will be selected for the program and the participants can expect ample opportunities to explore and reflect on the theological, socio-political and economic framework of these realities.
This program seeks to guide the participants to formulate solutions to social issues, learning from the advocacy efforts of the respective regions and churches and bringing that learning to bear upon their own churches. Participants are expected to share their insights, whether in relation to the context or helping those in the place they have visited.
Methodology : Face the Facts
- - Selective pre-reading materials before the mission trip.
- - Direct participation in the context of struggle.
- - Lectures and seminars on the history and sociology of the context.
- - Bibles studies and lectures on prophetic socio-political analysis.
- - Comparative reflection and critique of their own home context.
- - Final paper for publication via CWM website or communication team.
Read about the 2013 Face the Facts programme in the Philippines.
Read the reflection of the 2014 2014 Face the Facts participants
Oikotree comes about as the fruit of the vision of the Accra Confession (2004) and is a collaborative effort by Council for World Mission (CWM), World Council of Churches (WCC) and the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). It aims to create a movement for those seeking to live faithfully in the midst of economic injustice and ecological destruction. Oikotree advocates “Justice at the Heart of Faith”, seeks to pursue alternatives in response to socio-economic issues in various contexts and engages in difference areas of social justice issues. The name “Oikotree” is taken with reference to Revelations 22:1-2, that refers to “the tree of life” and “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” It is opened to individuals, churches, people’s movements and all who share a concern for justice and the healing of the nations.
CWM’s commitment to the Oikotree includes creating and sponsoring the website www.oikotree.org as a social platform for all persons to discuss, share and bring to focus the justice issues they are advocating for.
CWM is also one of the organizers for the Oikotree Global Forum which brings together different faith-based groups and church representatives for discussions, sharing on their representations and seeking support for each other.
The first Oikotree Global Forum was held in Arnoldshein, Germany in November 2010, where sixteen faith-based social movements came together to strategize for common actions and commitments in the shaping of alternatives to the dominant systems that continues to deny life. The final statement at the forum reflected a commitment to work together in building platforms of dialogue, reflection and activism for justice in the economy and the earth.
Since then, individuals, several faith-based movements and churches in the Americas, Palestine, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa have been coalescing under the Oikotree umbrella. Several workshops were held at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation and the World Social Forum. A roving theological faculty based on “Oikos Theology” has also taken shape.
The participants and staff representatives of CWM (Singapore and Africa) at the Oikotree Global Forum 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Photo: CWM Singapore
A second Oikotree Global Forum was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 3-8 March 2013. It brought together 60 participants from 19 countries, representing about 30 movements and churches, to further network, challenge, encourage and offer support to each other. In that week, the participants engaged themselves in constructive and lively discussions and conclusively formulated several strategies to bring changes, stand in solidarity with each other and to collaboratively advocate for justice issues. Some of the strategies included the following :
- Identify and support struggles, create spaces for discussions, mutual learning and joint action(s) with people’s movements as a faith imperative.
- Endorse and promote the Oikotree Movement, consolidate and share resources among network partners.
- Organize regular forums among network partners for discussions, exchanges, and refining strategies towards transformational changes in the society.
- Research, document and propose alternatives on social and ecological realities from gender/class/race perspectives, using multi-disciplinary approaches.
- Develop transformative, socialized and theological curricula to promote transformative education, capacity building, and raising awareness among network partners and the general public through trainings, seminars and the social media.
The Oikotree movement has markedly progressed to its present identity as a “movement of movements”, composing of the following working groups (2013):
- - Transformative theology working group;
- - Transformative education working group;
- - Joint-struggles working group;
- - Networking and communications working group;
- - Resource mobilization working group.
The Oikotree Movement is coordinated by the Oikotree facilitating group composed of convenors of the above five working groups, representatives from the three sponsoring organizations (i.e. WCC, WCRC and CWM) and a moderator.
For more information: http://www.oikotree.org/
 Excerpts from the Kairos Global Statement, revised by the Socio-Theological Working Group of the Oikotree Movement.
AFFIRMATION AND ADVOCACY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The exclusion of those who have often been placed on the margins of communities and societies is an issue of justice. The essence on any focus on justice is the relational nature of our engagement with the other. 15% or more of the world’s population are persons with disabilities (PWD). They have always been on the margins, accepted at times by their families but often treated with condescension within society.
The church, as a community among other things, is called to be committed to justice and therefore called to embrace and affirm the dignity of all who have been pushed to the margins in society. As a body called forth to seek “fullness of life through Christ for all creation,” CWM is taking a decisive step to begin the journey to advocate for the inclusion of PWD among its member churches.
The journey begins in a preliminary seminar held in Zambia in November 2013. The theme was “Liturgy, Theology and Disability – Reshaping the Conversation and Ethos”. In collaboration with resources from Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network (EDAN), perspectives of PWD in theology, mission, sociology and economics were presented and provided insightful and practical thoughts to the participants.
Taking the commitment further, a global conference on PWD was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July 2014. It brought together representatives from its 31 member churches to seek a common position and to formulate resolute actions in advocacy for PWD. The theme was “Moving beyond Accommodation towards Affirmation and Advocacy with and for People with Disabilities”. Contributions from resource personnel and participants resulted in the development of a guideline for churches to develop a framework of actions to further the advocacy. A conference statement was released and the guideline for affirmation and advocacy, namely “Statement of Affirmations”, will be put in print and released to churches by end of 2014. CWM as a community of churches will continue the journey with its member churches towards adopting a clear and unequivocal stance of engagement, embrace, inclusion and advocacy with and for PWD.
Diverse & Dependent by Design by Dr Mary Jo Iozzio
Worship & Inclusion by Dr Tabita Christiani
Edan Journey by Dr Samuel Kabue
Interpretation and Inclusive Theology- Reframing the Issues by Dr Samuel George
Islam & Disabilities by Dr Ro’fah Mudzakir
Disabilities by Rev Sia Siew Chin
Understanding Disability Theories & Their Implications by Ms Anjeline Okola Charles
CBM Moment by Dr Bill McAllister
Definitions, Etiquette, Terminologies by Ms Sebenzile
UN work, legislation & their implications by Ms Sebenzile Matsebula
CRPD implementation & monitoring by Dr Samuel Kabue
See Photos from Disabilities Preliminary Seminar, Zambia 2013.
See Photos from Disabilities Global Seminar, KL 2014.
Convention on Rights of PWD (CPRD)_ UNICEF
United Nations CPRD & Its optional protocol
Click here to see World Report on Disability