CWM Appoints Rev Dr Jooseop Keum as General Secretary

by Cheon Young Cheol

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that at a Special Members’ Meeting, held on 31 March 2021, Rev Dr Jooseop Keum was appointed as the next General Secretary of Council for World Mission (CWM).  Rev Dr Keum will succeed Rev Dr Collin Cowan and assume office on 1st July 2021.  Rev Dr Cowan leaves CWM having completed two successful terms of service.

Dr Keum is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, and currently serving as the Distinguished Professor of World Christianity at the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary and Director of the Korea Institute for Future Ecumenism. He comes to CWM with a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for global mission and ecumenism, amassed over 25 years of working in leadership roles in various ecumenical bodies, CWM member churches, and academic institutions. Not completely new to CWM, Rev Dr Keum served the organisation as the Executive Secretary for Mission Programme from 2003 to 2007. Thereafter he answered the call to serve as the Director of Commission on World Mission and Evangelism at the World Council of Churches.

Rev Dr Keum comes to this leadership position at a Kairos moment for mission engagement in the wake of an unprecedented shake-up in the global missional landscape.  As CWM looks to the future, the Board is confident that Rev Keum is uniquely equipped and ready to lead this extraordinary mission organisation, working at the cutting edge of modern mission, especially in light of the CWM 2020-2029 Strategy Framework – the roadmap for the prophetic journey to be pursued.

“The successful outcome of the search process during this Easter season is a reminder of the power of the Holy Spirit who empowered and enabled the process to be done with energy, dedication and perseverance in the current unfavourable and pandemic-ridden global environment. We give all glory and honour to God for the progress and completion of this process with the outcome of a General Secretary-elect” said CWM Moderator, Rev Lydia Neshangwe.

In response to the news of his appointment, Rev Dr Keum said, “It is my honour to be called by the member churches to lead CWM as its General Secretary. I sincerely appreciate their support and trust in my experience and leadership in the world mission. I was formed, developed and matured within the CWM missional perspective and praxis since my youth. Having been inspired by, journeyed with, and contributed to the missionary movement for the last three decades, I respond to this call based on my faith in the missionary God. Indeed, the world has been facing various challenges, many of which can be addressed with a shared vision, deeper commitment, stronger cooperation, and mutual partnership among the churches and ecumenical partners. We are called to live in the light of the resurrection, which offers hope-filled possibilities for transformation in the pandemic-stricken world. Therefore, we are called together towards our vision of life-flourishing communities.”

“I am delighted that, after a healthy and robust process of discernment, CWM has called Rev Dr Jooseop Keum to be its next General Secretary. Dr Keum comes to this role at a strategic moment in time. The Covid-19 pandemic is only a glimpse into the pandemics that plague the global community dividing the peoples of the world and destroying the environment”, said Rev Dr Cowan, the outgoing General Secretary. “Our brother, Jooseop, he continued, “is rightly placed to lead CWM into this next phase of the prophetic journey, with our vision, ‘Life-flourishing communities: living out God’s promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth’. His sensitive pastoral heart, passion for justice, commitment to the ecumenical movement and love for the Church are among the gifts he brings that will serve to advance the Mission of CWM for such a time as this. It is my great joy to pass the baton of leadership to him, with my prayers and best wishes.”.

Dr Keum received both his PhD in Mission and Ecumenism and MTh. in World Christianity from the New College, University of Edinburgh; his MDiv. in Ministry from Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary; and his BA in Christian Education from the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary.

The entire CWM family looks forward to welcoming the Rev Dr Jooseop Keum as its next General Secretary.


Media Contact:

Ms Fiskani Joy Nyirenda, Mission Secretary for Communications,

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