The Council for World Mission (CWM) held its Board Meeting in Durban, South Africa, from 13-14 November 2023. The meeting brought together Board Members and management staff to discuss and deliberate on issues facing CWM.
The meeting also created a special opportunity for Board Members and staff to visit and worship at the North Durban Presbyterian Church and Groutville Congregational Church on 12 November.
The two-day meeting commenced with an Opening Worship led by CWM Moderator, Rev. Lydia Neshangwe, who preached from Matthew 25:14-30. The chapter recounted the parable of the faithful servants who multiplied the talents given to them by their Master, save one who was admonished. It illustrated the call to the Church to always be fruitful in carrying out God’s mission.
Rising to Life in a Post-Pandemic World
Following Rev. Neshangwe, CWM General Secretary, Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, delivered his report that illustrated the various CWM activities between June and October 2023.
Rev. Dr Keum opened his report with an observation that a beleaguered post-pandemic world is once again besieged by a growing number of military conflicts and a radically reshaped new world order. He pointed out that the latest slew of armed crises wrought by global empires have threatened to destabilise communities and further exploit and oppress marginalised communities to the benefit of a few.
In the face of global fear and fury, Rev. Dr Keum drew the Board’s attention to a yearning of apocalyptic faith that cries to God to meet and answer a world embroiled in deep crisis. He emphasized the point that the upcoming CWM Assembly 2024 must be a kairotic moment not only for CWM, but also for its member churches and ecumenical partners.
“We need to make our assembly a kairotic moment of the re-envisioning of the missional movement so that we can transform the current crisis into an opportunity for a movement to ‘Rise to Life’ together!” said Rev. Dr Keum.
Subsequently, Rev. Dr Keum also detailed various other key CWM events and programmes such as the global launch of the Transformative Ecumenism (TE) movement in Kenya, the re-launching of the Training-in-Mission (TIM) programme that was cancelled during the pandemic, and the global consultation on Interfaith Eco-spiritualities held in UK last month.
He also highlighted the CWM Partners in Mission (PIM) Global Gathering that was held in September. The gathering was brought forward from its planned meeting in 2026. Organised in Georgetown, Guyana and hosted by the Guyana Congregational Union (GCU), the meeting brought together 18 mission partners for a week of spiritual encouragement, renewal, and recharge.
The APG Report on the CWM Assembly 2024
In lieu of the upcoming CWM Assembly that will be held in Durban from 12-19 June 2024, the Assembly Planning Group (APG) delivered a report to the Board that highlighted various approved logistical arrangements such as event venue, logo, and working groups.
The APG unveiled the sub-themes of the Assembly that will support the main theme of “Rise to Life: Together in Transformation”. They are “Transforming Power”, “Revisioning Mission”, and “Building Life-Flourishing Communities”. The sub-themes will help to structure the daily Assembly sessions and messages.
Board Approval and Endorsement
The Directors approved an updated MOU with the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) for the period of 2024-2025, following the conclusion of the previous MOU for the period 2019-2023. The MOU reaffirmed CWM’s commitment to support the WCRC’s justice work from January 2024 to December 2025.
Meanwhile, the CWM Statement on “CWM Demands Immediate Ceasefire in Palestine, Restoring Peace with Justice” received endorsement from the Board.
Elder Lim Kar Hor, Director of East Asia, closed the meeting with a prayer thanking God for the fruitful meeting. The next Board Meeting will be hosted by the United Church in the Solomon Islands, and will take place from 25-28 February 2024, in Honiara, Solomon Islands.