The pre-assembly event of the World Council of Churches’ Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) saw churches’ renewed commitment and different approaches to mission and evangelism in a context of rapid change in society, politics and church.

The discussions took place here on March 26,  with more than 200 participants gathered to develop a statement on mission and evangelism which will be presented at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea in 2013.

The day’s presentations focused on churches’ responses to the challenges posed by changing landscapes, addressing the theme “Winds of Change: Church on the move.”

Bringing a regional perspective from Latin America to the discussion on mission, Pentecostal missiologist and CWME commissioner Tito Paredes pointed out that economic and political contexts need to be considered as churches formulate their response on mission.

“Given the realities of poverty and the poor in our world today, particularly in the two thirds world, it is imperative that the integrity of mission actively work for the reduction of poverty,” said Paredes.

Speaking particularly about the churches in Latin America, Paredes said that “a collaborative and united effort should be sought among the Latin American churches and Christians of the worldwide church to communicate the whole gospel.”

“Our mission challenge is a historic opportunity to verbalize the perceptions and longings of a generation seeking an authentic spirituality,” said Melba Padilla Maggay from Diliman Bible Church in the Philippines.

“Religion must go beyond therapy and meeting the immediate need of psychological healing and emotional gratification, and return to the human quest for purpose, meaning and significance,” added Maggay.

Presenters who shared reflections on issues of migrants from a variety of Christian perspectives on the theme included the Rev. Rafaat Girgis of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).