Mission Crossroads

SUM 2017

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

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Mission Crossroads 5 partner churches across the world also have a role to play in supporting us as we discern and play a part in God's mission in our context? rough migration, the PC(USA) is a thoroughly global church, and while we have programs to receive the insights of our international partners, we have not created the space for them to be as engaged with us as we are with them. ere may have been a 180-degree turn in missiology, and even in our language, as we speak of mission in terms of partnership, but possibly there is more. Rather than giving and receiving, perhaps instead we should be thinking of how we share together in God's mission, and what sharing might look like in practice. In its latest statement on mission and evangelism, the World Council of Churches speaks of mission as "Together Towards Life," and comments: Mission has been understood as a movement taking place from the centre to the periphery, and from the privileged to the marginalized of society. Now people at the margins are claiming their key role as agents of mission and affirming mission as transformation. 4 e Council for World Mission (CWM), which was the successor body of the London Missionary Society but is now internationally governed with churches from the global South in the majority, echoes this in its 2010 eology Statement, Mission in the Context of Empire, where it describes partnership as not only CWM's way of working but also as an alternative paradigm to the prevailing forces of empire that oppress so many. Self-critically, the statement notes: Even though our self-understanding speaks of partnership and mutuality we still struggle to realise it in our life and witness. We must confess … we have been slow to share that which we still regard as our own … that we have been slow to address the inequalities and injustices in our midst, let alone the needs of our neighbours in the world … and that we have failed to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to all through each and so have not received the learning that these contradictions teach us about ourselves and our calling in the world. is must challenge us to re-engage with what it means to be partners in God's mission. 5 So, our journey does not stop with simply adopting the language of partnership; we need to be rethinking and reshaping our whole approach to mission and partnership. Some agencies now speak of "sharing people in mission" and "everywhere to everywhere," understanding that the crossing of national and cultural boundaries in mission also can be about equipping people for mission in their home context, so that mission service becomes a capacity-building vehicle where new approaches and ideas can be learned and applied. ese agencies think that it should not be limited to just North-South exchange (or even the reverse), but should enable a true cross-fertilization of mission skills and insights across the world — for example, within Asia or from Africa to Latin America to the United States. In these terms partnership can be truly transforming, calling us into new ways of looking at the world and ourselves, and understanding our mission calling afresh in today's world. In the past 180 years, we have come a long way, but there is still further to go to realize the full potential of being partners in God's mission with churches across the world, and to receive the gifts and challenges our partners have to share with us as we discern our part in God's mission today, both locally and globally. The Rev. Philip Woods is Presbyterian World Mission's area coordinator for the Middle East and Europe. CONTINUE THE LEGACY Learn more about partnership values in mission. pcusa.org/missionpartnership Footnotes 1. London Missionary Society, 1794, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Archives (https:// www.soas.ac.uk/library/archives/collections/missionary-collections/#CouncilforWorldMissionincorporatin gtheLondonMissionarySociety) 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ree-Self_Patriotic_Movement (accessed on 3/15/2017) 3. Transforming Mission, David Bosch, New York, 1991, pp.389ff. 4. Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscape, Ed. Jooseop Keum, Geneva, 2013, p.5 5. Mission in the Context of Empire, Council for World Mission, London, 2010, p.13 As an Orthodox priest looks on, co-moderator Jan Edmiston, right, lights a candle for peace in a Syrian Orthodox church in Homs, Syria. Philip Woods

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