Writing in the November 2014 edition of the International Review of Mission (the WCC journal on mission) Prof. Dimitra Koukoura says, “Christ’s commandment for the evangelization of the nations, which also clearly applies to re-evangelization, reveals two aims: catechesis and baptism (Matt. 18:19). The first is the departure of the faithful from the community to meet the nations and pass on the good news: Christ God “has led us from death to life and from earth to heaven. The second is the voluntary entrance into the church of anyone who will believe in the life-giving truth.” Professor Koukoura has been a delegate at both the 2013 and 2014 LOI Consultations.
Professor Koukoura’s article, “Evangelism in ‘Christian’ Societies: An Orthodox Homiletic Approach” appears in the November 2014 edition of the IMR which takes up the theme of ‘Evangelism as Discipleship’. Guest editor Kyriaki Avtzi writes, “Evangelism and discipleship are intrinsically related, being at the heart of God’s mission and of the missional identity of every local church. Evangelism is itself the invitation to discipleship” and later, “The idea of ‘evangelism as discipleship’ points to and impels the rediscovery of God’s mission for the fullness of life. For evangelism to be transformative, it needs to embrace all the dimensions of our existence.”
The volume also includes interesting articles by Kenneth Ross (one of the key leaders of the Edinburgh 2010 process), Byung Joon Churg (reflecting on the growth and decline of the Korean Protestant Church), Judith Roberts (looking at how discipleship relates to marginalisation) and Brother Jasper of Taizé (on transmitting the message of the gospel to youth). There are also articles by other leading Roman Catholic (Stephen Bevans) and Orthodox (Kondothra George) scholars. Prof. Kondothra M George’s article develops an interesting Eucharistic Missiology which draws on historical precedent as well as his own context of South India.
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) reports that, “Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA recently met with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in Istanbul, Turkey. Together they discussed the current crisis and the plight of Christians in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East region. A specific emphasis of the conversation was on the importance of responding to the increasing number of refugees, ensuring their protection in the short-term and creating ways for them to later return to their homeland.”
Read the full report here.
We have just uploaded onto our website, as a resource, a link to a lecture given by Dr. Tim Grass, a member of our LOI Steering Committee, delivered recently at Spurgeon’s College, UK. The lecture on Evangelicals and Eastern Christianity starts with an historical overview of contacts between the two communities and moves on to look at the dynamics of these various encounters – curiosity, coming alongside, confrontation, church planting, conversation, cultural appropriation, cooperation. In response to questions (also on the audio file) Dr. Grass offers a few pointers to the future and suggestions for improved relationships. As a historian Dr. Grass brings a particularly helpful perspective to understanding how we got to where we are today in Evangelical-Orthodox relations. You can find the link on our Resources page but also access the audio file directly here.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland is inviting applications for its academic programmes in ecumenical studies, 2015-2016. This highly regarded institute offers a Complementary Certificate in Ecumenical Studies; a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ecumenical Studies; and a Master of Advanced Studies in Ecumenical Studies. Ecumenical learning at the Institute involves a close combination of academic study with experimental learning through life in an intercultural and inter-confessional student community. Thousands of women and men from all over the world and every Christian tradition have come to the Ecumenical Institute for academic studies. “Many have testified to life-changing experiences in this pioneering centre, or ecumenical laboratory”, says academic dean Rev Dr Dagmar Heller. For full details and application procedures read the WCC press release.
The LOI Steering Committee is pleased to be able to announce that its 2015 Consultation will be held in Finland at the invitation of the Orthodox Church of Finland and with the warm support of the Evangelical Alliance. Finland has the rare distinction of having two ‘state Churches’, Lutheran and Orthodox, and makes an ideal setting for our third LOI consultation.
We will be meeting from lunchtime on Tuesday 1 September until the evening of Friday 4 September 2014 at the Sofia Cultural Centre close to Helsinki (see map). The Sofia Cultural Centre is a comfortable and convenient venue for the 60-70 participants who are expected to gather for next year’s consultation which will build on the work done at St. Vlash, in Albania, in 2013 and 2014.
His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosius (Orthodox Church of Finland) expresses his warm welcome to Finland and an expectation that this consultation will be blessed by God. Participation will be by invitation only but those wishing to attend are invited to write to firstname.lastname@example.org (the LOI facilitator) to express their interest. Official invitations will be sent out in late January 2015 immediately after the next meeting of the LOI Steering Committee.
The Orthodox Mission Network (OMN) has just published its latest newsletter with information about Orthodox mission developments around the world. They are able to report the printing of the first Orthodox book in the local language in Vietnam as well as other books in the Philippines. In Kenya work continues with a secondary school and in India a village has been helped with access to clean water.
The OMN are also planning mission training in Albania next June. Read the full newsletter here.