Mission and church unity – how do they relate?  Come and discuss at March 7 Mission Thursday

The March 7 Mission Thursday will discuss how global mission relates to church unity.  How have people in mission experienced Christian diversity?  Have some mission efforts fostered mutual understanding?  Have some mission efforts promoted disunity?  How can global mission help fulfill Jesus’ prayer “that they all may be one”?

A panel will discuss these questions at 1pm Eastern Time on Thursday, March 7, on Zoom.  Register here on Eventbrite for this free webinar, which is open to the public and sponsored by the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN).

Panelists will include the Rev. Walter Brownridge, who served as a missionary in Cape Town, South Africa; the Rev. Dr. Helen Van Koevering, who served in Mozambique; the Rev. Paul Rajan, with experience in India, New Zealand and Polynesia; Ms. Molly O’Brien, with experience in Central America; and the Rev. Dr. Titus Presler, with mission experience in India, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

This Mission Thursday arises out of a discussion that the GEMN Board had about the Lambeth Call on Christian Unity.  In this Call the 2022 Lambeth Conference reaffirmed the 1920 Lambeth Conference’s call for “the full organic unity of the Church,” regretted how progress toward such unity has slowed in recent decades, and declared that “the disunity of the Church is a continuing and damaging wound in the body of Christ.”

The March 7 panelists are members of the GEMN Board who participated in the recent discussion of this Lambeth Call.  They will share from their missional experiences of Christian unity and disunity and then invite questions and discussion from attendees.

Historically, it was the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, that catalyzed the modern ecumenical unity when it established the Commission on Faith and Order, which gave birth to the World Council of Churches in 1948.  South Asian Anglicans played a major role in overcoming denominational divisions inherited from missionaries to found of the united churches of South Asia which unified multiple denominations into the Church of South India, the Church of North India, the Church of Pakistan, and the Church of Bangladesh.

As of 2024, the world’s over 8 billion people include 2.6 billion Christians, the largest religious group.  1.3 billion of the Christians are Roman Catholics, and among the rest, including the Anglicans, there are 45,000 denominations, up from 33,000 in 2000.  Thus the Lambeth Call to Christian Unity comes amid continuing and growing multiplication of Christian groups.

Alongside the mandate of full visible organic unity, the Lambeth Call says that “Anglican Churches can learn from other Churches, communions and traditions and, in learning, receive gifts of grace.”  It calls on Anglicans “to work with our brothers and sisters in other Churches in the mission of proclaiming the good news of Christ and responding to the needs of the world.”

The GEMN Board’s discussion of the Call on Christian Unity was one of a series of discussions in which, at its monthly meetings, Board members have discussed each of the Lambeth Calls in succession, including the ones on Discipleship, Mission and Evangelism, the Environment and Sustainable Development, Human Dignity, and Interfaith Relations.


Posted in Christian Unity, Ecumenism, Mission Practice, Mission Thursday.