Edinburgh 2010

Dear ###USER_name###,

26 days to go. In the Edinburgh office, we are impatiently counting down to the 2nd of June. Our email inboxes are full, the phone doesn't stop ringing, and "to do" lists grow on daily basis. In the midst of the common excitement of organising an international event, time for reflection is rare.

Yesterday, Sister Elizabeth from our Spiritual Life Team phoned me. She was standing on a field somewhere in Scotland with no access to a computer, trying to share with me this month's prayer. It was very windy where Elizabeth stood, and the connection broke down several times. Nevertheless, she managed to read out the prayer to me and I understood. Touched by scripture and prayer, I felt refreshed and motivated, and went back to answering the many emails from around the world.

This is the final regular edition of the Edinburgh 2010 newsletter before the June events commence. By the end of May we will send you a special edition on how to participate in the conference online. During the conference we will of course keep you up-to-date on what is happening in Edinburgh. Meanwhile, we would like to ask you, "What motivates you and sustains you in mission?", and "What is your message to the delegates?" Let us know by posting a comment on our website, or on our facebook group.

Jasmin Adam
Communications Officer

Edinburgh 2010 and its Influence on Latin America

By Rev. Dr. Carlos Ham

World Council of Churches Executive for Diakonia and Latin America-Caribbean


The current Latin American reality poses multiple challenges and opportunities to the Protestant churches, which try faithfully to carry out their transforming mission and evangelism task in the midst of the people.

There are increasing social, political and economic problems resulting from neo-liberal globalization, among other factors. Just to mention some: migrations (both internally and abroad); poverty, which has increased in the last two years (36.5 % of the population); unjust distribution of wealth; drug trafficking; human trafficking; insecurity in the region and the increase of US military bases; the exploitation of natural resources by foreign companies, at a high human and ecological cost; climate change and natural disasters, and domestic violence, among others. Some progressive governments are emerging in the region, but with little possibilities of success, due to corruption and structural deficiencies. Thus, one of the main questions raised by the Latin American churches is how these challenges affect the way we carry out the Missio Dei (God’s mission) in the continent. 

Historical Background

The World Missionary Conference in 1910, which met under the theme “the evangelization of the world in this generation”, marks the beginning of the contemporary ecumenical movement. Even though there were North American missionaries serving in Latin America among the delegates, the continent itself was excluded because it was considered to be already Christian or evangelized, due to the strong Roman-Catholic presence. Since these missionaries considered Latin America a pagan continent and therefore did not agree with this opinion, they organized a Conference of Foreign Missions in North America in March 1913 in New York. They founded the Committee of Latin American Cooperation (CLAC), which would take the responsibility to coordinate mission Congresses in Latin America.

The first such Congress was on Christian Work in Latin America and took place in Panama in February 1916. It was still considered as “foreign” since it was conceived and organized by missionaries and executives of the foreign mission boards. Afterwards the CLAC planned two other Congresses, one in South America and the other one for the Caribbean region. The former took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, in March 1925, but it did not really reflect an authentic Latin American identity since, again, it was sponsored by the North American mission boards. It was nevertheless a bridge between the Panama and the Havana Congresses.

The Havana Hispanic-American Evangelical Congress took place in June 1929, for the Caribbean churches as mentioned above. As the title suggests, this Congress opened a new chapter in the search for a Protestant Latin American identity, since it was designed and organized by Latin American leaders. Therefore, the importance of the Havana Congress is that it gathered for the first time Latin Americans as protagonists of the Christian Mission in the continent, without the North American tutelage, which took place in the previous congresses. Just as it occurred with the Edinburgh conference globally, the Havana Congress marked the beginning of the Latin American unity in mission, and laid the foundations for the Latin American missionary work present today.

To read the full article, click here.

What's New?

Follow the conference online

From 2-5 June 300 delegates from over 60 countries are meeting in Edinburgh to explore new perspectives on mission for the 21st century. For all those that can't be in Edinburgh, we will make the proceedings of the conference as accessible and transparent as possible. Papers, videos, photos and reports will be uploaded on our website during the event. Through our twitter feed and facebook group we hope to engage you in the live dicussions. The Sunday Celebrations on 6 June will be streamed live on our website from 3-5.30 pm BST. A special edition of this newsletter on how to participate online will be distritubted before the conference begins.


Tickets for Sunday Celebrations

On 6 June (3-5.30 pm BST) the Edinburgh 2010 Conference concludes with a celebratory service at the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh. We hope the historic site of the 1910 Conference will once more be filled with Christians from around the world who have come together to witness to Christ today.

Alongside the 300 delegates 900 local and international visitors have been invited to take part in this service. Guest preacher at the event will be the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu. The Archbishop will be joined by representatives of the Evangelical, Orthodox, Pentecostal, mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic Christian traditions. Delegates and visitors are welcome to attend the service in national dress.

A limited number of tickets (free of charge) is still available for both LOCAL and INTERNATIONAL visitors. To reserve a ticket please send an email to vol2010@cofscotland.org.uk. Tickets for visitors to the Sunday Celebrations will be sent out via email by the end of May. Delegates and media representatives automatically receive a ticket at registration.


Comments invited on Study Reports

Reports of the 9 study groups can now be downloaded from the Edinburgh 2010 website. You are invited to post comments on the reports and to discuss study themes, such as Foundations for Mission, or Christian Mission among other Faiths. Your comments will be valuable to study groups and delegates in preparation for the conference, and help them to develop their work further.

Study Process Update

The Study Process at the Conference

The Edinburgh 2010 study process has been working since 2008, and the 2010 conference in Edinburgh marks a new and important stage in it. At the conference those taking part in the international study process will engage with representatives from the worldwide church to explore what challenges the study process may bring to the life of churches over the years to come. 

The study process has been centred on 9 main themes, which are complemented by 7 transversal topics, and supplemented by regional, confessional and other study processes. Studies and consultations have taken place on all continents and the process is as inclusive as possible of churches and Christian mission networks. Further details, including many papers submitted, can be found on the study process section of the website.

Each of the groups working on the 9 study themes has produced a report. These, together with contributions on the transversals relating to women and the Bible, form the raw material for discussion at the conference. This has been published as Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ Today (Regnum Books, 2010), edited by Daryl Balia & Kirsteen Kim. Copies have been mailed to all conference delegates. The volume is also available for purchase from Regnum Books and Amazon. The full text is available for download (pdf file) on the website.

The aims of the study process at the conference will be accomplished through 9 timetabled sessions over the 3 full days at the Pollock Halls. These comprise 3 plenary sessions and 6 parallel sessions in which delegates will be divided into 3 groups.

The PLENARY SESSIONS, which will be posted as videos on the website, are as follows:

  • Plenary 1 (Thursday, 3 June): "Mission in long perspective". Keynote speaker: Dr. Dana Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, Boston University School of Theology.
  • Plenary 2 (Friday, 4 June 2010): "Mission worldwide". Four case studies: Rev. Dr. Lee Young-Hoon, Senior Pastor, Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul; Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, Senior Program Director for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations, National Council of Churches USA; Dr. Teresa Francesca Rossi, Associate Director, Centro Pro Unione, Rome; and Dr. Fidon Mwombeki, Executive Director, United Evangelical Misssion, Germany.
  • Plenary 3 (Saturday, 5 June): ‘Towards a common call’. A business meeting gathering consensus around a common call to be made at the following day’s celebratory worship service.

The PARALLEL SESSIONS will give opportunity for the material already disseminated to be subjected to rigorous critique from various transversal perspectives and engaged with by church and mission delegates from around the world and from various denominational perspectives. This will open up the study process and move it forward. The work done on each theme will be further developed and there will be cross-fertilization of themes. Two consecutive sessions will be allowed for work on each theme, and these will be arranged in three tracks according to the following table: 



Track 1

Track 2

Track 3

3 June



1. Foundations for mission

5. Forms of engagement

2. Mission among other faiths

4 June



8. Mission and unity

4. Mission and power

6. Theological education

5 June



9. Mission spirituality

7. Christian communities

3. Mission and postmodernities

Each theme will be approached in a different way, utilising different resource people representing transversals and regional and confessional studies. The aim of the parallel sessions is to debate and refine the key issues and priorities raised in the pre-conference report by hearing diverse perspectives and working in small groups. Delegates are expected to have read the relevant reports before coming to the conference and to bring their insights to share.

Issues and priorities arising from each track will be reported briefly in the final plenary by members of the conference listening group. Delegates will also receive a more detailed record of the proceedings. Inputs to the parallel and plenary sessions, and records of the discussion will be posted on the website and further online comment will be invited. Selected highlights of the conference study process, together with conference and online contributions which bring in new perspectives not already reflected in the preparatory volume, will be published in a conference report before the end of 2010.

                                                                                                                        Kirsteen Kim
Study Process Coordintor

Events & Opportunities

24/25/26 May 2010
Dana L. Robert: Frontier, Friendship, Fellowship - The Mission of World Christianity since Edinburgh 1910
Venue: Glasgow/Stirling/Edinburgh (UK)

The 2010 Alexander Duff and Drummond Trust Lectures will explore three themes important for the shaping of world Christianity since Edinburgh 1910 'frontier', 'friendship', and 'fellowship' and reflect on their continued significance for twenty-frist century mission. Dana L. Robert, Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission at Boston University School of Theology, is a leading historian of Christian mission, and keynote speaker at the Edinburgh 2010 conference.

  • Mission Frontiers from Geography to Justice - 24 May, 6 pm, The University Chapel, University of Glasgow
  • Friendship in the Creation of World Christianity - 25 May, 7 pm, St. Columba's Church, Stirling
  • Mission Visions of Worldwide Christian Fellowship - 26 May, 5.30 pm, Assembly Hall, The Mound, Edinburgh

For further information, download the event flyer, or contact Donald Smith at donald (at) scottishstorytellingcentre.com.


11 June 2010
Holistic Mission - Good news for the Poor and the Oppressed?
Venue: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS), Oxford (UK)

Arguably, holistic mission has been the most significant development in the church over the last 100 years. Different branches of the global church have reacted to the challenge in quite different ways: some stick tightly to the belief that mission is only about evangelism and church planting, some concentrate only on a social gospel, others wonder what all the fuss is about because they understand that Christianity is essentially an holistic activity about being Christ-like. For Edinburgh 2010 OCMS has been tasked with the challenge of developing an understanding of the place of holistic mission in the global church today.

To this end, OCMS is gathering together a group of practitioners/writers/academics to analyse how it has developed in different parts of the world in the last century and to engage with the underlying issues as they impact the church, para-church CNGOs, and the lives of individual Christians, internationally for the future. The discussions, which are designed to help form thinking for and around Edinburgh 2010, and which will focus around a series of writings that have been commissioned to form chapters of a companion volume, will be held at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS).  All who are interested and concerned about holistic mission are most welcome to join, and for those who are not able, the book will be published before the end of the year as part of the Edinburgh 2010 Publications Series. For more information please email Deborah Lake at OCMS, or download the event flyer.

New Mission Resources

Pre-conference Publication now available

Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ Today
Edited by Daryl Balia and Kirsteen Kim
(2010), ISBN: 9781870345774  

This volume, the second in the Edinburgh 2010 series, includes reports of the nine main study groups on different themes which will be used as the raw material for discussions at the conference in June 2010. Their collaborative work brings together perspectives that are as inclusive as possible of contemporary world Christianity and helps readers to grasp what it means to be ‘witnessing to Christ today’. 

To order Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ today, please visit the publisher's website or Amazon.co.uk. By kind permission of the publishers, Regnum Books, this book is also available as PDF download

Pray with us

You are invited to join in prayer with all those who look with faith and hope towards the events of Edinburgh 2010.


Take time to listen to the Word of God

The two disciples got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

Luke 24:33-36; 45-48


Take time to ponder that word and to pray

Lord Jesus Christ risen from the dead, thank you for your presence in the world.                                                           

Help those who assemble in the coming 2010 Conference in Edinburgh to experience your being among them as they talk together about all that has happened on the way.

Fill their lives with your peace.
Open their minds to understand the scriptures.
Strengthen them to commit themselves once more to carry your message to the nations.

Encourage them to lead others by word and example in fidelity to you
and enable us who listen in hope to follow on your way.

Lord in mercy here our prayer.

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