Commission on World Mission and Evangelism Meets in Manila
His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, as appointed by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, joined other Orthodox Church delegates with more than 200 participants from around the globe, for an event of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) in Manila, the Philippines. Its aim is to rethink, in terms of Trinitarian Theology, mission and evangelism, developing a draft of the WCC statement on mission and evangelism that succeeds a statement of thirty years ago.
Hosted by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), the event was held from 22 March to 27 March 2012, focusing on the theme “Together towards life: mission and evangelism in changing landscapes”. Participants analyzed the draft statement on mission and evangelism which will be presented at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea in 2013.
The WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said that the statement on mission and evangelism will contribute greatly to the WCC Assembly theme “God of Life, lead us to justice and peace”. In his opening address, he stated that “the church has a mission to recognize and empower the marginalized as subjects of mission and not as objects only. Those on the boundaries are the frontiers in mission who can provide a vantage point for a new mission thinking that generates creative alternatives”.
Reflecting on mission and evangelism in light of Scripture, His Grace Bishop Irinej offered, how “two by two, it was that He sent them into the world to heal the sick and to proclaim the Kingdom of God (cf. Lk. 10:1-9): ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. . .’ (Matt. 28:19-20). And precisely in response to that very mission (ảποστολή) of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, we are commanded to do His will in keeping His word, as ‘the word which you hear is not mine’, says the Lord, ‘but the Father’s who sent me’ (Jn. 14:24).”
On Sunday, 25 March, the Orthodox delegates joined His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios, Archbishop of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Annunciation Orthodox Parish in Paranaque City, Manila. The church with its worshipping congregation of Filipino Christians, young and old, filled the church, not only with their prayerful presence, but also with their heartfelt, angelic singing. The Ambassador of Greece to the Philippines was also present for patronal feast and the celebration of Greek Independence Day. Twelve years ago, His Grace Bishop Irinej participated in the consecration of this same church at the hands of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.