HAVANA, Cuba—On September 17, 2016, a select group of Commissioners of the World Council of Churches “Commission on World Mission and Evangelism” (CWME) met in Havana, Cuba to commence the work on one of the Commission’s specific working groups – Evangelism as Authentic Discipleship. Vanna Kitsinian, Esq., a Commissioner of the CWME, represented the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia. During the course of the 5-day meeting, the nearly 10 Commissioners and experts that had gathered from around the world and representing various church denominations commenced their work in the spirit of ecumenical fellowship.
The contemporary missionary movement has been one of the major streams fostering ecumenism ever since the World Mission Conference in Edinburgh in 1910. When the International Missionary Council (IMC), one of the outcomes of Edinburgh, merged with the WCC in 1961, the programmatic work and responsibility of the IMC became entrusted to the WCC and a three-fold structure was created within the WCC, which includes: 1) a Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, 2) a Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, and 3) a staff group working on matters related to CWME. Kitsinian is a Commissioner on the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, and part of a special working group within the Commission that focuses on evangelism.
The next World Mission Conference is slated to take place in March 2018 in Tanzania, where more than 700 delegates from churches worldwide are expected to gather for the event hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The working group gathered in Cuba were tasked with brainstorming, developing, and producing study material that would be used at the World Mission Conference in Tanzania, as well as accompany the work of evangelism up until the WCC’s next General Assembly in several years. Specifically, the Commissioners worked on developing the theme of the upcoming World Mission Conference which is “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship,” developing content for the theme focusing on transforming discipleship, and developing the overall theme within an African context. The entire CWME commission is comprised of some 25 members, coming from WCC member churches, mission bodies affiliated to the CWME conference and representatives of the wider ecumenical movement. Roman Catholics, evangelicals and Pentecostals are full members of the CWME commission and participate in its activities.