'Edinburgh 1910 Conference kicked off modern ecumenical movement'

By: Dibin Samuel
Wednesday, 2 June 2010, 13:36 (IST)
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The 1910 World Missionary Conference was a starting point of the modern ecumenical movement, says an Indian leader who will be part of the centenary celebrations at Edinburgh, UK.

"Today many ‘movements’ have become ‘monuments’, however the 1910 Conference made remarkable progress quantitatively and qualitatively, extensively and intensively," said Rev. Vineeth Koshy, Secretary of Commission on Youth of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).

"Ecumenism and Mission activities have now moved away from the mere fringes of proselytizing and baptizing to greater and noble areas of work and study, thanks to the engagement of many creative thinkers, enthusiastic ecumenists and committed missionaries," he told Christian Today.

He notes that ecumenism and mission have received an overwhelming barrage of responses. "Initially and even now a large majority of population is negative, skeptical and pessimistic about the whole ecumenical and missionary enterprise and endeavors."

The youth leader suggests a well-informed, deeply-reflected and dispassionate study of the ecumenical and missionary movements for a balanced and positive assessment on apprehending the contributions of these movements.

The Edinburgh Missionary Conference was held June 14 to 23, 1910 and gathered about 1,200 representatives. It was seen as the formal beginning of the modern Protestant Christian ecumenical movement.

Hundred years after the event, churches will celebrate June 2-6 the success of that historic event. About eleven Indian leaders have been invited for the Conference. Over 300 delegates from over 60 countries and 50 denominations will participate in the event.

Says Koshy, Edinburgh 2010 is surely not an ultimate answer for any of the present ecclesial, missiological or ecumenical issues and concerns.

"It is rather a humble attempt to reflect, pool together the perspectives and resources of youth, women, and subaltern voices, provide guidance, stimulate reflection, and encourage common action by the Churches and Ecumenical Movements to think and act creatively towards God’s mission."

The Centenary Celebration of the 1910 Conference, he asserts, gives a unique occasion to celebrate ecumenical unity, mapping ecumenical mission mandate, understand the challenges and opportunities faced by the Churches and Ecumenical Movements in the contemporary world.

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