Africa prepares to host Mission and Evangelism conference in changing continent

(Photo: WCC / Chris Black)Former South African President Nelson Mandela joins a South African choir at the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Harare, Zimbabwe that was held between December 3-14, 1998.

Representatives from the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches preparing for a key conference in Africa next year have acknowledged that the Church is growing on the continent, and that growth fastest in newer churches.

They focused on prevailing issues, such as: the future of the Church in Africa, governance, poverty, gender issues, youth bulge, environment and climate change.

"We recognized that there is numerical increase in the Church in Africa, which is a strength; the increase is mainly in the newer churches," they said in a statement released by the WCC.

"This is not to indicate that there is conflict between the newer churches and the older churches.

"However, we recognized that there are contradictions in telling the African Church story, with its ever-changing landscape in ideas, practices, and institutions. The ever-changing landscape of African Christianity impacts on ecumenism.

The statement was issued ahead of the March 8-13, 2018 Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Arusha, Tanzania.

They acknowledged the global event in ecumenical history and the need to make a concrete contribution to the content of the conference, includes both commitments from churches in Africa and calls to the ecumenical world.

Participants expressed serious concern on the issue of human dignity. It was highlighted as crucial for the Church in Africa to pay attention on safeguarding, knowing that human dignity is a gift from God.

The African Church needs to generate the message of hope and pass on to the next generations through the process of mentoring and discipleship, which then becomes a key global mission focus of the African Church.

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