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Church's mission analysed at Finnish church consultation

Posted on: April 3, 2014 5:11 PM
Kyriaki Avtzi, the WCC’s programme executive for evangelism in Järvenpää, Finland
Photo Credit: Joanna Lindén-Montes

From the World Council of Churches

Embracing the holistic view of mission as “koinonia” (being in communion with God, all peoples and the whole of creation) has become more than bringing the good news to others, said Kyriaki Avtzi, the World Council of Churches (WCC) programme executive on evangelism, while addressing the theme “Your Kingdom Come” at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) partnership consultation.

“It is the eagerness to receive back the good news as the gospel of life is embedded in different contexts,” she said.

Avtzi shared these reflections on 2 April in her paper titled The Mission of the Church in the Changing Landscapes of the 21st century, presented at the ELCF consultation in Järvenpää, Finland.

Speaking of factors changing the global landscapes, Avtzi mentioned growth of churches in the global South-East, running parallel to an opposite trend in the North-West. With this phenomenon, she said, “new mission churches emerge introducing new expressions of witnessing to the gospel, through different cultural as well as theological interpretations of the Bible.”

Avtzi said that mission is “promptness to understand that God’s Spirit is indeed working across cultures, churches and religions”. Human beings come to life, are sustained in life, and anticipate eternal life because of the infinite love of a life-giving God whose mission extends beyond any human boundaries.

Avtzi went on to say, “The prophetic dimension of mission necessitates the building of relationships not only with God but also with people; irrespectively of their social, cultural, religious identities.”

The ELCF works with seven mission organizations that have more than three hundred missionaries serving around the world. The consultation gathered ELFC partner churches, representatives of ecumenical organizations like the WCC, the Lutheran World Federation, the Conference of European Churches and Finnish organizations.

Read full text of Kyriaki Avtzi’s presentation at the ELFC consultation

“Your Kingdom Come” ELFC partnership consultation 2014

Ecumenical perspectives on mission and unity