Statement on EDINBURGH 2010 Centenary Celebrations
The General Council of Edinburgh 2010 met in Scotland from 15 to 17 April to further develop plans for the celebration of the centenary of the 1910 World Missionary Conference, which is widely recognised as the parent of the contemporary ecumenical and world missionary movement.
The Council has firmed up many of its plans in the shadow of the global economic crisis, but also in the days of rejoicing immediately around the celebration of Easter in our different traditions. The three key components to the 2010 celebrations have again been affirmed.
The first is the study process, which the Council recognises as the central part of its strategy to allow the impact of the centenary to spread far beyond one place and time. The study process has been developed globally around nine key themes relating to the challenges of the Christian Gospel to the realities faced by millions of believers in widely different contexts and cultures.
The second is a series of events around the world, which are being encouraged by the General Council but planned and executed locally, in which different church communities choose their own ways to mark the centenary. “This way of marking the 1910 Conference recognises and affirms the development of the Church around the world in the last 100 years,” says Andrew Anderson, the Council Chairman.
The third will be a four day event in Edinburgh itself. This will bring together some 200 delegates, when those taking part in the international study process will engage with representatives from the worldwide church to explore what challenges the study process may bring to the life of churches over the years to come. Then the final day will see a much larger gathering, of over a thousand people, designed to be a day of celebration, thanksgiving, penitence and re-commitment.
In all of the above the Council believes it is developing a process rather than just a programme - one that will be rooted in the life of churches all around the world. As plans have sharpened, the scale of the single event in Edinburgh itself has been reduced, to allow the impact of the process to take root more effectively everywhere else. There is now a structure in place that is theologically vibrant, intellectually credible, financially responsible, is rooted in the lives of ordinary people, and is one whose impact will be felt for many years to come, as we reflect on, and celebrate our core theme “Witnessing to Christ Today”.