Edinburgh 2010 participants issue call to common mission for global Christian community[Episcopal News Service, Edinburgh, Scotland] Indian dancers, an African-Scottish choir and songs from every continent greeted more than 1,000 people to Assembly Hall on the Mound in the Scottish capital June 6 for a 3-hour-long celebration that drew the Edinburgh 2010 missionary conference to a close.
Archbishop of York John Sentamu told the gathering during his sermon that "every Christian is a witness ... and as a witness our task is to take people to Jesus and leave them there with him ... For the world at this moment, Jesus is on trial, and what you will do and say will make the most profound difference to those who are judging Christ now.
"As leaders in mission, we must help our churches by acting prophetically, speaking out for freedom against injustice," Sentamu said.
About 300 conference participants represented Christian denominations from around the world, including Anglicans, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Pentecostals, Protestants and Roman Catholics as well as members of independent and uniting churches.
They adopted a call to common mission at the conclusion of the four-day gathering recognizing the need for "authentic dialogue, respectful engagement and humble witness among people of other faiths -- and no faith -- to the uniqueness of Christ."
The gathering marked the centenary of the 1910 World Missionary Conference, an event that is widely regarded as a major milestone in the modern ecumenical movement. One hundred years on, participants gave thanks for a much more diverse and representative gathering.
"We are called to ongoing cooperation, to deal with controversial issues and to work towards a common vision," the mission statement said. "We are challenged to welcome one another in our diversity, affirm our membership through baptism in the One Body of Christ, and recognize our need for mutuality, partnership, collaboration and networking in mission."
The Anglican Communion was represented by nine official delegates -- six of whom are young leaders -- who came from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America.
Earlier in the week, some of the Anglican delegates told ENS that the gathering promises to be a pivotal moment for the global Christian community in discerning its future and exploring how different denominations can work together in partnership.
"I expect we will begin to see a Christian identity emerge out of this conference that will transcend what we've been before ... This is really building the relationships that will carry the worldwide church to a new level," said the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, national indigenous bishop for the Anglican Church of Canada.
An earlier ENS article, "Anglicans express hopes for global Christianity as missionary conference opens in Edinburgh," is available here.