Mission Council of EBM INTERNATIONAL - Stories of the Mission Field
The Goal is Equality!
This year’s EBM INTERNATIONAL conference was carried out by EBM in Bülach/Switzerland. The Baptists in Switzerland are one of the founding members of EBM INTERNATIONAL from the year of 1954. In the global collaboration with Baptists conventions from all over the world, we want to share Christ in order to give justice, renewal, and hope to the world. The foundation for this is equality through sharing and learning, giving and taking inspired by our mission statement.
Delegates and guests from 28 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America took part in this conference. Stefan Gisiger, pastor from Thalwil and a representative of the European Baptist Federation (EFB), and Thomas Prelicz, pastor of the local Baptist church in Bülach warmly greeted more than 120 participants. Guest of honor was Pastor Paul Msiza from South Africa, president of Baptist World Alliance (BWA).
This year’s conference’ theme was “Your plenty will supply what they need…the goal is equality” according to 2 Corinthians 8:14. Every participant was asked to think about what his or her overflow might be. What can we give to others? Do we have enough resources, time, joy, or a deep spirituality that we can share with others? The outgoing board member Hans Riphagen from the Netherlands reminded us impressively in his sermon that Jesus was the suffering Christ. Just like He is present with us in our weakness and our pain, we are allowed to share in other people’s pain and we can give them our attention.
Partnering has been a central concern of EBM INTERNATIONAL from the beginning: “Nobody has nothing, nobody has everything, but everyone has something” is an impressive reminder of the general secretary Christoph Haus. Diversity forms a great strength as different members of one body. The emphasis of the partnerships in missions promotes sustainability and justice. It shapes a culture of sharing and learning. Pastor Thembelani Jentile, acting general secretary of the Baptist Convention of South Africa (BCSA) explained: “Partnership for us means to help with the little we got. It’s based on the attitude that we as South Africans believe in the fellowship and the idea of UBUNTU:’Umnutu ngmnutu ngabantu’ [Xhosa] meaning: ‘you are a person because of your counterpart’ or ‘you are because we are’.” The BCSA put up a relief action with their own resources for the people in Mozambique right after the destruction through the cyclone IDAI.
Intern at EBM INTERNATIONAL