The practical implications of the view of mission that places God himself at the center were the subject of a workshop in Siegburg at the beginning of November, attended by about 25 Divine Word missionaries and missiologists. The three SVD Institutes at Sankt Augustin saw the occasion for this workshop in their founding anniversaries 90 years ago (Anthropos Institute), 60 years ago (SVD Missiological Institute) and 50 years ago (Monumenta Serica in Sankt Augustin). The understanding of mission as “missio Dei” (mission of God) started 70 years ago from a mission conference of Protestant churches.
The workshop took place from November 2 to 5 in a conference center near Sankt Augustin.Nowadays, mission is mainly attributed to God directly, not so much to the church, the “Great Commission” or a charismatic founding figure of the various congregations. But this view of the “mission of God” often remains a formula without too concrete consequences and changes for the practice of missionaries.
Therefore, the three institutes invited to a workshop to explore this question. The members of the three institutes (15 in all) were joined by another ten SVD missionaries (including Superior General Paulus Budi Kleden SVD and Generalate Mission Secretary Lazar Stanislaus SVD) and six missiologists from other congregations and churches. They came from the Philippines, Thailand, the United States, the Generalate in Rome (Italy), Austria and especially Germany.
The talks and discussions revolved around topics such as the image and conception of God and the church, the communal “discernment of spirits” as a basis for decision-making, the Kingdom of God and the function of institutions and churches in the realization of mission, or the importance of interculturality.
The workshop was characterized by balanced participation and attentive reflection on the topics addressed. Different emphases and convictions were experienced as enrichment rather than conflict.
At the end of the workshop Antonio M. Pernia SVD, ex General Superior, who had come from the SVD Institute of Missiology in the Philippines, emphasized how important it is now to pass on these insights and orientations of mission to the SVD missionaries everywhere, because as missionaries of the Divine Word they see their identity in God and his missionary dynamics in the world.
Christian Tauchner SVD