UCC commemorates 200 years of global mission
Written by Staff Reports
March 8, 2010
Recognizing the 200th anniversary of America's first foreign mission society, the United Church of Christ has planned a two-year observation of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a historic predecessor to Wider Church Ministries.
Founded by Massachusetts Congregationalists in 1810, the ABCFM sent mission personnel to India, Turkey, Palestine and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii and Samoa) in its first decade.
By the time of its centenary in 1910, the board was responsible for 102 mission stations and a missionary staff of 600 in 15 countries including western North America. After 150 years, the American Board had sent nearly 5000 missionaries to 34 countries.
Through Global Ministries, the shared foreign mission agency of the UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 125 missionaries currently serve in 80 countries.
Wider Church Ministries leaders have asked that in addition to celebration, this anniversary be a time for reassessment regarding missteps taken in the context of evangelizing other cultures, saying, "There is much to celebrate, there are also mission mistakes to confess in the commemoration."
The anniversary's theme is "God's global mission now and for tomorrow." Planned activities and resources for the commemoration include:
• Local-global "mission" tree planting – plant a "mission" tree locally and contribute toward the planting of a tree in a designated mission country
• Global mission study trips
• Anniversary worship resources online - bulletin insert, worship liturgy, litany, prayer
• Mission programs - using suggested elements for small and large group
• Special giving opportunities
• A mission DVD - mission then, now and into the future
• Mission history study booklet
• Symposia at UCC-related higher education institutions
Additional information and resources for ABCFM's 200th anniversary commemoration, which runs through 2012, will be updated at <ucc.org/globalmission200/>.