Author: Sadiri ’Joy’ Tira
It’s been almost a year since my last post during the height of Lausanne III or Cape Town 2010, in Cape Town South Africa. Since then, I have been on the move and have not been blogging lately, but Lausanne Diasporas (LD) is alive and well. It is kicking into the new millennium.
Before I re-launch into the blogosphere, let me give you a brief rundown of Lausanne Diaspora’s activity in the past 12 months.
Recall that the “Diaspora Agenda” (i.e. evangelizing, discipling, and mobilizing the people on the move) was presented and articulated during the October 20th multiplex and plenary session. It is evident that the Global Church, as represented by the World Evangelical Alliance and Lausanne Movement, has embraced the “Diaspora Agenda” as presented and articulated in the Seoul Declaration on Diaspora Missiology. Also read through the Cape Town Commitment statement on “reaching out to scattered people” in section IIC.5 below:
Cape Town Commitment IIC.5
5. Love reaches out to scattered peoples
People are on the move as never before. Migration is one of the great global realities of our era. It is estimated that 200 million people are living outside their countries of origin, voluntarily or involuntarily. The term ‘diaspora’ is used here to mean people who have relocated from their lands of birth for whatever reason.
Vast numbers of people from many religious backgrounds, including Christians, live in diaspora conditions: economic migrants seeking work; internally-displaced peoples because of war or natural disaster; refugees and asylum seekers; victims of ethnic cleansing; people fleeing religious violence and persecution; famine sufferers – whether caused by drought, floods, or war; victims of rural poverty moving to cities. We are convinced that contemporary migrations are within the sovereign missional purpose of God, without ignoring the evil and suffering that can be involved.
A) We encourage Church and mission leaders to recognize and respond to the
missional opportunities presented by global migration and diaspora communities, in strategic planning, and in focused training and resourcing of those called to work among them.
B) We encourage Christians in host nations which have immigrant communities of other religious backgrounds to bear counter-cultural witness to the love of Christ in deed and word, by obeying the extensive biblical commands to love the stranger, defend the cause of the foreigner, visit the prisoner, practise hospitality, build friendships, invite into our homes, and provide help and services.
C) We encourage Christians who are themselves part of diaspora communities to discern the hand of God, even in circumstances they may not have chosen, and to seek whatever opportunities God provides for bearing witness to Christ in their host community and seeking its welfare. Where that host country includes
Christian churches, we urge immigrant and indigenous churches together to listen and learn from one another, and to initiate co-operative efforts to reach all sections of their nation with the gospel.
Global Diaspora Network (GDN)
The Global Diaspora Network (GDN) was organized in Cape Town, South Africa during the Lausanne III in order to broaden the Diaspora network and take on the diasporas beyond the congress event. It officially replaces the former Lausanne Diasporas Leadership Team (LDLT) which was date and event specific (i.e. for preparation for Lausanne III).
GDN is a catalytic movement that motivates and mobilizes diaspora Christians to partner for global missions.
The GDN Advisory Board met in France in February and the Executive Committee has met twice – May in Los Angeles and July in Manila. They discussed how to shape diaspora missions in the next 5 years. A secretariat was also formed in Manila and GDN is now registered under the Security Exchange Commission of the Philippines providing GDN with a legal identity.
The GDN Executive Committee includes:
Developments after Cape Town
Diaspora is one of the major issues that emerged from Lausanne III. Some of the indicators that Diaspora is now in the Global Arena:
There seems to have been an explosion of material and discussion on diaspora. One has just to google “diaspora”. Some missions organisations are restructuring to address and accommodate diaspora people. Clearly they are beginning to implement the Cape Town Commitment on the issue of Scattered People. It is inspiring to see many missions agencies and local churches focusing their lens on this issue and coming up with all kinds of ideas and strategies. Furthermore Regional networks are being organised and even global consultations have been convened.
Here are some notable comments from Evangelical leaders:
“My Tuesday address (during the Orlando 2011-April 5) on the state of and need for assertive US evangelization will be a strong push for greater recognition of and commitment to reach the diasporas and provide the right hand of full fellowship to the diaspora already a part of God’s family.” – Dr. Lon Allison, Director, Billy Graham Centre, Wheaton College and Graduate School.
“[I]t is wonderful to see the way in which the issue of Diaspora is coming into clearer focus at academic centres and in mission organizations and churches around the world as a result of the tireless and persuasive efforts of … so many others in their network.” – Doug Birdsall, Chairman, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
As a result of these gatherings, papers are being collected for publication. Articles and papers, both electronic and print, are emerging.
At Lausanne III, the LDLT distributed the booklet titled “Scattered to Gather: Embracing the Global Phenomenon of Diaspora”. This booklet has now been translated into Korean, and is now being translated into Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. As well, a number of other language groups are interested in translating this.
More publications have emerged since Cape Town 2010 in the form of academic journals, for example, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies’ Special Issue: Europe, Diaspora and Global Mission in Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies January 2011; 28 (1). (See also Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology’s Torch Trinity Journal, May 30, 2010, Volume 13).
Seminaries, in particular, are conducting further research with intentions to produce teaching tools for theological education. To be noted, the North American Diaspora Educator’s Forum and their counterpart, Far East Asia Diaspora Educators Consultation (FEADEC), have conducted separate meetings (in April and August, respectively). Watch for separate press releases on the documents that emerged as a result of this meeting.
Regional educational consultations are being organised, specifically for East and West Africa, the Latin and Caribbean world, Eastern European, and South Asian, and also Oceania. It is important to have regional consultations as each region is unique and the diasporic issues they present are unique.
Diaspora courses are now offered in several schools. For instance, the Alliance Graduate School (Manila, Philippines) recently launched its Institute of Diaspora Missiology (IDM). The Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives of Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta, Canada as well as Tyndale University College in Toronto are also offering diaspora courses.
All that is taking place will lead to the March 2015 Global Diaspora Forum to be held in Manila, Philippines. This gathering was announced during the Lausanne Leadership Biennial Meeting in Boston, MA, June 2011. We will appreciate your prayers for the planning and the organisational and funding structures to be in place in the coming few months. Watch for more details.
I am on the road again for the next couple of weeks, but rest assured, I will return with more diaspora missions discussion.