"Be discombobulated!" Mission as Solidarity Conference

STORIES
First published on: 13th December 2023

On 25 November USPG partnered with Emmanuel Theological College, the diocese of Liverpool and Liverpool Cathedral to host our annual Rethinking Mission conference. This year the focus was Mission as Solidarity. The event was opened by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev’d John Perumbalath who emphasised the importance of mission and its ability to change the world. He commended the conference as a place and space where those gathered can come and share in God’s mission. Delegates were then led in prayers and worship by the Tsedaqah Community at Liverpool Cathedral – Triangle of Hope.

The Rev’d Dr Kelly Brown Douglas, Interim President of Episcopal Divinity School and Emmanuel, Professor of Global Theology and a leader in the field of womanist theology and racial reconciliation, began by exploring what faithful mission looks like in today's suffering world. Speaking passionately on the subject, she delved into how it means nothing less than being in solidarity with God. She spoke about how faith is more than “I believe” doctrines and documents etc, but that, at its heart, faith is about wholeheartedly believing in God’s promise of a more just future for all His children – without any exceptions.  

She explained that to get to this place compels us to undertake a critical examination of moral memory, engaging with a moral gaze, forming a moral identity, developing moral proximity and moral participation. It is only through committing to this hard work that we ensure we do not miss our call and move towards a world where we see God’s vision for a just future come to fruition. 

After a time of discussion and sharing in fellowship over lunch the Rev'd Philip Peacock, Executive Secretary for Justice and Witness at the World Communion of Reformed Churches took to the stage as the second speaker for the event. He spoke about how ‘Mission as Solidarity’ calls us to be discombobulated. Historically it has been too easy to see “others” as being wrong and “us” as being right. Contrary to this, Rev'd Peacock emphasised how important it is to learn to question our privilege and learn from others. We must “allow the other to fundamentally change us, twist us out of shape so we are no longer the same”. He ended his speech with the powerful words "What can we learn from those who we set out to save?".

Our time in Liverpool ended with thoughts and reflections in a plenary session. USPG are grateful for all who attended the event and those who contributed to making the day such a success. 

     

[1] Rev'd Shemil Mathew, Rev'd Dr Kelly Brown Douglas and Right Rev'd John Perumbalatah (Bishop of Liverpool) ready to begin!

[2] The Tsedaqah Community (Triangle of Hope) leading worship.