Historic ecumenical parley revived in Tokyo

by Tai Kawabata

From June 14 to 23, 1910, some 1,200 representatives of 176 Christian missionary societies and church mission boards gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland, to attend the World Missionary Conference. This conference spearheaded the modern ecumenical movement to promote cooperation and unity among different Christian groups — Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the event and to look for ways to realize the spirit of the Edinburgh conference in today’s climate, a four-day conference called Tokyo 2010: Global Mission Consultation and Celebration started Tuesday at the Nakano Sun Plaza hall in Tokyo.

Some 1,200 representatives, mainly from evangelical Protestant mission organizations in some 120 countries, are in attendance.

The main force behind the Tokyo conference is the Third World Mission Association, a union of mission organizations in some 100 countries, with the conference putting emphasis on Third World missions.

Two-thirds of the representatives are from non-Western mission agencies — a sharp contrast to the 1910 Edinburgh conference, in which fewer than 1 percent of the representatives were from non-Western mission agencies.

The Tokyo conference is one of four large conferences celebrating the 100th anniversary of Edinburgh 1910.

Topics to be taken up at the Tokyo conference include Islam global outreach, Indian religions and reaching out to minority groups, people in former communist countries and the secular people of Europe.

Free-of-charge revival meetings open to the public will also be held from 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday.