Archive for the ‘migration’ category

Vista 15: On reflection

October 30, 2013

on reflectonThe last edition of Vista highlighted that one person’s viewpoint alone however well informed, can never give a true picture of what is happening; particularly in a continent as diverse as Europe. What is needed are thoughtful and perceptive insights into the realities of mission practice across Europe – from those engaged in mission. In other words, Europe needs “reflective practitioners”.

This term was coined by Donald Schön as recently as 1983. He defined reflective practice as “the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning” (Schön). Other educationalists have observed that, consciously or not, learning often takes place through a series of stages. The Kolb Learning Cycle, for example, isolates these as concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation.

kolb_cycleThe key insight was that we don’t automatically learn from our experiences. Reflection on experience is fundamental in order to obtain generalisations which might then be applied to new situations. And this is no less true for Christian mission.

Mission in Europe doesn’t need gurus; it needs reflective practitioners who have been equipped with the tools to think deeply about their own immediate context and mission practice. That has certainly been the ethos of the MA in European Mission at Redcliffe College. And Vista is one forum for highlighting examples of good reflective practice.

The articles in this issue of Vista are all written by practitioners who are combining their work with a period of academic study. James Cochrane, who has lived and worked in Portugal for a number of years, researches the relevance of the missiological conversation for Portuguese church.  Redcliffe MA student, Rosemary Caudwell brings an understanding of the workings of the European Parliament to her refection on the churches’ engagement with the EU.

David Roche, also a Redcliffe student, as well as a policeman in London, writes about how London City Mission is approaching the issue of homelessness amongst migrants, balancing practical care with sharing the Gospel with this growing population.  And Australian pastor James Sutherland compares three very different ministries he encountered on a study tour of Europe this summer with Darrell Jackson & Mike Frost.

The concept of missio Dei reminds us that “the missionary initiative comes from God alone” (Bosch). It is God’s mission, not ours. And yet, not only in active participation in the experience of mission but also in the acts of reflection, conceptualization and experimentation, “the marvel is that God invites us to join in” (Wright)

Vista 15 October 2013

Mapping Migration: Mapping Churches’ Responses: Europe Study

March 7, 2012

Darrell Jackson and Alessia Passarelli’s report on migration in Europe was prepared for the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe and set out to inform as wide an audience as possible about the realities of migration in contemporary Europe.

Migration studies is particularly complex and the facts have to compete with the rhetoric and misinformation that often predominates in popular debate.  This report, though now three years old, remains an important resource for empirical migration studies setting out statistics for 47 European countries.  It also includes introductory chapters which describe the nature and patterns of contemporary migration in Europe, theological approaches to the subject, and highlights some examples of how churches are responding to migration.

We are very happy to make it available for free download – just click below for the pdf
Mapping Migration: Mapping Churches Responses 

Germany: conversion and mission

March 15, 2010

Special report cover‘Older and Wiser’ a 16 page report on Germany, published in this week’s Economist, is also available as a free pdf download on their website at www.Economist.com/specialreports In addition to the usual economic discussion, there are maps outlining current levels of  unemployment by region plus graphs and articles dealing with education and migration. Includes a useful updated assessment of German re-unification.

In terms of mission in Europe, Germany is frequently overlooked, but the high levels of atheism in former East Germany continues to prove a challenge. The Research Institute for Evangelisation and Church Renewal (IEEG) at Griefswald University belongs to the German Church (EKD) and is currently engaged in an important piece of research on ‘conversion in Germany’. It’s appointed field workers with special responsibility to work in the east of Germany as a way of trying to understand how better to engage the gospel among them. We will continue to cover this important work when more research findings are released.


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