The EEMA conference 2019 was held in Budapest in November and discussed:
Diaspora, Empire and the Gospel – uncovering the minority church in Europe
In recent decades many millions of people have come to Europe from all over the world and established minority churches. Meanwhile ethnic Europeans have migrated within the continent and planted churches which often reflect their own culture more than the host culture. We investigated this phenomenon and asked how these churches navigate between becoming assimilated by the host culture, remaining isolated outposts of their culture of origin or endeavour to develop a ‘kingdom’ culture that transcends both.
As I sat listening to my brothers and sisters praising God in Spanish, Arabic, Romanian, Farsi, Portuguese, Gujurati, Finnish, Pashto and Korean, I realised I was part of something different and new for EEMA. Our world was suddenly much broader than it had been at our previous conferences.
We had a new feel, a more vibrant mood to our conference, brought together by our intentional inclusion of leaders of Muslim-background churches and networks, as well as leaders of diaspora churches from across Europe. Together we considered together how we, one church and one family, learn to transcend our ethnic and cultural differences and work together for the gospel. It was very encouraging to find such a level of acceptance, with different groups meeting together, listening humbly to one another, and doing so in an attitude of genuine repentance for past wrongs and misunderstandings.
Our plenary speakers [Samuel Cueva (Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World), John Baxter Brown (Global Connections), David Kim (London City Mission), Jim Memory (European Christian Mission), Usha Reifsnider (Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World) and Alex Vlasin (University of Bucharest)] came from South America, East Asia, South Asia and western Europe and our participants originated in 22 countries in 5 continents. Every session demonstrated intercultural understanding and sensitivity as we considered what is needed for us all to work together to ensure that the church in Europe thrives in mission. Together we worked through some of the challenges facing us in Europe today and many of us shared lively, emotional and challenging testimonies of what God is doing in our various ministries.
We were truly privileged to have so many men and women of God together in one place, all learning to sing in Hungarian and sharing a passion for mission. Mealtimes overran and discussion was loud because participation was so enthusiastic. Although I seem to write this after every EEMA conference, I really do think this was the best one so far!
Participants in the conference are welcome to access the conference papers by clicking here (password protected).
The next EEMA conference will take place in Budapest, Hungary in March 2022. More details will be available nearer the time.