In a world where creation groans because of the life-denying forces and unjust dealings – leading to untold suffering, disappointment, death and destruction – Council for World Mission has identified as the theme for its 2016 Assembly “Healing: Hope in Action”.
The theme is a yearning of the heart for the God of healing grace to stir the hearts of all God’s people to actions of hope that will result in the healing of God’s creation. Such actions include truth-telling, caring confrontation, repentance and forgiveness, all aimed at the experience of community in which life is affirmed as God’s endowment and to which God remains perpetually committed. The logo, designed by Korean artist, Bum Lee, reflects the heartbeat of the theme and calls for all God’s people to participate in hopeful actions towards healing, peace and, ultimately, reconciliation.
Rev. Dr. Vuyani Vellem
The Rev. Dr. Vuyani Vellem is Associate Professor in the Department of Dogmatics and Systematic Theology and Director of the Centre for Public Theology at the University of Pretoria. He held a number of positions in his career as a pastor in the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa. He served as the first black General Secretary of this denomination ( Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa) from 2004 -2008 and moved on to become Deputy General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches before he joined the University of Pretoria in 2010.
He is an author of journal articles, book-chapters and also a social commentator on faith related issues. He has recently co-edited a book published with the title: Prophet from the South. He has participated in a number of international Conferences in which he also presented papers. He has continued to work for justice and in his approach he tackles issues at their foundational level. Vuyani is interested in social ethical themes such as Christianity and Democracy, Christianity and Economics with a passion in Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Liberation Theology, Spirituality and Faith in public life. His work is influenced by grassroots communities such as Thabo Mbeki Village, an informal settlement around Diepsloot in Johannesburg, in his unending quest to understanding in conversation with such communities what life is in such precarious situations of squalor and poverty.
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
Born and raised in Bethlehem, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb has been the Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem since 1988. An internationally-acclaimed author and speaker, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb is also the President of DIYAR, a consortium of 3 Lutheran institutions that he himself founded between the years 1995 to 2006. These institutions serve the whole Palestinian community through Culture (The International Center of Bethlehem), Health (Dar al-Kalima Health & Wellness Center) and Education (Dar al-Kalima College).
The multilingual contextual theologian received for his ‘distinguished service to church and society’ the prestigious Wittenberg Award from the Luther Center in DC (2003). He also received for his ‘outstanding contribution to Christian education through research and publication’ an honorary doctorate from Concordia University in Chicago (2003) and for his ‘interfaith work toward peacemaking in Israel and Palestine’ the “International Mohammad Nafi Tschelebi Peace Award” of the Central Islam Archive in Germany (2006). He was also awarded German Media Award in 2012. Dr. Raheb holds a PhD in Theology from the Philipps University at Marburg, Germany.
He was awarded prestigious 2015 Olof Palme Prize for courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence, and for a future Middle East characterized by peaceful coexistence and equality for all. By his work he gives a ray of hope to a conflict that has plagued and continues to plague millions of people and to endanger world peace.
The most widely published Palestinian theologian to date, Dr. Raheb is the author of many books including the award-winning Bethlehem Besieged, which received the Spirituality & Health Award as one of the 50 best spiritual books published in 2004, I am a Palestinian Christian and Bethlehem 2000: Past and Present. His recent book Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible Through Palestinian Eyes shows how the reality of empire shapes the context of the biblical story, and the ongoing experience of Middle East conflict. His books and numerous articles have been translated so far into eleven languages.
The work of Dr. Raheb has received wide media attention from major international media outlets and networks including CNN, ABC, CBS, BBC, ARD, ZDF, DW, BR, Premiere, Raiuno, Stern, The Economist, and Newsweek.
Rev. Dr. Grace Ji Sun Kim
Kim is the author of 6 books, Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love (Eerdmans); Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”: A Racial, Sexual, and Cultural Critique (Palgrave Macmillan) co-written with Joseph Cheah; Contemplations from the Heart (Wipf & Stock); Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Power (Palgrave Macmillan); The Holy Spirit, Chi and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan); and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology(Pilgrim Press).
She is the editor of 3 books, Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice (Palgrave) co-edited with Jenny Daggers; Here I Am: Faith Stories of Korean American Clergywomen (Judson Press, forthcoming); and Reimagining with Christian Doctrines co-edited with Jenny Daggers (Palgrave Macmillan).
Presently, she is working on The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the Holy Spirit,Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015, forthcoming.She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”. Kim has also written over 70 book chapters, journal articles and book reviews. Kim is a much sought after lecturer and has given papers/lectures throughout the United States and in Korea, Myanmar, Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Peru and Canada.
Kim has recently been elected to the American Academy of Religion’s Board of Directors as an At-Large Director. She also serves on the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) “Research Grants Jury Committee.” She is a co-chair of AAR’s steering committee, “Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group.” She is a steering committee member of AAR’s “Comparative Theology Group” and “Religion and Migration Group.” She sits on the editorial board for the Journal for Religion and Popular Culture and is a referee for 3 journals:Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture and The Global Studies Journal. She is an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.
Kim writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners, EthicsDaily.com, Wabash Center and Feminist Studies in Religion (co-editor).
She has also written for TIME, The Feminist Wire, Feminism and Religion, The Forum for Theological Education, 99 Brattle and The Nation.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an ordained minister of word and sacrament within the PC (USA) denomination. She is married to Dr. Perry Y.C. Lee (Associate Professor of Mathematics, Kutztown University) and they have 3 children Theo, Elisabeth and Joshua.