This is what shared joy feels like. Davos residents, youth ambassadors and international delegates of Mission 21 danced exuberantly to the music of Matt Buchli. The lead singer of 77 Bombay Street was obviously delighted with the enthusiasm his solo performance generated on Sunday afternoon at the Festival of Encounter, singing and playing with gusto. The feast was the atmospheric conclusion of Mission 21's mission week and brought the Synod's motto, "Livin, healing, sharing - together for our world" delightfully to the point.
Already in the festive service beforehand, in the almost full St. John's Church, an uplifted mood was palpable. The numerous songs from other cultures sung by the church choir enriched the service. And Youth Ambassadors from Africa, Asia and Latin America added their own impulses and food for thought to the sermon by Pastor Astrid Fiehland, which took up the motto of the Synod.
The day before, however, there was still work to be done. The 18 Youth Ambassadors of Mission 21 gathered for the Youth Summit. This was originally planned as a public event during the Mission Week, but because of Corona it was held as a closed event exclusively within the group of Youth Ambassadors.
The focus was on reflection on what steps each individual can take to find solutions to the problems that are most important in their respective contexts. The discussions in culturally mixed groups were stimulating and led to concrete plans to be implemented by the young adults in their own countries. More information about the Youth Summit
On Friday and Saturday (10-11 June), the actual Synod meetings took place. The delegates discussed current challenges in the work of Mission 21, made strategic decisions for the future and held elections. The election of a new board member deepened the networking of the body in the Swiss church landscape. Dr iur. Roland Plattner-Steinmann, who is active in church and congregation development in the Reformed Church Baselland and supports the board with legal expertise, was newly elected to the board.
On Friday, the Synod dealt particularly intensively with the challenges in the partner countries. Presentations and discussions on the topics of women and youth, medicine and theology, as well as on the global impact of the Corona pandemic (by guest speaker Prof. Dr. Isabel Phiri) led to an engaged exchange among the delegates.
Important supporting organisations are the four continental assemblies. They elect the delegates who participate in the Mission 21 Synod. The Continental Assembly Europe (KVE) takes place shortly before the Mission Synod, this time of course also in Davos.
In the CVE, which is made up of church representatives from Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Alsace, the focus on Thursday, 9 June, was on networking young people with similar interests in development cooperation, church policy as well as modern mission societies and intercultural exchange. Jochen Kirsch, Director of Mission 21, explained in a talk with the Swiss youth delegate Salome Hengartner the goal of further developing the work, especially with more and more committed young adults. A goal that was very much welcomed by the KVE. Elisabeth Pausz had already resigned from the KVE Board in May. Barbara Hirsbrunner and Pascal Bazzell were confirmed as board members.
A further development, this time on the topic of gender justice, also meant the first public event of the mission week. In the City Talk, which was held in the cantonal capital of Chur, international and Swiss guests addressed the commitment to gender justice in various contexts. Engaging speeches and thought-provoking conversations alternated with musical contributions, which provided an opportunity to let what was heard sink in and reflect on it.
Already one week before the Feast of Encounter, the "kick-off" of the Mission Week took place. And it is characteristic of the whole Mission Week that it was also about promoting exchange and encounter. The Youth Ambassadors and delegates were guests at the Pentecost services and celebrations in several parishes in Graubünden.
This showed that the Mission 21 Synod in Chur and Davos was only possible thanks to the enthusiasm and great commitment of the hosts. The international guests and Mission 21 staff were always welcomed with open arms and the events could be held with great support. Mission 21 would therefore like to express its heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to the success of this mission week, especially the hosts: the Regional Church of the Grisons, the parishes of Chur and Davos and the Association of Christian Churches in the Davos region, but also the numerous helpers and the photographers who provided pictures.
Text: Christoph Rácz