The Basel Mission is Mission 21's largest supporting association. It was founded in 1815 and one year later, it opened the Mission Seminary in Basel. In 1821, the Basel Mission sent out its first seminarians: their destination was the Caucasus. The Mission began its work in Ghana in 1828, followed by activities in South India in 1834 and South China in 1847. 1860 saw the construction of the large Mission House building in Basel, which is still owned by the Basel Mission. Nowadays, Mission 21's headquarters is located here. In addition, the Basel Mission operates the Hotel "Odelya" in the same building. The construction of the Mission House in the 19th century was mainly financed by the Pietist businessman Christoph Merian-Burckhardt.
The Basel Mission brings numerous relationships to Mission 21, originating from its work in Africa and Asia over a period of some two hundred years, and from its commitment in Latin America which dates back to the 1970s. The Basel Mission supports Mission 21's work. Part of this support is allocated to academic administration and curation of the Basel Mission's archive. Mission 21 is continuing to manage the Basel Mission's extensive archive, which includes a wealth of historical sources in the form of text, audio and photographic materials, as well as a collection of historic maps.
The Basel Mission was an institution with strong German involvement. In 1954, the Basel Mission German Branch (BMDZ) was constituted as a Registered Association in Stuttgart. Ever since then, the BMDZ, the Basel Mission and Mission 21 have constantly renewed and deepened their collaboration.
Mission of the Moravian Church
The Mission was founded by the Moravian Church in 1732, under the direction of Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. The mission regions eventually became independent Provinces (church regions) of the 'Unity of Brethren'. Nowadays, the Moravian churches are committed to supporting people on the margins of society, in collaboration with Mission 21. In Switzerland, the Moravian congregations (known as Societies) support the Mission's work, together with a large group of watchword readers and other friends. Through Mission 21, the Moravian Church maintains and develops relationships with Tanzania, Palestine and South Africa in particular.
Evangelical Mission in the Kwango
The Evangelical Mission in the Kwango (EMIK), founded in 1956, embarked on its activities in what was then the Belgian Congo in the 1950s. After the former colony gained independence and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was founded, the EMIK and its partner church (Communauté Evangélique du Kwango (CEK)) worked together. From 1989, the 50th year of the CEK's existence, all projects and management tasks were handed over to local leaders. This goal was achieved several years ago. The CEK's practical project work spans a vast range of activities including healthcare, support for women to take up vocations, agriculture and education; it also helps to develop communities and congregations, and runs a Bible school.
Mission 21's partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe are organised in the Continental Assemblies (CAs). All four CAs are ordinary members of Mission 21 and they send delegates to the Mission Synod. This South-North exchange is complemented by regular South-South meetings: every three years, the Continental Assemblies of Africa, Asia and Latin America hold a major conference in which all the partner churches and organisations can participate with up to three delegates. At this event, they can exchange ideas and experiences about programme and project work as well as the challenges currently facing individual partners. Women's organisations as well as youth representatives discuss common problems and shared solutions at a pre-conference event.
The official name of the continental assembly for Africa is the 'Africa Continental Assembly' or ACA. The ACA was the first continental assembly; it was founded in Cameroon back in 2004. Members of the ACA:
- Ghana: Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG)
- Cameroon: Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC)
- Congo: Communauté Evangélique au Kwango (Kwango Evangelical Community, CEK), Université Protestante au Congo (Congo Protestant University, UPC)
- Nigeria: Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (The Church of the Brethren, Nigeria, EYN)
- South Sudan: Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS)
- Tanzania: Moravian Church in Tanzania, Southwest and Southern Province
The Asian continental assembly is the Asian Fellowship of Mission 21 Partners (ASF). Its members comprise many churches and organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong:
- Hong Kong: Tsung Tsin Mission
- India: Church of South India (CSI)
- Indonesia: Kalimantan Evangelical Church (GKE), Christian Evangelical Church in the Land of Papua (GKI), Pasundan Christian Church (GKP), Gospel Propagating Christian Church (GKPI), Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa (GMIM), Christian Evangelical Church of Sangihe-Talaud (GMIST), Regional Synod of the Federation of Reformed Churches of Indonesia in North and Central Sulawesi (SAG), Christian Evangelical Church in Talaud (Germita)
- Japan: United Christian Church of Japan (UCCJ)
- Malaysia: Basel Christian Church of Malaysia (BCCM) and Protestant Church in Sabah (PCS)
- South Korea: the Presbyterian Churches, PCK and PROK
- Taiwan: Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT)
The official name of the Latin American Continental Assembly is 'Asamblea Continental Latinoamericana' (ACLA). Its members comprise numerous churches and non-government organisations:
- Bolivia: Foundation for Holistic Health Education (FUNDAPIM), Centre for Education and Training for Citizen Participation (FOCAPACI), Machaqa Amawta Foundation (FMA)
- Chile: Methodist Church of Chile (IMECH), Conspirando Women's Collective, Comunidad Teológica Evangélica de Chile (CTE)
- Costa Rica: Ecumenical Research Institute (DEI), Biblical University of Latin America (UBL)
- Peru: Audiovisual Media of Peru (ADEP), Literacy and Literature in Peru (ALFALIT), Ecumenical Centre for Social Promotion and Action (CEDEPAS), Centre for Spirituality (EMAÚS), Surandino Institute for Research and Community (ISAIAS), Faculty of Theology and Religion (AETE), Institute for the Study of Andean Cultures (IDECA)
- Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias – Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI/LACC), headquartered in Ecuador
The churches and organisations in Peru, Bolivia and Chile have organised themselves into round tables ('mesas'), while the partner organisations with a continental focus in Costa Rica and the Latin American Council of Churches are organised as a 'mesa continental'. The 'mesas' carry out coordination at the strategic level and send delegates to the plenary meeting of the Asamblea. To date, continental meetings have taken place in Santiago (Chile), Lima (Peru) and La Paz (Bolivia). A continental women's network with its own website has been in existence for several years. The Asamblea Continental elects an eight-member Executive Committee which conducts business and constitutes the delegation to the Mission Synod in Switzerland. The committee is currently coordinated by the Executive Secretary, Silvia Regina de Lima Silva, Director of the DEI in Costa Rica.
The Continental Assembly Europe (CAE) was founded in 2013. Its members are the Reformed churches in German-speaking Switzerland, Alsace, Southwest Germany and Austria. As the European vis-à-vis to the Continental Assemblies of the South, the CAE strengthens the partnership exchange between churches of the North and South. It holds its annual assembly shortly before each mission synod.
At the Annual Assembly 2018, in June, the statutes were amended with the aim of rejuvenating the body: now each member church can send three delegates instead of two. This third delegate should be a young person.
In June 2021, a major change took place: after eight years of dedicated service as president, Daniel Frei-Weber (Parish Office for the Global Church BS and BL) resigned from the board. Youth coordinator Magdalena Rieder (SO, 2018) also stepped down. Ueli Burkhalter (cantonal church BeJuSo, on the board since 2019) was elected as the new president. Three members were newly elected to the Board.
At the 2022 Annual Assembly, which also took place in Davos on the occasion of the Mission Synod there, the resignation of Elisabeth Pausz (Evangelical Church in Austria) was announced; otherwise the Board remains unchanged.
In addition to Ueli Burkhalter, the current members of the Board are (church, year of entry): Vice-President Klaus Rieth (Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg, 2013), Pascal Bazzell (SG, 2018), Barbara Hirsbrunner (GR, 2018), Janine Schweizer (BeJuSo, 2020), Salome Hengartner (AI/AR, 2021, new youth coordinator) and Niggi Ullrich (BL, 2021).