Hundredth anniversary of journal celebrated in Geneva

From left to right: Rev. Dr Walter Altmann, Metropolitan Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum and Rev. Jacques Matthey


The International Review of Mission marked a century of work in mission studies with a public celebration, held 9 December at Philip Potter Library of the World Council of Churches (WCC), centered on its centenary issue, just released.


The omnibus issue, “A Century of Ecumenical Missiology,” features 15 commissioned articles assessing the history of the journal, the evolution of the field, and the prospects and shape of its future.


Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, IRM editor since 2008, led the celebrations by presenting a congratulatory copy of the issue to WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and offering tributes to longtime journal contributors Rev. Jacques Matthey (editor from 1999 to 2007, and guest editor of the centenary issue), Prof. Andrew Walls (who has contributed the annual bibliographical survey for 40 years), book review editor Prof. Paul Isaak, and staffer Marlise Freidig.


Participants and guests were welcomed by Metropolitan Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, Syrian Orthodox Bishop of Nirinam, India, and moderator of the WCC’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, the journal’s sponsor.


Referring to the “landmark” occasion, Coorilos said, “IRM, over the last 100 years, has influenced thousands of missiologists, mission bodies and churches through its profound discussion of missiological issues. Even at the age of 100, IRM continues to provide us with inspiration and challenge.”


In his remarks, Tveit spoke of the impressive longevity of IRM, which at 100 years still maintains its relevance and brings vitality to the ongoing discussions and discernment about mission and evangelism.


The influential journal, a WCC publication produced in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, of Oxford, England, was initiated in 1912. Its first editor, J. H. Oldham, was secretary of the historic 1910 world missionary conference in Edinburgh, after which the International Review of Missions, as it was then tagged, was launched.


This current issue takes a close look at the origins of the journal in the context of nascent ecumenism, as well as at the decisions and directions by which it shaped the field in the ensuing decades. It also offers specific surveys of the present landscape of mission and theological proposals for rethinking the mission endeavor.


A panel presentation featured Matthey’s introduction of the issue, Walls’s analysis of the massive shifts in global Christianity in the last century, and Keum’s ideas of key theological questions that the journal will explore in coming years.


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