By Pamela Holmes.

A hundred years ago, when the original World Missionary Conference met in Edinburgh, Scotland, the leaders were primarily European Protestants. Voices from the fledgling Pentecostal movement (Azusa Street’s awakening had begun only four years previous) were nowhere to be heard.

The Centenary celebration that gathered in Edinburgh earlier this month (June 2-6, 2010) was much more varied. Delegates had been intentionally selected from many different continents and denominations to represent the global Christian family. Pentecostals were involved in all aspects of this historical gathering. In fact, the General Council that organized and led Edinburgh 2010 included Dr. Julie Ma from the Asian Pentecostal Society.

Several other leaders including Dr. Harold Hunter and Dr. Cheryl Bridges-Johns from the USA, Dr. Young-hoon Lee (new senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea, shown here), and Dr. Elizabeth Salazar-Sanzana from Chile spoke during the study sessions. A Pentecostal African choir led worship during the Final Closing Ceremony at the Great Assembly Hall (see below). Among the 21 Pentecostal delegates who were able to attend, sometimes at their own expense, was the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies’ Rev. Dr. Pamela Holmes (Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario).

A statement drafted by these delegates proclaimed that “we rejoice that we have been counted among those gathered together.” It continued, “The twentieth century gave clear testimony that although we were not in attendance at Edinburgh 1910, we have taken our rightful place on the landscape of contemporary Christianity.” To read the complete statement, see

Together with the rest of the 297 delegates from 60 different countries, these Pentecostals worshipped and worked for five days to come up with a mission strategy in keeping with the challenges and complexities of the 21st century. As one delegate pointed out, “While in 1910, the leaders bemoaned the fact that only one-third of the world were Christian, today we celebrate the fact that one-third of the world are Christian.” Time will only tell how delegates in 2110 will respond to our efforts to proclaim Christ over the next 100 years.

Currently the challenge is to heed the admonition of keynote speaker Prof. Dana L. Robert of Boston University, who insisted, “We must not let difficult theological, socio-cultural and political issues, or disagreements over theologies of religion, discourage us from sharing God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ with all the world.”

By the end of the conference, bringing to fruition several years of pre-study and several hours of prayerful consideration of nine different themes, the delegates were able to develop a draft “Common Call.” The opening paragraph clearly states, “We believe the church, as a sign and symbol of the reign of God, is called to witness to Christ today by sharing in God’s mission of love through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.” It continues, “Trusting in the Triune God and with a renewed sense of urgency, we are called to incarnate and proclaim the good news of salvation, of forgiveness of sin, of life in abundance, and of liberation for all poor and oppressed.” To view the complete Common Call or to find out more about Edinburgh 2010, including Pentecostalism’s historical involvement, see

Dr. Pamela Holmes is an adjunct faculty member at Queen’s School of Religion, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont. She and her husband, Thomas, are both ministers-at-large with Quinte Community Christian Church (FCA), Belleville, Ontario.

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