Council for World Mission (CWM) held its bi-monthly All-Staff Meeting on 19 May 2022, an initiative by the CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum for staff around the world to gather virtually, receive updates and presentations, and be edified by a keynote guest lecture on mission. Organised by CWM Communications Team, this meeting commenced with an opening prayer by Rev. Dileep Kumar Kandula, CWM Mission Secretary – General Secretariat & Communications (Interim), who spearheaded this event.
Following this, the Communications team screened a video produced in-house to equip colleagues on “Modern Digital Technologies: Opportunities and Threats”. As part of CWM’s vision of doing mission on digital spaces, the team briefly covered current technological trends from Metaverse, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies, as well as opportunities they provided and threats they posed – a growing digital divide, deepfakes, scams, and privacy and security concerns they precipitate.
Cognisant of emerging digital trends and as part of CWM’s efforts towards digital mission and ministry, a broadcast studio in the CWM office which will facilitate recording, editing, streaming and producing audio-visual content was officially launched and dedicated earlier in the day. Staff viewed a video tour of the new CWM Studio, which will provide them with the tools and space to creatively express CWM’s vision and mission, and envisage reaching out to her member churches and beyond.
In the next segment of the meeting, the team engaged staff in discussion on chosen topics, anticipating the need to accompany member churches in doing mission in digital networking. One group was in dialogue about how to strategise communications in mission and ministry in view of opportunities and threats brought about by modern digital technologies.
In view of the unavoidability of these digital trends, opportunities and threats, another group spoke about the issue of misinformation and fake news, and acknowledged the opportunities that come with advanced technology. For example, academic courses can be offered and taught online without the need for institutions. In fact, CWM is working to offer an online degree on mission studies.
In the area of privacy and security concerns that inevitably arise, another group highlighted the importance of vigilance in one’s online presence. On one hand, they were aware and wary of the risks involved, such as theft of their financial information or identity. On the other hand, the group recognised benefits such as keeping track of their family members’ locations and communicating with them wherever they are located in the globe, and some conceded that targeted advertising can suit their individual needs.
Another set of colleagues candidly shared about their daily screentime and spoke about how it impacts their communication with their family and friends. Their digital habits and usage time varied across a spectrum, from 12 hours of screentime or less. For some, screentime equates connecting with loved ones who are physically apart, while others are intentional about striking a balance between screen time and downtime with loved ones, and setting healthy screentime limits for their children.
Finally, invited by CWM, Archpriest Prof. Dr Daniel Buda, Dean of the Orthodox Theological Faculty, “Lucian Blaga” University, Sibiu, Romania spoke on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the Orthodox Church’s response to the peace efforts.
The meeting concluded with a collective awareness of CWM’s vision of an evolving, digital mode of missions in today’s world.