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Urban Rural Mission (URM)

(250 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] Rural Mission was an outgrowth of the Rural Agricultural Mission; it was on the agenda of the ecumenical movement in 1968, when the fourth assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Uppsala voted to support its member churches in rapidly changing rural societies through cooperative structures and educational programs. Rural was understood not just in an agrarian sense but also as marginalized, excluded from the urban centers of political power (Consultation of the Urban Industrial Mission Advisory Group of the WCC in Kyoto, 1970). In the years that followed, urb…

Judson, Adoniram

(419 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] (Aug 9, 1788, Malden, MA – Apr 12, 1850, at sea, Bay of Bengal) was an American missionary who, after his studies in Massachusetts and England, came to Serampore, Calcutta, in 1812 as the pastor of the Congregational Church (Congregational Christian Churches). Influenced by W. Carey he became a Baptist and went to Rangoon, Burma, for the American Baptist Missions Society (ABMS) in 1813. This date marks the official start to contemporary Christian mission in Buddhist Burma (Myanmar…

Development Aid

(997 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. General – II. Church I. General Development aid is known as such since c. 1960, the beginning of the so-called First Development Decade. After their independence, the former colonies received development aid, especially from former colonial powers (Colonialism/Neocolonialism). In the process, the self-interests of the donor countries became evident. Usually, …

Gensichen, Hans-Werner

(319 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] (Mar 10, 1915, Lintorf – Mar 26, 1999, Heidelberg), an internationally renowned missiologist, who gained his habilitation in 1950 in church history, a theologian with the Deutscher Evangelischer Missionsrat (DEMR) from 1948 to 1952, and assistant professor of church history and missions at Hamburg, was influenced by W. Freytag. From 1952 to 1957, he taught church history and the history of religions in Tranquebar and Madras, southern India. From 1957 to 1983, Gensichen was profess…

Voluntary Associations

(5,190 words)

Author(s): Häusler, Michael | Schäfer, Alfred | Kuhlemann, Frank-Michael | Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph | Haering, Stephan | Et al.
[German Version] I. History 1. Terminology. The use of the term “association” to denote the formal union of persons and bodies has been common since the 19th century, especially through its application in the legal area. Associations were and are also called societies, unions, corporations, cooperatives, federations, groups, initiatives, movements etc. Modern unions are defined as the voluntary union of originally separate forces to achieve a common aim. By their structural features of free choice and a common aim, they are essentially different…


(579 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] The population of Cambodia is 12 million, with a growth rate of 2.5%. Theravada Buddhists (Hĩnayãna) comprise 90% of the population, Muslims2%, Christians 1.5%, adherents of Chinese popular religion and tribal religions 1.5% each, Caodaiists (Caodaism) and Bahā'i 1% each. Of the population, 90% are Khmer, 5% Vietnamese, 1% Chinese, and 2.5% Malay. Catholic missionary work began in 1555 with the arrival of the Dominicans Gaspar da Cruz (died 1570) and Sylvester Azevedo (died 1576) from Malacca (Melaka). Around 1770 P. Levasseu…

Burma (Myanmar)

(1,600 words)

Author(s): Frasch, Tilman | Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. General – II. History of Christianity I. General With approximately 680,000 km2 of area Burma covers the most extensive territory of the South-East Asian mainland. Between the mountain ranges in the north and the south run the most important rivers of the country, most importantly the Irawadi (Ayeyarwadi) as the country's lifeline. In 1998 the population numbered …

Third World

(1,947 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Sociology, Social Ethics Irving Louis Horowitz attributes the origin of the term “Third World” to D.W. Frantz Fanon, who introduced it into the international debate in 1960 with his book Les damnés de la terre, after the concept had already been known in the French-speaking world ( tiers monde) – as a “third way” of non-alignment between Washington and Moscow (Worsley), later as a “third way between capitalism and socialism.” The attempt at non-alignment manifested itself at the Bandung Conference of Afro-Asian states in 1955…


(823 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] A Southeast Asian state situated between Vietnam, China, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia, Laos has a population of approx. 5 million (growth rate: 2.6%), of which 58% are Hīnayāna Buddhists of the Theravāda school, 34% adherents of tribal religions (mostly among the mountain tribes), 2% Christians, and 1% Muslims; Confucianism and Taoism are also represented. The population is made up of a total of 70 ethnic groups and tribes; 55% of the inhabitants are Lao Loum (“Lowland Lao”), 27%…


(551 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] (autochthonous religions, India). Bangladesh covers an area of 143,998 km2 and has a population of 141 million, of which 98% are Bengali. Thus, Bangladesh is an ethnically, culturally, and religiously homogeneous country. 87% are Muslims (mostly Sunni); 12% Hindus; 0.6% Buddhists; 0.3% Christians, primarily members of lower Hindu casts and castless gro…


(7,296 words)

Author(s): Ustorf, Werner | Sundermeier, Theo | Yates, Timothy E. | Küster, Volker | Blaser, Klauspeter | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of the Discipline – II. Methodology – III. Missiology and Other Disciplines – IV. Missiological Hermeneutics – V. Topics of Missiology – VI. Research and Study I. History of the Discipline From the outset, Christians have reflected on the practical and theological questions posed by the Christian mission, as illustrated, for example, by the Pauline Epistles, the book of Acts, and, c. 600, the well-known missionary instructions of Gregory the Great. At certain critical times in the history of Chri…

Urban-Industrial Mission

(678 words)

Author(s): Gern, Wolfgang
[German Version] The urban-industrial mission program arose in industrial cities and conurbations after World War II, initially in Europe and North America. It built on the work of the Protestant labor movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, involving itself in the tensions of the industrial world and the workplace in order to support dependent industrial workers in their fight for human dignity and a voice in management. The “view from below” opened a perspective that had previously been closed …