The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was held from 30 October to 8 November 2013 in Busan, Republic of Korea, under the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” This assembly was the biggest gathering in the history of the WCC. It hosted 2663 international participants from 141 countries, representing 345 WCC member churches and other partners, and more than 9000 Korean church members and day visitors.

The Busan assembly will be remembered for many things, including the pain of Korean division and the witness of the Korean churches for peace and reconciliation in the Korean peninsula. Among them will be the contributions made by mission to the thematic reflections of the assembly. The major concept of the new mission statement, Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes, impacted all areas of the Busan assembly experience. According to Kenneth Ross, “Possibly what will be remembered most about Busan is that it was an assembly at which the missional mandate of the church took centre stage.”

Every WCC assembly is a milestone for ecumenical mission thinking and practice. However, the Busan assembly was particularly significant because there was a mission plenary for the first time in 21 years. The plenary, entitled “Mission: A Call to Life-Giving Witness,” aspired to highlight the common challenges and opportunities for mission in light of the new mission statement, Together towards Life. It was aimed to enhance ecumenical cooperation on future mission work, addressing churches and ecumenical partners to commit anew to the call for common witness. In addition, the assembly featured two ecumenical conversations on mission and evangelism, and mission partners organized several workshops. Through these efforts, the Busan assembly led to important results and set cornerstones for the future of mission.

This issue of the International Review of Mission seeks to highlight some of those impulses and offer further reflection in order to embody the Busan mission ethos and turn it into mission actions, as well as to provoke sustained discussions at the local levels. Therefore, this issue consists of four parts. Part One contains the reflections of the Busan assembly from mission perspectives. Part Two collects the keynote speeches for the mission plenary and inputs and outcome of the ecumenical conversations on mission and evangelism. Part Three presents highlights of the assembly's exploraton of evangelism. And Part Four includes on-going reflections on the new mission statement.

On behalf of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the resource persons, commissioners and staff, and those in the Korean Hosting Committee who worked hard to make mission possible and successful at the Busan assembly. My particular thanks go to Metropolitan Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, CWME moderator, and Professor Kirsteen Kim, CWME vice-moderator, for their committed and creative, tireless and thoughtful leadership.

The next issue of IRM will focus on issues of evangelism, and Ms Kyriaki Avtzi, WCC evangelism secretary, will be the guest editor.

God of life, lead us to justice and peace!