The CentralEuropean Centre for Mission Studies (SCMS) is an ecumenical, Protestant,non-profit missiology organization established in 2006 by Czech, Slovak, andKorean pastors, theologians, and laypeople.
SCMS has twomain goals. The first goal is to introduce both pastors and laypeople tomissiology and to provide additional education for them in this field. Thisgoal is realized in a practical way through the preparation of various missionprojects in response to the needs of congregations in Central Europe. Thesecond goal involves helping congregations in Central Europe and churches inother countries, which are interested in mission work in Central and EasternEurope, support one another in the areas of finance, human resources, know-how,and vision.
The very firstvision of the centre was put forth by Pastor Jongsil Lee on the basis of hisunderstanding of Czech Christianity. Pastor Lee is serving in the CzechRepublic by virtue of an agreement reached in 1996 between the PresbyterianChurch of Korea and the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. Pastor Lee alsoserves in Slovakia.
SCMS is awarethat these days, no mission work can exist independently of local churches andindividual Christians; therefore, it emphasizes the importance of cooperationand the sharing of experiences among local churches. Central European churchesand Christians have their own unique historical experiences and traditions,which other churches – especially those outside of Europe – lack. SCMS hopesthat churches will begin to be conscious of, and will actively formulate, theirspecial needs, even as they build up Christ’s body by sharing the experiencesof Central European churches – especially in the areas of pastoral care andmission to the community – with Christians in other places.
SCMS plans torealize its goals by means of two programs. The first of these involvesresearch work, which includes the study of different paradigms of mission andmission education; the second program is practical mission work. These programsshould inspire congregations and equip them through training and the exchangeof information, thus providing practical assistance to church mission programs.Therefore, we are inviting Central European, Asian, and other theologians,pastors, laypeople, churches, congregations, and related institutions to workwith us in pursuing the goal that we all share.
SCMS welcomesthe support of regional and international specialists in the areas ofmissiology and ecclesiology; in Central Europe, especially Josef Smolík,Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at the Protestant Theological Facultyof Charles University in Prague and Pavel Černý, President of the EcumenicalCouncil of Churches in the Czech Republic and teacher of the Practical Theologyat the Evangelical Seminary of Prague and the Hussite Theological Faculty ofCharles University in Prague.
The purpose ofSCMS was introduced to the Council for World Mission in London, the Centre forMissiology and World Christianity at the University of Birmingham, and to theCentre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at theTheological Faculty of the University of Edinburgh. The aim of SCMS was alsopresented at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, as well as to the World Councilof Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of ReformedChurches and the Conference of European Churches. These institutions agree thatchurches in Central Europe have a unique experience of faith from which notonly Czech and Slovak Christians, but also Christians all over the world, canlearn.