During the 2014 consultation, a steering committee was chosen to organize the next conference to be held in 2016. At the first official meeting, it was mutually decided to extend this mandate in order to provide an ongoing platform for cooperation, encouragement, and networking among Roma ministries. Together, the team formulated a mission and vision for the newly formed Roma Networks.
Roma Network’s vision is to network, connect, and research for the sake of sharing the gospel and seeing transformation in Roma communities throughout Europe.
In order to work toward this, the mission strategy involves several dimensions:
- Share the vision (with Roma leaders, non Roma leaders, local churches, organizations, movements, mission organizations, different denominations, EU government…)
- Educate / Empower / Equip (Roma leaders, non-Roma leaders who are working among Roma, youth, church, movements)
- Encourage Transformation (in individuals, communities, and encouraging reconciliation between Roma and non-Roma)
- Attract missionaries (research mission field, attract local and global missionaries, train missionaries)
- Encourage (local churches, ministries, mission initiatives).
After the initial meeting, members of the committee travelled through numerous European countries, sharing the vision with Roma leaders and missionaries to the Roma. This hands-on approach allowed a first-hand experience of the multi-layered and complex realities of Roma communities across various contexts—the differences and similarities, the strengths and weakness of churches, the needs and the gifts that could be offered.
As relationships are formed, Roma Networks connects different ministries and contexts to match needs with tools and resources. This ranges from leadership training, Bible translations, empowering workers, etc. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage communities to unite and encourage each other for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
As research and knowledge accumulate, plans are in the works to create a database, which would act as a centralized hub of resources, news, and summarize the current situation in different countries. This database would also showcase what different ministries offer, ranging from translation and literacy, community development, women’s resources, children’s resources, discipleship training, to theological education.
In September 21-24 of 2016, second international Roma conference was held in Hungary, and over 180 participants from 31 countries attended to it. As the theme of the conference was Building God’s Kingdom Together, we saw that the conference provide encouragement and vision, promote cooperation, and offered practical tools for ministry. The conference allowed opportunities for country meetings in order to discuss visions, opportunities, and needs of a particular region or country.
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