Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.
‘It wasn’t just another conference, it felt as if the Lord was speaking to his beloved church’ said one participant at the Anglican conference on Mission, Evangelism and Church Growth, held in Cape Town on the eve of the Third Lausanne Congress. ‘He was instructing us, encouraging us, empowering us to action. It was all so joyful – he really does love the Anglican Church!’
Some 500 people from around the Anglican Communion gathered from 14 to16 October, for the Touching Heaven, Changing Earth meeting, sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative and ‘Growing the Church’ of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Welcoming participants, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said being ‘Anchored in Christ’ was the starting point of mission. Taking the day’s lectionary readings, he noted that mission is ultimately God’s work, and God can still use people on days when they feel more like Jonah than Paul. Revd Canon Rosemary Mbogo, Kenyan Provincial Secretary and former Provincial Missions Director surveyed the Scriptural basis for ‘Engaging in the Missio Dei for the 21st Century’.
Over the next 2 days, Anglicans from across Southern Africa and as far afield as Sudan, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda; Brunei, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore; the US, UK, and New Zealand enjoyed a wide choice of workshops. Revd Robert Siakimotu, International President of Open Air Campaigners, not only taught about evangelism, but led participants into the streets – where some have since been putting the lessons learned into practice, introducing people to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Revd Derek Hong of Singapore gave practical teaching on healing, dry wit peppering his inspiring and challenging insights. ‘He made our Prayer Book pages on healing come alive – it was stunning!’ was one reaction.
Grace Sampson of Nigeria and Revd Andy Shie of Brunei addressed ministry with young people, while other speakers included Tricia Neill, Executive Director of Alpha International, and Revd Canon Mark Oxbrow, International Director of Faith2Share, a network of Christian mission agencies. Bishop Mark and Revd Helen van Koevering, of the Diocese of Niassa in northern Mozambique gave a ‘thrilling’ account of church growth through holistic mission of compassionate care, sharing how they have seen the number of churches with over 50 members grow from 240 to around 500 over five years – and how they plan to plant another thousand in the next five years.
Dr Michael Cassidy rallied the closing session by asking ‘What is at stake? All are lost, and Jesus, only Jesus, saves.’ He called on participants to fulfil the great commission and obey the great commandments, of loving God, and loving our neighbours ‘with God’s love in action’. Bishop Martin Breytenbach encouraged everyone to return home as ‘Barnabas people’ – people ‘of goodness, full of faith and the Holy Spirit, who offer encouragement, form Christian communities, give generously and live by grace’. Speaking after the Conference, Trevor Pearce, Director of Growing the Church. said ‘It was an amazing time, which will leave a lasting impression on our work of mission and evangelism. I’ve even had positive feedback from people who weren’t there, but have heard about it from their friends!’
For further details, and photographs of the event, contact Estelle Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +27 21 712 0408