Mission - About the Department

The Anglican Communion understands mission as primarily God’s mission (Misio Dei). For the Anglican Communion, God's mission is holistic, concerned for all human beings and the totality of a human person; body mind and spirit. It is concerned for the totality of God's creation. This holistic understanding of mission is expressed in the Five Marks of Mission as shown below:

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

The Five Marks of Mission are not comprehensive in themselves but they serve as a guide and help the churches within the Communion to live out a mission lifestyle in their local contexts, and in variety of ways.

Mission takes place primarily in a local context - congregation, parish, diocese and province - it is the responsibility of every baptised Christian; young and old, male and female, lay and ordained.

An overview of current mission activity within the Anglican Communion can be found in the document  Holistic Mission

The Department

The Mission Department exists to serve the Anglican Communion as it seeks to fulfil God's mission in God's world and add value to the life and ministry of the churches of the Communion. It can only do what otherwise cannot be done by individual churches. There are currently three main strands to the work of the department:

Evangelism and Church Growth - through the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative see: ACNS article. download  document.

Relief and Development - through the process of setting up an Anglican Communion alliance of Anglican development agencies and departments to enable an effective and collaborative community development work; this process is jointly supported by the Mission Department and the office for International Development at Lambeth Palace.

Anglican Communion Networks - these serve and promote particular areas of mission and ministry across and throughout the Communion, sharing information and resources, and arranging gatherings on particular themes to strengthen the work being done and plan for the future. The Networks report to the Anglican Consultative Council.

The department works by:

  • networking with the mission bodies of the Anglican Communion – relating closely to ‘mission professionals’, provincial mission offices, mission boards and agencies.
  • being a focal point for rolling mission conferences & gatherings in the Anglican Communion.
  • being a point of reference for linking the mission bodies with wider ecumenical mission networks – to promote and enable ecumenical mission relationships at international level, while recognising that most ecumenical mission relationships happen at local and grass root level.
  • being a focus for the existing Anglican Communion Networks and any new Anglican Networks - thereby enabling co-ordination and sharing of information and experience among the networks and with other Communion mission agencies.
  • Promoting and enabling the sharing (and exchange) of resources for mission within the Communion - such as prayer, experience, training, personnel, knowledge/theologies, finances, strategies, case studies, stories, joys and pain, and standing in solidarity with those in challenging situations.
  • Serving the Anglican Instruments of Communion – particularly the Lambeth Conference [1], the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meetings.

The Mission Department was created in 1971  [2] but has recently been restructured  [3] and has been responsible for a number of Mission Commissions and had an overview of Companion Links and has produced other resources available on this web site.

 

Notes:

1. The agenda and content of the 2008 Lambeth Conference whose theme was 'Equipping Bishops to Fulfil Their Leadership Role in God's Mission', was very much shaped by the Communion's understanding of mission as central to the existence and life of the Church. In preparing for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Mission Department carried out a survey on mission and evangelism issues around the Communion and produced a booklet, Holistic Mission, out of which many Self Select Sessions were prepared for the bishops and the spouses at the Lambeth Conference.

2. Right from the first Anglican Consultative Council meeting (ACC-1 in 1971) in Nairobi (Kenya), Mission has been an important strand of the work of the Anglican Communion Office. At this first meeting, the ACC identified four themes, Unity and Ecumenical Affairs; the Church's role in Society; Order and organisation in the Anglican Church, and Mission and Evangelism. Mission has always run along side other themes through successive Lambeth conferences and other Communion gatherings.

3. The Mission and Evangelism Department was restructured after the Joint Standing Committee meeting passed a resolution in November 2008 to re-name the department as the  ‘Mission Department.’ This change reflects the holistic nature of God’s mission and the understanding that evangelism is an integral part of mission, and not separate from it. To ensure that the emphasis upon evangelism was not lost the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative was created as one of the strands of the Mission Department.