Mission - Commissions - IASCOME

IASCOME - Communion In Mission - Main Documents

New Developments in Mission Relationships - 'Flourishing in a myriad of ways'

The Anglican Communion is “connected through a web of relationships - of bishops, consultative bodies, companion dioceses, projects of common mission, engagement with ecumenical partners, that are the means and signs of common life.  This continues to flourish in a myriad of ways at the local as well as the national and international level[1].” These words from the Windsor Report summarise all too briefly what in fact gives the Communion life and energy – namely the connections and relationships that result from people meeting and engaging in mission in their local situations, supporting each other through prayer and presence. 

With the increase in travel and the growth of the Communion, there has been a remarkable multiplication in the web of connections that contribute to the sharing of the Gospel and building of the kingdom.  A report like this can only highlight changes and trends and suggest ways in which they may be enhanced.  In particular it can suggest ways in which the threads of the web can be developed and strengthened.
This chapter provides an analysis of the changes that have taken place in the contexts of global and Anglican Communion development over the past two decades, outlines major responses to these developments and concludes with suggestions for the future.

The Church’s agenda has always been set in the wider world because our Creator God is at work through the Spirit in the world calling for responses from a missionary church.  The Church is called to discern where God is at work and to incarnate the Gospel of the kingdom.  That discernment will include assessing when and where the Gospel affirms, challenges or seeks to transform culture.  Thus a Church (whether internationally, regionally or locally) that sees its calling to carry forward the work of Christ will need to listen to what God is saying and respond to that agenda.  This chapter therefore begins with a brief outline of recent major changes and developments in the global context. 

Changes in the Global Context

Over the last quarter century, there have been major changes in the global context which can be listed as follows:

  • Globalisation reflected in increased speed of communication (in all forms) and movement of resources of people, goods and money.  It has also increased the gap within and across nations between the economically and technologically rich and poor.  The role of the internet for those with access to it has eased communication dramatically;
  • Global warming and humanity’s impact on the environment, exacerbated by the demands of industrially developed and developing countries, has made climate change and humankind’s care of the planet a long-term priority issue;
  • The rapid growth of cities and particularly the rise of mega cities (population of over ten million) pose great challenges for churches which originated from rural settings;
  • HIV and AIDS is spreading with increased rapidity (and its effects have been compounded by the incidence of malaria and tuberculosis);
  • The increase in internal conflicts often arising in contexts of poverty and ethnic difference, the starkest example being the 1994 genocide in Rwanda;
  • The continuation of extreme poverty with over one billion people living on less than one US dollar a day;
  • The rise of extremist Islam, highlighted by the terrorist attacks on the USA (September 11, 2001) has emphasised the significance of religion and faith in world affairs, but also has raised fears of international terrorism associated with religious ideology;
  • The USA has become the single global power, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, although new economic power blocs are emerging in the European Union, China, India and South East Asia.

These changes are having their impact on the Anglican Communion, for example in increased travel and electronic-communication; the movement of peoples; the emergence of Communion level task priorities and networks to share information and co-ordinate action (e.g. on HIV and AIDS and the environment); in raising peace and justice issues to which responses are required and in influencing the whole mission agenda of the Communion.

Changes in the Anglican Context

The most substantial change has been the significant growth in size, sense of identity and autonomy of the Anglican and United Churches in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America.  This has been reflected in increased meetings of the leadership of what are known as the ‘churches of the global South’.  Examples of this include: the way responses to issues were co-ordinated in preparation for the 1998 Lambeth Conference; the organising of the All Africa Conference on HIV and AIDS; the organising of the first All-Africa meeting of African Bishops in 2004; various consultations organised by the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA); and meetings that have developed around issues of sexuality in the Communion. 

At a pan-Anglican level the two most sustained and imaginative Communion-wide initiatives of the last twenty-five years were the Partners in Mission Consultation process and the Decade of Evangelism.  Although both have formally ended now, their influence still continues.  The following sections examine the development of formal and informal networks within the Communion arising out of these two initiatives.

The Partners in Mission  (PIM) Consultation process

Partners in Mission was a continuing process by which the Churches of the Communion contributed to each other’s local mission.  It assisted churches in sharpening their mission priorities and setting goals.  Each Province or Church of the Communion invited Anglican and ecumenical partners to a formal consultation in order to assist them to set their mission priorities and the help they would need from others.  Lessons learned at these consultations also helped the partners in their own planning processes.  These large-scale consultations died out for several reasons.  Provinces are now much larger (at least in the global south) and consultations would be too complicated and expensive to organise and co-ordinate.  Secondly, a new generation of leaders has taken over within the Communion who were not part of the development of the original PIM process. 

The agencies which largely drove Partners in Mission (national structures of churches like the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, and the mission agencies of churches like the Church of England) have found that their resources have decreased and their own policies have changed, as a number, at least, have put more stress on mission ‘from everywhere to everywhere’ and recognised that their own countries in the ‘north’ should be included in their mission activities.  More importantly, a wide range of other connections has grown up linking parishes, dioceses and individuals across the Communion.  Many of these new links, which have made very positive impacts on the church’s mission, were established as a result of the PIM process.

The Decade of Evangelism

The 1988 Lambeth Conference call to make the 1990s a Decade of Evangelism was taken up with energy right across the Communion and at grass root levels.  The Decade helped to refocus the Communion on its missionary calling to build the kingdom and share the Gospel.  It led to the highly significant Communion-wide gathering in Kanuga (USA) at the mid-point of the Decade in 1995.  It also added to the move away from the PIM process.  Other issues, most notably, concerns about human sexuality, have consumed much of the Communion leadership’s energy in recent times. [2]

In summary the world has changed.  Times have moved on but the call to mission, the call to Christians to participate in Christ’s mission of justice and joy has not changed.  What has changed is the way this call is expressed and the way connections are developing across the Communion.

Companion Diocese Links

Diocesan Companion Links have expanded greatly.  The 1998 Lambeth Conference called for every diocese of the communion to have some link with another part of the communion by 2008.  Their purpose may be expressed in different ways but at the heart, the aim is to help members of the linked dioceses to grow in their discipleship of Christ, by getting to know and learn from each other through experience of each other’s situations, through prayer and friendship.  These diocesan companion links have led to a greater exchange of people in short-term visits, in mission teams, in prayer and in fellowship.  The following stories illustrate the power of Companion Diocese Links.

Link between the Church of Melanesia and the Diocese of Chester, Church of England

There are many positive features of our partnership relations.  We have come to learn and appreciate one another as we are.  Chester Diocese has supported the Church of Melanesia more than ever before.  Visits both ways have become more frequent.  Recently a few English parishes have begun links with parishes in Melanesia.  We hope there will be many more in the future.  The Church of Melanesia has benefited from this link and would like to continue in the future.  To foster the relationship we have sent Bishop Willie Pwaisiho to work as a Rector in one of the parishes of Chester Diocese.  Also, teams of Melanesian Brothers continue to visit Chester Diocese on mission from time to time.

Some people in Chester Diocese have become Companions of the Melanesian Brothers (Friends of the Brothers) and have helped raise funds for them as well as sponsoring a few Brothers to study theology in Chester.  Another tangible result has been Chester’s funding of the Rest House for the Melanesian Brothers in Honiara (capital of the Solomon Islands).  Income from this property has greatly enhanced the ministry and mission work of the Brothers, both in the islands and overseas.
The Church of Melanesia in our simple, humble way offers Chester Diocese an open field for studies.  Recently there have been theological students who have come to study about spirituality in our four Religious Communities (the Melanesian Brotherhood; the Sister of Melanesia; the Sisters of the Church and the Franciscan Friars).  Some have come to learn why our Religious Communities are thriving, while those in the North are closing down.  There have been other people who have come to learn about high church liturgy in our local context.

We are now so privileged and are encouraged to host many more clergy, lay people and students coming to the Church of Melanesia.  They come to see a young vibrant church, which they are proud to have supported.  From this link we now realise that we are not isolated, forgotten and lost in the Anglican Communion, but we are a part of the wide Anglican family.
The Rt Revd Richard Naramana, Bishop of Ysabel, Solomon Islands

South-North-South: A New Experience of Companionship

In 2000, a three-way companionship in mission began between the Diocese of Bor, Sudan, the Diocese of Brasília, Brazil and the Diocese of Indianapolis, United States.  This companionship has created the possibility for these three dioceses, two from the Global South and one from the Global North, to share their experiences of hope and their dreams of mission.  It has deepened their relationship of mutual understanding.

The first contacts happened during the visit in April 2000 of the Bishops of Brasília and Indianapolis, together with people from these two dioceses, to the Diocese of Bor.  In July of the same year the Bishops of Bor and Indianapolis visited the Diocese of Brasília.  On each visit they had opportunities to know and to live the reality of the different churches in their local contexts.

The July visit was intended to take the form of a ten-day “Encounter of Young People” from the three dioceses.  Unfortunately the Sudanese were not able to obtain entry visas to Brazil.  Nevertheless for ten days young people from Indianapolis and Brasília, with their bishops, gathered to study the Bible, share the Eucharist, celebrate the happiness of life, engage in mission, share life-changing experiences and build bonds of affection and unity.

Particularly special were the three days that the young people and their bishops spent in a settlement for landless people.  They accompanied the people in their search for justice and their struggle for land, and at the end celebrated together.  This experience, a new engagement in mission, left a mark on the lives of all who took part.

The new companionship between Bor-Indianapolis-Brasília has strengthened our understanding that we are part of Christ's Body.  The mutuality of our relationship, our respect for each other, our honesty with each other and our common service have deepened our understanding of what it means to be one in Christ.
The Rt Revd Maurício Andrade, Bishop of Brasilia, Brazil

Companionship between the Dioceses of Manicaland and Lebombo
The link between the Dioceses of Lebombo (Mozambique) and Manicaland (Zimbabwe) has been established in recognition of the pioneer missionary evangelist, Bernard Mizeki, who came to Zimbabwe from Mozambique via South Africa in 1890.  Bernard was martyred by the local people who did not accept his mission.  More than a century later, Christians in Zimbabwe have realised and come to appreciate that Bernard was a gift of God from Mozambique.  The two dioceses border each other.

The Diocese of Manicaland organised a pilgrimage to visit Bernard Mizeki’s birth place.  Eighty Zimbabwean Christians were hosted by the Diocese of Lebombo.  In return an equal number of Christians from Lebombo have been coming to Manicaland to participate in the yearly June 18th festival to remember and celebrate Bernard Mizeki.  As a result of this contact, local parishes have taken up contacts among themselves, especially where illegal border crossing have created hostility between the two nations.  The border crossing hostilities have presented the church with a great opportunity for mission in working to reconcile those caught up in the conflicts.
The Rt Revd Sebastian Bakare, Bishop of Manicaland, Zimbabwe

Virtual Bible Study though Diocesan Links

In June 2004, Christians in the Dioceses of Bradford and Salisbury (England) joined with others from the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia (USA) to form a ‘virtual Bible study’ – a unique way of studying a Bible passage that gave each group the perspective of different cultures.

Both English dioceses have close links with the Dioceses of Northern Sudan and Southwestern Virginia.  Bridget Rees, the Links Officer for Bradford says, “The Virtual Bible Study is an excellent example of what our diocesan links with the world church are about – people in different situations exploring separately and together what God is saying to us in our own situations as well as together in the world.  This method of Bible Study is used much in the so-called ‘third world’ – ordinary people reading the text and letting it speak to them directly – emotionally as well as intellectually – rather than worrying too much about what theologians have said about the passage.”

She added, “The groups studied Acts 2 during the week which began with Pentecost Sunday.  They reflected on what God is saying to us here and now in this passage in our particular situation.  Then a summary of each group’s study was circulated among the other groups who then read it again having seen how others read God’s word.”
Diocese of Bradford, England

Cross Border Links in East Africa

In the early 1960s, thousands of Rwandan Tutsi refugees crossed into Tanzania and settled in what is today the Diocese of Kagera.  They were educated and naturalised in the country.  The Tanzanian Church ministered to them, including providing training for clergy.

In 1994 following the genocide the Rwandan Government was overthrown by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and the refugees returned home.  The Diocese of Kagera lost 16 clergy among those who returned to Rwanda.  However, the crossing over of these clergy has helped to develop a link between the Dioceses of Kagera (Tanzania) and Kibungo (Rwanda).  Bishops and clergy visit and invite each other to participate in formal and informal ministries.

In addition the Diocese of Kagera has been helping with theological training and even ordaining clergy who eventually return to lead parishes in Rwanda.
The Revd Canon Fareth Sendegeya, Tanzania

Alongside the formal diocesan links like those described above, informal connections between dioceses and parishes have also increased as people have met.

Networks in the Anglican Communion

Networks within the Communion, linking those working on common issues, began to develop in the early 1980s and were originally intended to be self-funding.  There are a number of networks, both official[3] and informal.  They have taken particular aspects of mission to a more focussed and detailed level than would be possible for IASCOME, which was established to maintain a comprehensive overview of mission within the Communion.

The networks are intended to link the Anglican Communion Office staff and other interested members of churches engaged on the relevant issues.  Formerly the Director for Mission and Evangelism (then titled Director for Mission and Social Concerns) provided some staff support for many of the networks.

The formal networks recognised by the Anglican Consultative Council include:
The Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN)
The Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN)
The Network for Inter Faith Concerns in the Anglican Communion (NIFCON) with a part-time staff based in the Anglican Communion Office.
The Inter Anglican Family Network (IAFN) with a budget and part-time staff member and a quarterly newsletter circulated through Anglican World.
The Inter-Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN)
Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC)
The Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) which met before the 2002 Johannesburg summit on the environment and set up a continuing body with a further meeting in April 2005.

The networks not accountable to the Anglican Consultative Council include:
HIV and AIDS network in Africa.  It includes all thirteen provinces in Africa (including the Diocese of Egypt).
MEGAN –Mission and Evangelism Global Action Networking – an electronic network (e-network) communicating through the internet.
The Network for Anglicans in Mission and Evangelism (NAME) established particularly for bishops in Section II of the 1998 Lambeth Conference to encourage bishops in mission and evangelism, and to assist in building capacity in dioceses and provinces.
The Anglican Contextual Theologians Network, theologians from around the Communion interested in the diverse cultural and geographic contexts of contemporary Anglicanism.[4]
ANITEPAM (the African Network of Institutions of Theological Education Preparing Anglicans for Ministry).
The Task Group on Trade and Poverty.
PITOT – a youth electronic network that meets online and so far has representatives from ten provinces.

A number of mission agencies have developed networks of co-ordination among themselves.  Some campaign networks have also developed around issues in human sexuality prior to and following the consecration of Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire.

Ecumenical networking developments – an Example from India

The Church of South India was formed out of 11 different denominations in 1947 to be followed by the Church of North India, formed from six denominations in November 1971.  Efforts are now being made to bring the CSI, CNI and Mar Thoma Church together under one name.  This has not yet succeeded but there are increased joint efforts.

One of the recent developments is that the three Churches are planning to bring into one fold mission organisations like the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, the National Missionary Society, the Evangelical Fellowship and others.  A small group met in Delhi in February 2005 to plan a large mission conference scheduled for July 2005.  This conference will include representation from CMS (Britain); the USA and other parts of the world. 
The Revd Pearl Prashad, Church of North India

Other forms of networking

It is also worth noting that email, the internet and the Anglican Cycle of Prayer all help develop Anglican relationships and interconnectedness thus contributing to a sense of Anglican identity. 

Other Ways Mission Relationships are formed in the Anglican Communion

Day to day life

The heart of the witness of the Church is the day-to-day presence, life and witness of lay Christians in their places of residence, work and the neighbourhoods where they live, and the networks with which they are associated.  The Christian faith is a way of life rather than an organisation and Christians live out that life in the wider society.  The resources of the organised Church, its worship and teaching, need to focus on strengthening and enabling Christians to witness in their daily lives.

Congregational life and other forms of Christian gathering

The lives of individual Christians are strengthened and resourced by their lives together in many different forms of Christian community focused around the Bible and the Eucharist.  Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken in Britain of the ‘mixed economy’ Church – one in which the life of the parish congregation is held alongside the many other ways in which Christians meet to sustain and nourish their faith and discipleship of Jesus Christ – for as he puts it: “‘If ‘church’ is what happens when people encounter the Risen Jesus and commit themselves to sustaining and deepening that encounter in their encounter with each other, there is plenty of rhythm and style, so long as we have ways of identifying the same living Christ at the heart of every expression of Christian life in common.”’[5]

Movements of people

Movements of people have always been of great significance in the spread of the faith from the day of Pentecost and the scattering of the Church following the martyrdom of Stephen in the Book of Acts.[6] Movements may be forced or natural. 

Forced movements are caused by civil war, famine and natural disaster, and have displaced growing numbers of people, both within countries and across borders.  Sudanese Christians, for example, have migrated to many countries, setting up congregations in Uganda, Congo, Canada, the USA and Britain, to name just a few countries.  In Britain many refugees seek asylum because of fear of persecution in their home countries.  Government policy has been to disperse them to different parts of the country.  Often local churches have come to assist them and as a result have had to engage for the first time with people from other countries – a good number of them Christian. 

Natural movements include Christians drawn to other countries for reasons of economics.  One example is Filipinos employed as domestic workers in households in many parts of the world including Saudi Arabia, Britain, the USA, Japan, Hong Kong and Cyprus.  This is part of a national policy to use the people resource of the Philippines to produce foreign currency for the development of the Philippines and to meet interest payments on international debt.  Other examples are the mass internal movement of Southern Africans to cities like Johannesburg to find work, the movement of various European nationalities across Europe, and the flow of migrant workers across European borders to undertake menial tasks in agriculture and food production.  Alongside such movements there are also the worldwide movements of people with professional skills.

Christians are caught up in these wider people movements and take their faith with them, establishing new Christian communities in the places where they settle.

Missionary bishops and new dioceses

One of the notable features of the growth of the Church in Africa south of the Sahara has been the consecration of bishops charged with starting new missionary dioceses, often with no resources other than themselves and their people.[7] The trend has been most prolific in Nigeria, which has started 21 more dioceses since the original ten missionary dioceses were formed at the beginning of the Decade of Evangelism.  And there are other examples in Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, Central Africa and Southern Africa.

Responding to social need and injustice.
Although not new, a feature of the last twenty years has been coalitions formed to address serious issues of social need.  Many of these are ecumenical or inter agency.  A good example is the response to the crisis caused by the spread of HIV and AIDS.  In many countries, issues of injustice and social need lead to Christian action.  In Zimbabwe, for example, there has been a marked increase in social commitment over the past ten years with congregations sourcing food aid, money and clothing to assist the destitute and those displaced for political reasons.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country racked by civil war, the Church at a national level is involved in health, education and agricultural development in so far as it can be, but it has found that with the withdrawal of foreign missionaries, financial support from overseas sources has dropped significantly.  The Sudan Relief Aid (SUDRA) is the development agency of the Episcopal Church operating as a fully Sudanese organisation co-ordinating the Church’s relief work in the South, in Khartoum, and most recently in Darfur.  Stories of some of this work can be found in Chapter Four.

Pastoral chaplaincy work among peoples who have moved.
One of the features of the movement of peoples is that it often proves difficult for new arrivals to be assimilated into the congregations and structures of churches in the receiving country.  Barriers of language and culture have led to the growth of separate Anglican congregations such as Congolese French-speaking congregations in England, French-speaking Rwanda, Burundi and Haitian congregations in Canada, Nigerian congregations in the USA, Cantonese-speaking congregations in Canada, and English-speaking chaplaincy congregations in a number of non-English speaking countries, (the latter being the latest phase in the long history of chaplaincy to expatriates and their descendants carried out first by the Church of England[8]).  Different patterns emerge in these situations, including separate congregations based on language or culture: fellowships of people who are integrated into local congregations but wish to meet from time with those of their own language group, cultural or national groups; and chaplains invited by a local bishop to pastor a distinct language congregation.

These developments raise significant questions about our understanding of church mission policy, which we recommend should be explored by the next IASCOME.

New mission movements and programs

If one of the historical impetuses driving the evolution of the Anglican Communion was the role of voluntary mission societies, so new, contemporary societies and patterns of voluntary initiative are emerging and will continue to emerge within the Communion.  Voluntary initiatives represent the coming together of Christian people to undertake specific tasks.  Recent examples include the Bangladeshi Mission Church, and the Anglican Village Mission Movement in Malaysia, to name just two.  In Sudan, Revival Movements of lay people from the Episcopal Church, particularly those involving the Mothers’ Union and young people, arising from the Decade of Evangelism, have formed churches in new areas particularly in northern Sudan, to be followed by clergy and bishops.

Following the Provincial Mission and Evangelism Co-ordinators Consultation in May 2002 and the Mission Organisations Conference in Cyprus in February 2003 a network of mission organisations and practitioners was established under the acronym MEGAN (Mission and Evangelism Global Action and Networking) to share information and stories electronically.  There is scope for further developing MEGAN.

Mission 21, a mission program of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has opened up new opportunities for mission throughout Scotland.  The program has been adapted for use in the Diocese of Meath and Kildare (Church of Ireland), the Diocese of Kumi (Uganda)[9], the Diocese of Guatemala, and most recently, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

Projects for sharing and structures for co-ordination

Effective witness is determined by the local context in which the church is situated.  Although there are global trends, the call to incarnational presence and mission means that congregations, dioceses, national churches and mission movements and organisations shaped by their understanding of their Christian calling, will be responding to needs and opportunities in their local contexts.  That makes for rich variety.  The Global Anglicanism Project (GAP) is engaged in a survey of the provinces of the Communion to identify some of the richness and characteristics of the Anglican Communion and make that available for sharing.[10]

As movements and mission organisations multiply, structures are needed to encourage co-ordination, sharing of information and decisions about joint action.  In England, the Partnership for World Mission (PWM) has provided that forum since 1978.  A significant development has been a covenant of co-operation signed by the heads of the ten mission agencies in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury as witness.  In the United States, the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission (EPGM) provides a forum not just for mission agencies, but also for dioceses, parishes and canonical bodies of the church, and is greatly assisted by electronic communication between annual meetings.

In countries that lack those forums bishops have a key role to play.  As leaders in mission their task includes the facilitation, co-ordination and direction for mission in their dioceses and provinces, and to ensure that mission agencies and voluntary movements are included in that co-ordination.[11]

Regional and Communion-wide gatherings

Occasional Communion-wide gatherings provide key opportunities for networking and reflection.  They also support and supplement the informal networking that can take place by email and other means of communication.  Recent examples include the mid-point Review of the Decade of Evangelism at Kanuga, USA in 1995, which helped develop links between provinces in the Global South: the Provincial Mission and Evangelism Co-ordinators Conference in Nairobi in 2002: the Mission Organisations Conference in Cyprus in 2003[12]: and the mission conferences for bishops that NAME has held in different parts of the world.  One of the roles of a future mission commission would be to continue to sponsor such gatherings as key moments for the establishment of links and connections of many sorts.

Mission links resulting from IASCOME meetings

The meetings of IASCOME in Kempton Park, South Africa, (2001), St Andrews, Scotland (2002), Runaway Bay, Jamaica (2003) and Larnaca, Cyprus (2005) each bore fruit with regard to the emergence and blossoming of relations between individuals, groups, congregations and dioceses within the Anglican Communion.

At the Johannesburg meeting the Commission was exposed to work being done among people with HIV and AIDS.  As a result, 2000 AIDS badges were bought for $1.00 each and sold for £2.00 each in Britain.  All income from this project went to the township where the badges were made. 

The St Andrews meeting led to connections between the Dioceses of Cape Coast (Ghana) and Edinburgh (Scotland).  The Scottish Mothers’ Union links with Manicaland in Zimbabwe were strengthened through increased information, commitment to prayer and financial support for widows’ projects.  Following the 2004 South Asian Tsunami, the Scottish Episcopal Church focused its 2005 Lent Appeal on children’s work in Sri Lanka about which it had heard during the Commission visit. 

Following the Runaway Bay (Jamaica) meeting the Franciscan Friars of Melanesia began to build closer links with the Church in Jamaica.  Two brothers have since travelled to join the sole Franciscan already living on the island to form a community.  The Church in Papua New Guinea (PNG) invited an HIV and AIDS worker from Zimbabwe to lead seminars in PNG as a result of conversations held in Jamaica.  The Diocese of Ysabel, in Melanesia, is establishing a link with the Diocese of Northern Luzon in the Philippines to share personnel, prayer and experience.


A Covenant for Communion in Mission

Although the Partners in Mission process and the Decade of Evangelism have come to an end, they gave cohesion to the Communion and identified principles[13] to guide relationships in mission.  Their influence and effects continue.  While there does not seem to be much interest in communion-wide programs at the present time, what can be helpful is a fresh articulation of the principles and values that can serve to guide our cross-cultural and cross boundary relationships in mission and undergird our mission life as a Communion.  This is what our proposal for a Covenant for Communion in Mission offers.

The appointment of IASCOME II[14]

The Anglican Communion has been well served over the years by its various mission and evangelism oversight bodies, beginning with the first Mission Issues & Strategies Group, MISAG I, followed by MISAG II, MISSIO, and IASCOME.[15] These groups, committees and commissions have enabled the Anglican Communion to follow the changing patterns of mission relationships over the years, to appreciate the breadth and depth of our mission response to God’s call, and to offer some measure of guidance in an ever-changing world context.  In order for this work to continue, we recommend that new members be appointed, to serve under a revised mandate. 

Communion-wide Consultations on Mission and Evangelism

A key role for the Anglican Consultative Council is to maintain an overview of the ways in which the many different parts of the Communion are expressing their relationships in mission, encouraging wider engagement with society and sharing learnings.  It is through the struggles of such engagement with the wider world, participating in the mission of God to all people, that the Spirit gives new life and energy.  That is why gatherings that include a wide range of people are important milestones and generators of new initiatives in the life of the Communion.  We propose that there be further Consultations of Provincial Evangelism Co-ordinators and of Mission Organisations during the term of the next IASCOME.

A Pan-Anglican Gathering.
IASCOME and its predecessor MISSIO both viewed the proposal for an Anglican Gathering in 2008 in association with the Lambeth Conference as a highly significant and worthwhile development.  While understanding the reasons for the cancellation of the proposed 2008 gathering in Cape Town, the Commission was saddened by the decision and strongly commends that consideration be given for a gathering in 2013.[16]

Questions for Discussion

  • What cross-cultural or cross-border links are you aware of in your church? What has been the influence of these relationships in the life of your church?
  • In what ways is your church connected to any of the formal or less formal networks named in this chapter, and how have these connections affected the life of your church?
  • Discuss any other networks, coalitions or other mission relationships that are important in the life of your church.

1. The Windsor Report 2004 (Anglican Communion Office: London, 2004) p. 21.

2.  Surveys and assessments of the Partners in Mission process and of the Decade of Evangelism can be found in Towards Dynamic Mission (London: Anglican Communion Office, 1992) pp.21-29 and in E.  Johnson and J.  Clark (ed.) Anglicans in Mission: A Transforming Journey (London: SPCK, 2000) pp.  63-67.

3. ‘Official networks’ are those which have gained formal recognition by the Anglican Consultative Council.

4. See Appendix 2 for more details.

5. Mission-shaped Church (London; Church House Publishing, 2004) p 7

6. Migration movements and the discovery of God form a major theme in the Bible including Adam and Eve’s migration from the garden of Eden; Abraham’s journey from Ur to Canaan; Joseph to Egypt; the Hebrew people out of Egypt et al.

7. This represented the re-discovery of the role of missionary bishops first contributed to the Communion by the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) in the first half of the nineteenth century.  See Timothy Yates,” The Idea of a ‘Missionary Bishop’ in the Spread of the Anglican Communion in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Anglican Studies Vol.2. No. 1 (June 2004): 53-54.

8. The first such chaplain was sent by the Bishop of London to St Petersburg with the Muscovy Company in the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603).

9. See Appendix 12

10. See Appendix 3 for more details on the Global Anglicanism Project.

11. For a longer discussion of co-ordinating structures and examples in practice see Anglicans in Mission: A Transforming Journey pp 61-2 and p 78.

12. Refer to Chapter 4 and Appendix 5 for details.

13. For the Ten Principles of Partnership see Towards Dynamic Mission (pp. 25-28).

14. See Chapter 7 for more details.

15. See Appendix 1 for full details.

16. See Appendix 7 for more details.