Mission - Commissions - MISSIO

Appendix A

Memmorandum Re Anglican Congress


DATE:             April 22, 1999

TO:                  The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

FROM:            MISSIO: The Mission Commission of the Anglican Communion



Dear Canon Peterson:

We are most grateful for your presence with us here in Harare, at this the final meeting of our mandate. Among the many subjects we have prayed over and discussed, we have taken particular interest in the proposal for another Anglican Congress, which we understand may take place in the year 2003. If carried forward, this would be only the fourth such congress in the history of the Anglican Communion – indeed, the Third Anglican Congress was held more than a generation ago. That congress, meeting in Toronto, will forever be known for having given birth to the rich concept of MRI – Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ. We believe that a fourth congress offers the promise of an equally fruitful summation of the mission of God in our time, into the service of which we are each commissioned by baptism.

In the interest, then, of seeing the proposal for a fourth Anglican congress move forward, we of MISSIO wish to offer the following thoughts and suggestions:

  1. Theme: Meeting in Ely in 1996, MISSIO reaffirmed Resolution 44 of ACC-9 on the Decade of Evangelism, in particular section (g), which called for “a significant Communion-wide celebration of the renewal of our commitment to mission and evangelism.” MISSIO urged that this theme be integral to the proposed congress. The 1998 Lambeth Conference, in turn, urged that the momentum of the Decade of Evangelism not be lost.
  2. Planning Team: At our Recife meeting, in 1997, MISSIO stated again our Ely resolution, noting the profound missiological significance of the Toronto Congress in its formulation of MRI. We expressed the hope that when a future planning committee is named, those named reflect the diversity of the Communion as well as its missionary experience. MISSIO offered to make available some of its own members for the task of planning.
  3. Mission and Purpose Statement: You shared with us here in Harare notes toward a statement of mission and purpose for a fourth Anglican congress, prepared last year by ACC member Judith Conley and yourself. MISSIO wishes particularly to underline your conviction that a clear, strong and easily understandable mission/purpose statement should be written, a plan with achievable goals and objectives. Recalling earlier congresses in Minneapolis and Toronto, you and Mrs. Conley stated: “The vision which comes out of the Congress must be owned and understood by everyone. The Anglican Congress should engage and include ‘all sorts and conditions’ of people. The real test will be to ask how does this Congress benefit the Communion as a global church.”
  4. Cost: MISSIO understands that a Communion-wide congress coming mid-way between Lambeth Conferences will require significant efforts to organize and fund. With regard to the latter requirement, we believe the congress can be largely self-funded; that, given sufficient time and encouragement, most if not all diocesan delegations will raise the funds necessary for their participation. For this reason, we hope planners will keep their focus on the promise and opportunity the congress will present and not be unduly deterred by financial considerations.
  5. Factors to Balance: Along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, MISSIO wishes to see strong lay participation in the congress. Gender and age balance must not be neglected – the congress will be a formative experience for youth. Provision should be made for the participation of voluntary movements, religious orders and specialist ministries.
  6. Other Models: MISSIO urges the planners to review other large Christian gatherings for innovative and practical models. We think of the German Kirchentag and the gatherings of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (of the World Council of Churches) in San Antonio, Texas and Salvador, Brazil, especially the provisions for accredited observers/visitors and a preparatory process for the participants.
  7. Prior Conference: Finally, we shared with you our expectation that a conference of mission agencies (synodical, provincial and voluntary) will convene by the end of 2001. Fifteen years after a similar gathering in Brisbane, the conference will reflect on the roles and responsibilities of the mission agencies, as well as promote networking and mutual understanding among the older agencies and newer expressions of mission structures. MISSIO hopes congress planners will see the outcome of the mission agencies conference as informing and enriching the Fourth Anglican Congress, as we believe it will.


As MISSIO completes its five-year mandate, we will pass on to our successor commission our desire that it commits itself to making the next Anglican congress a reality and a success.