Mission - Commissions - MISSIO
Ten Principles of Partnership
- Local initiative
'The responsibility for mission in any place belongs primarily to the
church in that place' (ACC-2 p53). Thus the initiative for establishing
a new missionary venture in any given place belongs to the local church. Partnership
therefore implies respect for the authority of the local church.
Mutuality is underscored by a deep sense of open and joint accountability. 'To
be open to one another as friends on the basis of common commitment, mutual
trust, confession and forgiveness, keeping one another informed of all
plans and programmes and submitting ourselves to mutual accountability
and correction' (Sharing Life - El Escorial - Guidelines for sharing: 1987
World Council of Churches, p29)
Mutuality in partnership affirms the oneness of the people of God, their
unity and inter-relatedness as the children of one Father. In this
relationship each person and community is recognised, valued, affirmed
In decision making, mutuality means sharing power. For example,
major decisions affecting partners (in the South), should not be taken
without their participation in the decision whether by their presence when
it is made or by prior consultation.
- Responsible stewardship
Responsible stewardship in partnership means that partners see their
resources as jointly owned and held in trust by each member for the common
good (I Cor 12:7). The giving, receiving and use of resources
must be controlled by judiciousness, selflessness, maturity and responsibility
(II Cor 8:9).
God's gifts to any one part of the universal Church are given in trust
for the mission of the whole church. No mission agency, diocese,
province or national Church `owns' its resources.
'Interdependence means to represent to one another our needs and problems
in relationships where there are no absolute donors, or absolute recipients,
but all have needs to be met and gifts to give' (WCC Ibid p29)
We need each other. We are incomplete and cannot be a called the
Church of God if the diversity implicit in our catholicity is over taken
by a parochial, cultural or racial, homogeneity. In practice, three
- every cultural group has something to give or something others can
learn from them;
- all cultures need redeeming and therefore no culture can be said to
be fundamentally Christian and thus superior to others;
- every one has needs that can only be met by others. There is
an African saying addressed to arrogant and selfish rich people: 'no one
buries himself - if he does one of his hands will be outside the grave'.
- Cross fertilisation
Cross-fertilisation requires a willingness to learn from one another. It
produces an enrichment that results from being open to one another's ideas,
experiences and respecting one another's cultural and contextual peculiarities
in a process of give and take. `If we once acted as though there
were only givers who had nothing to receive and receivers who had nothing
to give, the oneness of the missionary task must now make us both givers
and receivers' (ACC-2 p53).
A healthy partnership calls for integrity at all levels. It involves
a recognition that all partners are essentially equal. This implies
a commitment to be real and honest. We do not always have to say
`yes' to everything the other partner says for fear of offending or out
of a false sense of guilt. A healthy partnership requires that we
take each other seriously, raise creative and loving challenges that could
lead to positive re-evaluation of long held traditions and assumptions. The
result is a healthier and more enriching relationship. This includes
both listening to each other and being willing to repent and
change where we have been in error.
Transparency involves openness and honesty with one another. It
also involves risks. The risk of being hurt. The risk of being
misunderstood and the risk of being taken advantage of.
Information needs to be fully shared with one another; not only information
connected with our specific relationship with one another but information
about all of our relationships. Full disclosure of financial information
to one another is one of the marks of a transparent relationship.
We are part of each other. We are committed to one another in
Christ's body. What touches one member touches the others. Thus
no one member must be left to suffer alone. In many non-western cultures,
group cohesion and solidarity are thought to be central to existence and
crucial to the progress and survival of society. In spite of their
strong belief in the rights and individuality of the individual, the Igbo
of Nigeria, for example, argue that `igwe bu ike' (`our
strength has its source and sustenance in group solidarity'). In
parts of East Africa, the Harambee motif has been successfully
harnessed in political, social and religious spheres to achieve astounding
results. Missiologically speaking the church needs to act in solidarity
'so that the world may see and believe' (John 17:21).
- Meeting together
The concept of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body
of Christ implies that the Church in every place should find a forum for
periodic evaluation, self-assessment and cross-cultural fertilisation. Thus
while a PIM Consultation is not the fulfilment of a PIM vision, it is essential
to it (ACC-2 p53). We need to meet together.
- Acting ecumenically
Our mission relationships as Anglicans must be seen as part of the wider
mission relationships of all Christians. In this Decade MISAG-II
underlines the importance of the Lambeth call for Anglicans to explore
ways of being involved in mission co-operatively with
other Christians. We need the stimulation, the critique and the encouragement
of sisters and brothers in Christ of other traditions. A constant
question before us must be, to what extent are those of other traditions
invited to participate in advising and working with us in our outreach?
Mission Issues and Strategy Advisory Group 11 (MISAG !!)
Towards Dynamic Mission: Renewing the Church for Mission. 1993