One of the greatest joys of fellowship and sharing in the Anglican Communion is through the many Companion Relationships among provinces, dioceses, parishes and cathedrals. As well as an increase in the number of links being made, many existing links are strengthening their relationships through partnership visits, projects and mission outreach programmes.
There are many stories of mission and evangelism to be told as well as sharing ideas, strategies and lessons learnt from each other through companionships and the sharing of resources. If you have a story to tell, why not share it with other Companion Diocesan Links around the Communion through the Anglican Communion web site. Send your story to Marjorie Murphy, and it can be shared on this website.
Director for Mission and Evangelism
A new Diocesan Link was formed between the Diocese of Monmouth, Wales and the Diocese of The Highveld, Southern Africa in November 2003. Click here for the details of their agreement.
Both English dioceses have close links with the dioceses of Sudan and Southwestern Virginia. Bridget Rees, the Links Officer for the Bradford Diocese says, "The Virtual Bible study is an excellent example of what our diocesan links with the world church are about - people in different situations, with different experiences and expectations 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."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.
Some time ago the Diocese of Lichfield enjoyed mission programmes with their diocesan links from Malaysia, Canada, South Africa and Germany. The diocese reports: 'Mostly lay people from these dioceses came, not for a familiar 'exchange visit', but actually to lead mission weekends in parishes all over the diocese. This involved hosting overseas mission teams, speaking at Alpha suppers, doing open-air street evangelism, 'Any Questions?' evenings in local pubs, visiting prisons and hospitals, speaking at harvest suppers and guest services. Having a group of Malaysians or South Africans staying in the parish raised the profile of the church in the local community and opened many doors, giving rise to photo opportunities for local papers and interviews on local radio. Some of the best opportunities to break new ground came in invitations from local schools, who gladly seized the offer of help with the multicultural part of their curriculum. Many church members in the diocese also found their own faith refreshed and renewed by hosting and meeting their visitors. Many wrote afterwards that their Sunday worship had been transformed, and that learning to worship with their bodies as well as their lips had been 'a foretaste of heaven'. They were challenged by their visitors' freedom in talking about their faith, and willingness to pray at every occasion. - 'Why do you in England not give thanks before you eat?'Mission partners themselves were changed by the experience. Women from Malaysia were allowed to lead worship and administer the chalice in England, having never had that opportunity at home. A lady from Canada wrote (after a previous visit), 'Before I came to England I had never dared to speak in public about my faith. When I got to Lichfield I found I could, and now I am back in Canada I still can!'