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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
USPG STEPHANIE MOONEY,CANON RUDDOCK AND BISHOP ROGER
Photo No. : P090703-1

LEICESTER SQ.CANON LIONEL AND REBECCA, BISHOP ROGER AND ALICE
Photo No. : P090703-2

CHARLIE CHAPLIN WITH ALEX AND CANON l SIMPKINS
Photo No. : P090703-3

 
Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza visits the USPG Mission Partner and also meets Canon Lionel and Mrs Rebecca Simpkins of Ipswich Diocese in London UK.
 
ANTSIRANANA 090703-1
July 3, 2009

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] SERMON PREACHED AT USPG CONFERENCE AT SWANWICK
http://www.dioceseofpretoria.org/documents/SERMON-USPGCONFERENCE-2008.doc.

4TH JULY 2008

“to equip God’s people for the work of his service, for the building up of the disfigured body of Christ …” Ephesians 4: 12-13 (RSV)

The theme of our conference suggests that there is a need to find new ways of advancing the work of empowering the church to engage the world with the Gospel. This is a challenge to the believers in the church to reflect seriously on the theology of mission – evangelism. This concern is not new to the believers and Disciples of Christ but it has become rather urgent in the 21st century because of the chaotic nature of our world today. Our world has, in many ways, become a dangerous place for human habitation because of our failure to be responsible stewards of the environment. The powers and principalities at work in the world today have as never before put so much pressure on all creation – human beings and other life supporting resources of the earth; the environment is under destruction, air is polluted, water is contaminated and food is inadequate. Life is threatened by diseases and wars.

We think of Karl Barth’s argument on ‘The Doctrine of Reconciliation’: where he argues that, “The aim of mission is not personal salvation but the consummation of all creation in Christ”. We may from this statement conclude that mission is about all creation and not just individual salvation, because it aims at the unity and reconciliation of all creation in Christ – who is both the means and the end of mission. The world in which we live and have our being lacks love, peace, compassion, care and just about everything that reveals God’s presence in the world. Many of our faithful in our pews often question the whereabouts of God when catastrophe strikes such as it happened in Myanmar, conflict in Kenya, Zimbabwe and more recently xenophobic violence in South Africa. Yet God is present and is fulfilling his purpose through the believers who seek to live Christ’s Gospel in the world. Unfortunately, the Church and more so our Communion is divided within itself and therefore unable to deal collectively with life threatening issues such as state engineered violent wars, incurable diseases such HIV and AIDS.

The task of equipping the Church for God’s mission today, therefore, demands a renewed call to the believers to re-examine their theological understanding of the great commission of Jesus Christ (Matt.28.18-20): “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember I am with you always, to the end of age.” Of course this commission is not just about preaching the gospel but engaging the world by placing the issues of peace and harmony, justice and righteousness, wholeness and sanctity of life on top of the Church’s agenda. As USPG says; “Mission is therefore ‘holistic’, responding to all of God’s liberating activity so that people may grow spiritually, thrive physically, and have a voice in an unjust world”. This I believe to be our petition when we pray; “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as is in heaven” (Matt 69-13).


I believe that, if we who are concerned with the state of affairs in the world today, re-appropriate the great commission with a clear theological understanding of the challenges before us as the Church, we would be able, as Paul says to the Ephesians; “to equip God’s people for the work of his service, for the building up of the disfigured body of Christ …” (Eph.4.12-13).