Thursday, October 04, 2007

October 2007

Dear Friends


As many of you will be aware, Bishop Thabo Makgoba (47) of Grahamstown has been elected to take over from Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. He takes up his position from January of next year. His election marks a new era for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, and we ask for your prayers for +Thabo and his family, the Diocese of Grahamstown as they seek new leadership, and our Anglican Province as we move forward into our future.

Mission & Evangelism: 5 Marks

As you may be becoming aware, one of my growing passions is the question, “How do we do mission & evangelism from an Anglican perspective?” In preparation for the Anglican Decade of Mission in the 1990’s the following five marks were noted:

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom;
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers;
To respond to human need by loving service;
To seek to transform unjust structures of society;
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

During 1996 these five marks were reviewed, with some pertinent insights noted: the focus of all Mission is announcing the Good News (From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17), and thus a call for Anglicans to be involved in personal and community Evangelism; Mission always happens in context, and is shaped by the great diversity of places, times and cultures in which we live, proclaim and embody it; worship is central to Mission and our common life, a sign that all of life is holy, that hope and meaning can be found in offering ourselves to God; Mission is central to the nature of being Church, and we are called not just to do mission but to be a people of mission; Mission is God-in-action in that Mission is God’s initiative, not ours— we are called simply to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the Good News.

The Lambeth Conference of 1998 proclaimed: "Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world… So mission is never our invention or choice." (Section II p121). Mission is our duty, and should inform all actions that we take as the people of God.

An Anglican Statement on Mission

In seeking to make a definitive statement on Mission, a statement of the Commission on Mission of the National Council of Churches in Australia was adapted: Mission is the creating, reconciling and transforming action of God, flowing from the community of love found in the Trinity, made known to all humanity in the person of Jesus, and entrusted to the faithful action and witness of the people of God who, in the power of the Spirit, are a sign, foretaste and instrument of the reign of God.

A Response

Much of what is expressed in the five marks, and the insights that came out of the review in 1996 reflect what is already happening within our life, ministry and worship as Anglicans. You will find our liturgy infused with these concepts; the ACSA Constitution and Canons, as well as our Diocesan Rules, reflect these commitments.

The challenge is for us at grassroots level in parish, family and community life, to internalise the understanding that “we are called not just to do mission but to be a people of mission” and that “mission is never our invention or choice”.

Some Questions

How does your life proclaim the message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!”?

At Corpus Christi we speak of our lives being a place where others meet Christ: who are you inviting into the community of our lives?


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