The Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative Core Group was invited and welcomed to St Julian’s retreat centre, Limuru, by the Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya. He presided at the first Eucharist and issued a challenge that in mission Jesus should be at the centre. Each morning’s session began with a biblical reflection and discussion on how Jesus went about his evangelism, and what should be learnt from his approach.
The core group began their meeting by visiting St Jerome’s and the Church Army Africa Urban Mission Centre in Kibera, Nairobi. Kiberais the biggest informal urban settlement in Africa. St Jerome’s, which has planted five new congregations in recent years, is the fastest growing parish in All Saints Cathedral Diocese. This visit introduced the group to an exciting context from which to inform and enrich their discussion.
Archbishop Eliud also invited the ECGI Core Group to join the clergy and mission practitioners from All Saints Cathedral Diocese and Nairobi Diocese for a workshop on the theme of ‘perfect balance in mission and ministry’. During the workshop practitioners from Kenya and the core group reflected on prioritising evangelism (fishing for people) as well as pastoral ministry and discipleship (feeding the sheep) within our different contexts.
ECGI is now in touch with over 500 people with its bi-monthly newsletter, Witness6.7, being distributed by posted hard copy, web-link, email, and its facebook group Anglican Witness. In discussing how people communicate within the Communion, the group became aware that for young people, and generally in an increasing number of countries, the preferred means of communication is through the smart phone rather than the computer and was challenged to consider using Twitter and explore the use of mobile web sites.
The group received a report on Unreached People Groups and had a fulsome discussion on the urgent yet complex way for Anglican engagement. In discussing future directions for ECGI,the group agreed to further develop: regional collaboration; gathering, collecting, categorising, and highlighting evangelism and church growth resources; support conferences; encourage prayer; establish stable representation on the core group; advocate for the language of evangelism to become owned and understood by the whole church; promote a closer relationship between evangelism and discipleship. It was agreed to recommend that ECGI be renamed after its facebook group as Anglican Witness, so that its purpose is more obvious.