By the Revd John Kafwanka, Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion Office
A good start on a new mandate – Anglican Witness Core Group meets in UK
The Core of Group of Anglican Witness: evangelism and church growth initiative in the Anglican Communion, representing nine regions of the Anglican Communion and five specialised ministries, met recently in London to receive and consider the implementation strategy of the ACC-15 evangelism mandate. This was the first Core Group meeting after the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) met in Auckland New Zealand in October/November 2012.
Aware of the importance of children and young people to the present and future life and dynamism of the Church and their participation in God’s holistic mission in the world, the ACC-15 requested the Anglican Witness to put special emphasis on children and young people in the renewed mandate.
To underscore the ACC’s commitment to this aspect of work, Revd Robert Sihubwa, an experienced and passionate leader in ministry among children and young people, was appointed to join the Core Group and bring that relevant experience and strategic thinking.
The breadth of diversity of context and experience of the Core Group members is an important resource to the group itself as well as to the vision of Anglican Witness, which exists to promote evangelism and church growth in the Anglican Communion and facilitate sharing and collaboration.
Encouraged by the progress made in the last three years, the Core Group has undertaken to prioritise the following areas: children and young people, discipleship, unreached and engaged people, gathering and sharing evangelism resources, and communication tools, to sustain and enable all these priorities.
The priority on children and young people will include having a focused section on children and youth within Anglican Witness work, compile a profile of existing relevant resources within and outside the Communion, establish an annual prize competition for young people, highlight existing relevant training programmes for children and young people, and engage theological institutions in the Communion regarding emphasis on training for ministry among young people.
The meeting was hosted at the Anglican Communion Office where the Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon, welcomed the group and thanked them for their commitment to taking this work forward,work which is central to the life and existence of the Church. The meeting took place in the context of prayer and worship and was enriched by Bible studies focusing on Luke 10.
As part of its working ethos, the Core Group always engages with the mission context of the host Church for mutual enrichment. In London, this took several exciting forms, which included a Mission Day of engagement with mission leaders in the Church of England on Fresh Expressions of Church, Migrant and Mission, and Resourcing for Mission; an evening with two young members from Regeneration Church whose ministry focus is on young people; and the final experience was the mission encounter over the weekend when Core Group members were hosted in parishes across London and beyond. The experience here included taking part in evangelistic initiatives, speaking and preaching during Sunday worship. Both hosts and guests have reported having had a life-changing experience during the mission encounter weekend.
The Core Group had a pleasant surprise when on the first day the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby unexpectedly called on them and shared his passion for evangelism and church growth. This was a great source of encouragement to the group and gave everyone a spur and confidence that their efforts to provide a platform for resource-sharing and learning is supported by him.