The Anglican Communion’s Director for Communications, Gavin Drake, outlines a new strategy and direction for the Communications department of the Anglican Communion Office.
What is happening in the Anglican Communion?
If you believe some reports, the Communion is about to implode and tear itself apart in a major schism. That is the message of a handful of bloggers and commentators (most of whom aren’t part of the Anglican Communion). Rather than report the truth, they campaign against the Anglican Communion.
In my role, I get to see, hear and experience the Anglican Communion first hand through visits to different parts of the Communion, and by speaking to the many primates and hundreds of bishops, clergy and laity, who pass through the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) in London each year. They – the members of the Anglican Communion – tell a different story.
Yes, there are differences; but there is also a deep desire to work and pray together; to support each other in evangelism, witness and discipleship; to campaign as one on issues such as climate change and the environment, on trafficking and modern slavery, and on education and healthcare.
I am determined to reclaim the narrative of the Anglican Communion and to ensure that this truer picture of the life of our member churches emerges.
To do that, we are introducing some changes. Firstly, the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) – this website – will actually report less stories each week. Rather than trying to write three-or-four stories per day, we will concentrate on three or four per week. This means that we can put more effort into researching articles, especially from parts of the Communion with less developed communications strategies.
This also means that ALL of our coverage will now be translated in full into French, Spanish and Portuguese. Previously, speakers of these languages were restricted to a short weekly bulletin of news in their language. ACNS has also launched new Twitter accounts in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
And our blogs will change too. Like this one, the majority of blogs in future will come from my colleagues at the ACO who will be able to report first hand on the work they are doing in partnership with Anglican Churches around the world.
Other blogs will be written by the primates of the Anglican Communion: the Anglican Cycle of Prayer lists dioceses of the Communion six days a week. On Sundays, we pray mainly for Provinces. We have asked all primates to write a brief introduction to their province and provide prayer pointers, to help us to pray together for each other with knowledge.
Each blog – together with our news articles – will be published on Tuesdays in future. This is designed to help weekly Christian publications pick up on stories we publish and use them in their own publications, which are typically published on Fridays.
That is part of a new effort to work more closely with religious and secular publications and broadcasters. Through ACNS we can tell our stories, but through independent news media we can reach far more people.
We have installed a radio facility in our London office – through it we can connect to radio broadcasters around the world for “down-the-line” broadcast quality contributions.
But we aren’t relying solely on external media: we will publish more videos – including live interviews – to tell the story of the Anglican Communion.
This year, the 15th Lambeth Conference will take place in Canterbury, England. The Anglican Communion’s detractors will use it to step up their attacks. I pray that our improved communications activities will help reclaim the narrative so that the truth can be more clearly heard and seen.