The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, has drawn together a number of representatives from the worldwide Anglican Communion to form a steering committee for a major global Anglican Conference to be held in South Africa in March 2007.
The committee has been working together this week to discuss structure, vision, objectives and outcomes. The working title for the conference is 'Towards Effective Anglican Mission (TEAM): An International Conference on Prophetic Witness, Social Development and HIV/AIDS.'
The vision of the conference is that members of the Anglican Communion will meet in a context of prayer and theology; sharing diverse experiences and views on specific social issues; renewing the church's commitment and capabilities to respond to God's call to service in the 21st Century.
At a March 2001 meeting of Anglican Primates at Kanuga in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Ndungane was entrusted with the responsibility of moving the Anglican Communion forward by addressing the vital social issues of poverty, trade, debt and HIV/AIDS, "in response to the immoral state of affairs in our world today, where so few have so much and so many, so little," a Church of the Province of Southern Africa press release said.
"Capability is affected by other factors too, such as age, gender and disease, but abject poverty -- exacerbated by HIV/AIDS and other diseases, natural disasters and environmental degradation -- limits any potential for holistic human development and robs people of their basic right to human dignity.
"This devastating situation creates the need for global dialogue that addresses issues of social development, which takes seriously the challenges of social exclusion and gender inequality, reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS and other diseases and the continuous exploitation of natural resources."
The Steering Committee has outlined seven objectives, which include the sharing of the African experience with others in the Anglican Communion, critically reviewing the response of the Anglican Communion to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and encouraging others to further collaborative efforts towards achieving the Goals.
Assessing the first Pan African Anglican Consultation on HIV and AIDS, which took place in August 2001 in South Africa, is another objective.
"An opportunity presents itself for the Anglican Communion to explore fresh and innovative strategies towards poverty eradication, through the sharing of lessons learned and experienced," the press release said.
The committee hopes that the conference will create a sense of urgency and the possibility for action to achieve the MDGs, secure resources to mobilize and disseminate strategy for programs that achieve the MDGs, produce a consensus document reflecting lessons learned on each MDG and to provide background material and information for the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
Further information about the Millennium Development Goals can be found online at: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals.