Enhancing current initiatives in social outreach work to achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be the focus of a March 7-14, 2007, international conference, titled "Towards Effective Anglican Mission" (TEAM), that will bring together representatives from the worldwide Anglican Communion, including as keynote speaker the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.
Hosted by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa -- one of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion -- and held at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa, the conference will follow up on the first Pan-African Anglican Consultation on HIV and AIDS (Boksburg 1), which was held in August 2001.
"International Development is not something that stands isolated from mission, but is integral to it," Williams said. "The TEAM meeting represents the best opportunity Anglicans will have in the coming year to put the extraordinary human resources of our Communion at the service of the most vulnerable in our world and our own local communities."
The TEAM Steering Committee outlined seven objectives for the conference, which include the sharing of the African experience with others in the Anglican Communion, critically reviewing the response of the Anglican Communion to the MDGs, and encouraging others to collaborate further toward achieving the goals.
The MDGs is an eight-prong declaration that includes halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by the target date of 2015. Further information about the MDGs is available at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals.
"As primates we committed ourselves through the Dromantine meeting [in Northern Ireland] in 2005 to playing our part in encouraging leaders of the nations to meet the Millennium Development Goals," Williams said. "How we prepare for the [TEAM] Conference and make our various contributions to it will be of great importance in the coming months."
Joining other Anglican Primates and an estimated 400 delegates at the conference, Williams will deliver the keynote address and celebrate at the opening Eucharist, which will be open to the public.
"Jesus didn't come to save the Church. He came to save the world," said Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, Anglican Primate of Southern Africa and TEAM Convener. "This conference affords all of us, not only the Anglican Communion, the opportunity to interact with specialists in the field of social development, as well as practitioners working in the areas of social development and HIV and AIDS.
"Through these interactions we will be able to create relevant local models for program activities that ultimately seek to alleviate poverty through the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals."
At a March 2001 meeting of Anglican Primates, Ndungane was charged with moving the Anglican Communion forward by addressing issues of poverty, trade, debt and HIV/AIDS.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, billions of people still lack access to clean water, millions of children die each year from preventable diseases and, in some countries, HIV/AIDS is wiping out all the gains in life expectancy of the last 40 years. The conference will bring together representatives of the Anglican Communion in the context of prayer and theology to share diverse experiences and views on specific social issues.
"Poverty and HIV/AIDS are not merely Africa's problems, they affect all of us," said the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi and Bishop of Mantana, who will attend the conference. "When one of us is weak, we all become weak. This conference is an opportunity for us to formulate models that allow us to alleviate social ills and disease."
In addition to reviewing the response of the Anglican Communion to the MDGs, priorities for the eight-day conference will be to analyze the impact of the goals on women and children; assess Boksburg 1 and share the African experience with the Anglican Communion; encourage opportunities for learning and transformation through dialogue among people with diverse experiences and perspectives; and encourage a prophetic articulation for an Anglican theology which supports witness and action for social justice.
The conference will also include an exposition of the Biblical principles and Gospel imperatives on the mission of the Church in society.
"The key to battling HIV/AIDS, poverty and other social ills is through dialogue and in the sharing of experiences," said Delene Mark, chief executive officer of HOPE Africa and coordinator of TEAM. "The conference presents Africans with an opportunity to share the African experience and to explore fresh and innovative strategies towards poverty eradication, through the sharing of lessons learned and experienced."
For more information on the conference, contact:
Tel: +27 (0) 21 461 4640
Fax: +27 (0) 21 462 0387
Or visit the TEAM conference website at http://www.team2007.org/