The Five Marks of Mission of the Worldwide Anglican Communion
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
When we began this conference about 8 days ago, I began in my opening remarks by saying:
This is a momentous period in the life of our church.
Here we have people of God gathered together in the 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.
This conference provides us with an opportunity to rally around issues of poverty and to position ourselves as a significant partner in the global development agenda.
It offers us an opportunity to harness the energy, commitment and potential of faith communities to make a constructive contribution towards the realization of sustainable livelihoods for everyone.
This is an opportunity for the church to raise its profile in development and to articulate the capacity and the strength that we have as faith communities in delivering services to those who are in need.
Bound together by bonds of affection that unite us and united against poverty, let us seize this opportunity by blowing fresh winds of change into the lungs of the Anglican Communion.
The deliberations here at the conference have inspired us all into thinking about doing God's mission as Church in the world and therefore I have chosen to reflect on the 5 marks of mission which is common to us all in the Anglican Communion.
From extracts on the 5 marks of mission I would like to quote from writings in the Anglican Communion that:
All mission is done in a particular setting - the context. So, although there is a fundamental unity to the good news, it is shaped by the great diversity of places, times and cultures in which we live, proclaim and embody it. The Five Marks should not lead us to think that there are only five ways of doing mission!
An important feature of Anglicanism is our belief that worship is central to our common life. But worship is not just something we do alongside our witness to the good news: worship is itself a witness to the world. It is a sign that all of life is holy, that hope and meaning can be found in offering ourselves to God (cf. Romans 12:1). And each time we celebrate the Eucharist, we proclaim Christ's death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26). Our liturgical life is a vital dimension of our mission calling; and although it is not included in the Five Marks, it undergirds the forms of public witness listed there.
The Five Marks stress the doing of mission. Faithful action is the measure of our response to Christ (cf. Matt. 25:31-46; James 2:14-26). However, the challenge facing us is not just to do mission but to be a people of mission. That is, we are learning to allow every dimension of church life to be shaped and directed by our identity as a sign, foretaste and instrument of God's reign in Christ. Our understanding of mission needs to make that clear.
"Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world... So mission is never our invention or choice." (Lambeth Conference 1998, Section II p121). The initiative in mission is God's, not ours. We are called simply to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news.
This unprecedented conference, Towards Effective Anglican Mission, was convened first and foremost because of the call of God. By His Spirit, God constantly and continuously calls us to participate in mission: the mission of the Church being the proclamation of the good news that Jesus Christ rose and brought into being the fullness of peace, of love, and justice. In short, mission is building God's kingdom so that His will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. As we seek to build this heavenly kingdom, we must remember that the Word did not come as a philosophical concept or as a political program, nor was the Word made text. Rather, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." Therefore, as the body of Christ, we do not have the option of choosing between spiritual or physical undertakings, but we must recognize that in God's call to mission, the two are inexorably linked.
Mission is holistic and therefore our actions in mission should take into account the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of God's people.
As I said in my opening address…
In chapter 4 of Luke's gospel we read how Jesus began his ministry, after his time of temptation. In the synagogue in Nazareth he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah:
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour'
It is as if Jesus sets out his Gospel manifesto. At the heart of his ministry is this: 'good news for the poor, for the afflicted, for the oppressed …' This is what he also speaks of in John's Gospel, chapter 10, when he says he has come to bring life, in abundance.
The second reason for our assembling here in Boksburg, South Africa, was that the hour demands it. We live in an era in which:
40 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS
25 million have died of AIDS since 1981
1 billion people have no access to sanitation
Parking meters earn more in an hour than 70% of the world population
A child in Africa dies every 30 seconds from malaria and in the course of a year, more than one million children die from this disease.
Right now in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 50% of the population has access to medical facilities
In 2006, the world spent over $900 billion in arms
In the face of these crises, the Anglican Communion must act. Moreover, the international community has begun to recognize the potential of faith based organizations and institutions such as ours. Globally, the church as an institution has unparalleled presence at the grassroots level, presence which can meaningfully impact efforts to end poverty. This is an opportunity that must be seized.
The final reason for our assembly was the simple fact that God's world cries out, and as people of faith, we must respond. It is our responsibility to examine the root causes of poverty and injustice. We must work for a transformation not only of these root causes but also of our hearts and minds, a transformation that will demonstrate what it means to be responsible stewards of God's creation, and to care for all that live within it; thereby fulfilling the prophetic mission of the Church.
The primary objective of TEAM, or Boksburg II, has been to gather in the context of prayer and theology; to share diverse experiences and views on social issues, all in an effort to renew the Church's commitment and capabilities to respond to God's call to service in the 21st century.
Specific objectives were:
To encourage a prophetic articulation for an Anglican theology that supports witness and action for social justice, because faith without works is dead
To assess the First Pan African Anglican Consultation on HIV and AIDS (Boksburg I) and share the African experience with the Anglican Communion, because by sharing we learn and by learning we grow.
To critically review the response of the Anglican Communion to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to encourage further collaborative efforts toward achieving the goals, because in numbers there's strength.
To design and generate new and relevant models of sustainable development for local and global contexts, because without innovation, we perish.
To encourage opportunities for learning and for transformation through dialogue among people with diverse experiences and perspectives, because there's unity in diversity.
To explore resource mobilisation opportunities and management with a range of partners, because we cannot achieve alone.
To foster mutual commitments and partnerships within the Anglican Communion, because there's wisdom in all of us
As a result of this TEAM conference, space was created for delegates to attempt to achieve the following outcomes:
Draw strength from and to inspire confidence in the gospel tradition as we seek to address the Millennium Development Goals. This conference shared Eucharist daily, Bible studies and evening prayers offered by all provinces present from across the Anglican Communion.
Strengthen platforms for information sharing and networking within the Anglican Communion.
Create a sense of urgency and possibility for action to achieve the MDGs.
Secure resources mobilisation and dissemination strategy for programmes that achieves the Millennium Development Goals.
Enhance frameworks of cooperation within the Anglican Communion on issues of Social Development and Poverty Eradication.
Create strategies to promote community participation in local programmed delivery that seeks to ensure community ownership and sustainability.
Develop a consensus document reflecting lessons learnt on each Millennium Development Goals from the conference.
Provide background material and information that motivates and informs those preparing for the Lambeth conference.
The Archbishop of Canterbury reminded us in his opening address that:
The Biblical imperative for mission is not a code of practice or a simple order; it is revelation of God's character and will as something always seen in relation to a community that lives by law – law understood as the guarantee that no-one is left invisible and it culminates in revelation of new creation/ new community that is created by Jesus' cross and resurrection.
He emphasized that what is important for us is to know the Lord, and knowing the Lord is to see with the eyes of God, which means fairness to the poor and doing justice to the poor. It means that no one is forgotten.
I Cor 12:26…if one member suffers, we all suffer….
A Church faced with MDG's is bound to be asking, 'Who is being forgotten?' But this also means that it must be positively and intentionally involved in creating participation and empowerment. It must be an agent for people at every level to discover what they can do. It resists both a culture of indifference and injustice and a culture of dependency. Its mobilising of its own community resources (Mothers' Union, microcredit initiatives, educational work, etc.) is inseparable from advocacy on the global level.
It must also put questions to prosperous societies of West and North asking whether or not they have understood that they too are deprived and dehumanised by a global situation of injustice, a system that tolerates the idea of superfluous people who are allowed to remain invisible? St Augustine says that the problem of injustice is not only the suffering of the oppressed but the corruption of the mind and heart of the oppressor. Working for MDG's is not simply working for the needy as a separate category of human beings, but working for the healing of all, including the healing of those who don't see the problem.
To return to where he began – the Church is in the business of calling all to 'know the Lord': to announce that He has made His nature and purpose clear and that we are summoned and enabled to share His loving and creative perspective on the world He has made as we work towards a global human family where no-one is forgotten.
And so my sisters and brothers given the huge task that this conference has been faced with, this is the hard work that we have been doing over the past 8 days.
Part of our commitment as we undertook this conference was to develop a set of recommendations that reflect the concerns articulated by this body. Our intention was not that this be yet another gathering that recounts the many challenges facing our world. Rather, the intention was that in accordance with our mission as the body of Christ, we develop actionable plans and strategies that can be utilized to instill new hope and vision in our communities and in the world at large.
Accordingly, with the input generated from our many discussions, debates and dialogues, we have developed a set of 10 recommendations that can help to guide our dioceses and parishes as we strive to live out our mission in the world
While we have recognized and expressed that the Millennium Development Goals are the starting point for a world that reflects God's principals of inclusivity, because of the consensus that exists around them, we have framed our recommendations around the eight objectives. However, as the people of God, we are required to do much more. So in addition to recommendations around the MDGs, we have included others that are critical to advancing the developmental agenda.
Our first series of recommendations revolve around MDG 1, Hunger and Poverty eradication.
Given that food can be utilized as a weapon of war in various conflicts globally, this body has been emphatic in stating that the Church must exert pressure on governments and international bodies to ensure that food is used for the nourishment and development of our future—not as a tool of war. Furthermore, in our various interventions, our Communion should ensure that our focus goes beyond simply providing food to the developing world. Rather, we need to contribute to the creation of sustainable food production systems globally.
As a body, it has been suggested that we approach this advocacy by engaging in strategic partnerships that result in mutually beneficial outcomes. It has been widely acknowledged in the international community, that as a Church, we have been in the business of feeding souls, as well as bodies, for centuries. There are many who want to work with us as we go about this mission, and we should be open to these possibilities.
Recommendation # 2: Education
This body has also acknowledged that schools have become extended homes and can serve as nodes of social service delivery. This is in many cases due to loss of parents and the limited ability of extended families to adequately care for children. In addition to providing much needed value-based education, our Communion can make our presence felt by providing developmental assistance through schools. By supporting school feeding programs and strengthening the capacity of educational institutions within our parishes, we can have a very real impact.
And in areas where there are inadequate educational institutions, whether at the primary, secondary or tertiary levels, as a community we will make it a priority on our agenda to advocate for the creation of the necessary facilities and curriculums. Not only will we advocate for the creation of formal institutions of learning, we will also work toward the creation of adult literacy programs and much needed vocational training.
Recommendation # 3: Gender Equality
As a Church we have numerous strategies to promote gender equality and to facilitate the empowerment of women. And while we agree that women have made many strides and achieved leadership positions within the Church and the world at large, work still needs to be done. This is reflected in the fact that girls and women continue to suffer disproportionaly from the effects of poverty, disease and hunger. As a community, we recognize the importance of our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, friends and colleagues in living out our mission and in reflecting the vision of humanity illustrated in the Gospels.
Accordingly, alongside the policies and programs to serve the needs of girls and women—which serves all of our needs—this body has articulated that first and foremost we need a change of mindset, in both men and women, about gender and gender roles. Therefore, in our dialogues going forward, we have committed to using language that is inclusive of women and non-threatening to men. We will strive to do this not only in our dialogue, but also in our worship. We will make use of the rich resources of our Communion, calling upon our liturgy and hymns to reflect the wonderful diversity in which God created us.
Additionally, we will examine the Bible, the source of our mission, to speak against patriarchy and to advocate for equality. We will use scripture to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse. Not only will we use these resources within our body, but we will advocate in our communities at large for an end to violence against women. And, as members of the same body, we, women and men alike, will work in partnership for the achievement of these critical goals. Without the empowerment of women, we will not succeed.
Recommendation # 4: Reducing Child Mortality
Our fourth set of recommendations revolves around the most vulnerable, and valuable, in our societies: our children. And let me make mention that the pursuit of these goals is not for the global south alone, but in developed countries, children continue to suffer from the scourge of hunger, poverty, neglect and illness. Globally, our children are impacted by environmental degradation in the form of water-born illnesses in tropic areas and asthma in inner-cities of the north. A disproportionate number of our children suffer from malnutrition and hunger leading to an unnecessarily early loss of life. In order to reduce child mortality, we will make every effort to ensure that in the pursuit of the MDGs, even those that do not specifically apply to children, we make sure their voices are heard.
To achieve this, the Communion will partner with external entities, and one another in ensuring that our youth have the opportunity to grow and develop into all that God has called them to be.
Recommendation # 5: Improving Maternal Health
Similarly, we will pursue MDG no. 5, the improvement of maternal health. In most societies, mothers are primary caregivers. Their contributions, in and out of the home, are essential if we are to make any developmental progress at all. Yet, today in Africa, a woman has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in child birth, whereas a woman in North America's risk is 1 in 3,700
In an effort to preserve the lives of our mothers, this assembly has expressed a desire to mobilize constituencies within the Church to raise awareness about maternal health issues. Our Women's Groups and Mother's Unions are recognized as key combatants in this fight; equally as essential, however, are Men's groups, as they have the ability to help in ensuring that spouses and family members receive adequate medical care. Our youth groups are also critical to this fight as 15% of all pregnancies in the global south occur in adolescents. Equipping communities with pertinent maternal health information as soon as possible will be a critical element of our campaign.
Finally, as a Communion, at both the local and international levels, we will advocate for improved transportation and health infrastructure within communities. This will enable women in crisis to reach health facilities in a timely fashion and help to ensure that they receive adequate medical attention once they reach those facilities.
Recommendation # 6: Combating HIV&AIDS and Other Diseases
In terms of our fight against HIV and AIDS, while we acknowledge and give thanks for the present work of the Church, much remains to be done in enhancing our current interventions. In order for the Church to be effective in caring for people in local communities, we must mobilize both human and economic resources. Partnerships with health practitioners and other professionals with expertise should be forged. In our work, though, the necessary point of departure for each of our interventions is to embrace those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS with love and compassion.
At the national level and in the international arena, this body has expressed the need for our Communion to advocate for education about the prevention, transmission and treatment of HIV and AIDS. With that, we need to work for improved access to treatment, voluntary counseling and testing and to enter the debate about intellectual property rights and the dissemination of ARVs.
As we pursue these strategies, however, we will not forget the individuals behind the statistics and figures. We will remember and serve those orphaned and made vulnerable by this global pandemic. We will advocate for and support the provision of material goods while ensuring that grief counseling and the necessary support are given to families impacted by HIV and AIDS.
The reality, unfortunately, is that HIV is not the only pandemic the world is experiencing. Malaria continues to be one of the greatest killers of our children. Given our presence at the grassroots level, we can contribute significantly by educating local communities on the causes of malaria and how to treat and prevent the disease. It is also our responsibility to understand local customs in an effort to better disseminate strategies to save lives.
I cannot under estimate the importance of our fight against malaria as 50% of the global family is exposed to the disease; and we lose nearly two million members of our family annually. Accordingly, we will strengthen advocacy and partnerships in order to battle this disease and other opportunistic infections. We will also mobilize the resources, human and financial to expand prevention programs including the provision of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets
Finally, we will develop strategies toward integration of malaria, HIV, and other infection diseases issues in to the curriculum of Anglican primary schools.
Recommendation # 7: Improving Environmental Sustainability
Along with our commitments in the areas of poverty, and disease, this august body has also engaged in deliberations around our imperative to develop environmentally friendly practices and to ensure environmental sustainability. As a body, and I quote from one of our more lively sessions, we,
Recognizing that to "Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth" (ACC 5th Mark of Mission) is central to God's mission and therefore the mission of the church, we therefore call on the Provinces, Dioceses and Parishes of our Communion to prioritize environmental responsibility in all spheres of life and witness.
We note with alarm that Climate Change is bringing about the destruction of God's created order and increasing suffering to the most poor and vulnerable. We call on the governments of the world to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases with urgent effect and to develop renewable energy production.
Likewise we call on our members to seek to reduce our carbon footprint and to support renewable energy generation.
We stress the urgency of this call to our church and to our governments both in order to overcome poverty and to re-establish the health of the planet.
In response to this call to action, we will advocate for the development of renewable energies as well as a reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gasses. Additionally, we will hold our various governments and multinational corporations accountable. Polluting God's creation for the benefit of the few, and to the detriment of the majority, is not something we are prepared to stand silently by and watch.
Recommendation # 8: Building and Strengthening Partnerships
In all of the goals we endeavor to achieve, you will note that partnerships are a vital and important part of our strategy. While a cross-cutting issue, which will be addressed in each of our other recommendations, partnerships is an issue that we have expressed a need we must address in its own right.
Throughout our deliberations, one of the issues that have been raised time and time again is that we often don't know what work is taking place in provinces other than our own, and at times, we're not even fully aware of what our neighboring parishes are doing. From what I gather, one of the richest elements of this conference has been the sharing and dissemination of information within the Communion. This is something that we must strive to formalize and continue in the years to come. Within are body are a wealth of resources, expertise and knowledge that we should utilize to the fullest.
Beyond our own community, however, we have heard of how other denominations, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations and multi-lateral institutions value who we are and the work we do. We must develop and call upon these networks, in a strategic and responsible fashion, to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. These partnerships must be developed within the context of mutually beneficial outcomes based on a common vision
Recommendation # 9: Reducing Conflict Areas and Assisting Refugees
Our ninth recommendation, while not expressly mentioned in the Millennium Development Goals is one in which the Church recognizes as important and central to our mission. This ninth series of recommendations focuses on refuges, internally displaced people, and asylum seekers. We make particular note of uprooted individuals as they have no government and few formal networks actively advocating for them and many of our dioceses are greatly impacted by forced migration.
Also, in affirming our commitment to the plight of refugees and displaced persons, as a body we are reaffirming our Christian commitment to offer unconditional hospitality and pastoral care to the stranger. As part of this work, we will develop strategies for communicating the challenges faced by displaced persons to the global media and policy makers while mobilizing resources for their physical, emotional and physical care.
Recommendation # 10: Protecting Children's Rights & Preserving Young Lives
Our final recommendation once again speaks to the importance of our children. And I would like to add that the delegation of young people participating throughout this conference were instrumental in the formulation of this recommendation as well as the others I have presented this morning. One of the highlights of the inputs developed by Pilgrims for Peace is, and I quote,
"Children are created, known, and loved by God, they have their own potential and capacity to know and love God (even apart from their parents), and to exercise their own leadership. All children, including those who do not yet know God, deserve the love and protection of the church, which has a unique role in developing children's potential."
In affirmation of this truth, the delegates to this conference have articulated the importance of creating networks to address issues of children's rights and welfare, including, but not limited to: child trafficking, child soldiers, gangs, child abuse, suicide, addictions, and other issues. While the Holy Scripture is the basis by which we undertake this work, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child will serve as a guiding framework in our advocacy.
In order to protect children, the Communion has also expressed the need to empower communities and families that support orphaned and vulnerable children. Not only materially, but also through adoption.
Additionally, this body has expressed a desire to integrate issues of child welfare and full participation of young people into every aspect of church life, from baptism preparation, Christian education, youth groups, and confirmation preparation, to leadership in the church's worship, governance, and public life in order to nurture their full potential.
In summary, these are the recommendations emanating from the gathered assembly. I want to emphasize, however, that this is work in progress. What I have expressed here is a sampling of the thoughtful, compassionate and strategic recommendations developed during the past week. I encourage you to watch this space for the full and complete set of recommendations; but more importantly, I ask you to participate in the implementation and achievement of these critical objectives.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Hellen Wangusa rightly pointed out yesterday that we need to address the issue of our capacity as a communion to be able to implement these recommendations.
Listening to the deliberations of all our delegates here it is my proposal that:
The report of this conference is sent to every Anglican Province and extra provincial churches as well. We also disseminate these deliberations to the networks and other organizations of the Anglican Communion, including all our Anglican development organizations. This conference report will call on all the different provinces, networks and organizations to adopt these recommendations and own the proceedings of this conference as recommendations made by a representative and diverse gathering of Anglicans from across the communion.
We ask all provinces, extra provincials, networks and organizations to respond to this report officially and we record these statements and responses on our conference website.
It is important that we task a small team of some members of the planning group to firstly examine the draft of the conference report and approve its final content. Secondly this task team would be responsible for liaising with the Anglican Communion Office, Lambeth Palace and the Lambeth design group to bring to their attention the recommendations of this conference. This task team would also critically examine the recommendations made in the report and propose a tangible strategy for their implementation with regard to co-ordination, capacity building, communication and resource mobilization.
It is my proposal that the following members be approved by this conference to form the task team. The Reverend Canon Brian Grieves, Ms Hellen Wangusa, The Reverend Canon Kenneth Kearon, Ms Sue Parks, Mr Alex Baumgarten, The Very Reverend June Osborne, The Reverend Canon Nangula Kathindi, Canon Delene Mark, Ms Esperanza Beleo from the women's network and a representative from the youth Network. I of course offer to facilitate this team until the first report of the task team is made. In due course relevant members within the Anglican Communion will be co-opted to increase the knowledge and expertise of the team, as well as to broaden the representation of the entire Anglican Communion.
Boksburg iii…and here I need someone to stop my Canon from running out through the back door!!! It has been my observation that this experience has truly been a meaningful event in the lives of all of us here. Not only did we work hard on the content issues but we have experienced a little of what it means to be part of a world wide Anglican communion. I propose that this task team would be prepared to coordinate these recommendations and also plan to convene such a conference again in 2014, a year before the stated deadline of the MDGs. Of course in saying Boksburg iii, I do not intend such a conference to be confined to the geographical location of South Africa or Africa.
In Conclusion I would like to thank you all for you p articipation, for going the extra mile, especially on Sunday afternoon, for enduring the long days and the even longer evenings, for excusing the mistakes in logistics and being patient while we found solutions and most of all for listening, sharing and networking.
Dear friends, this has indeed been a momentous week.
We have met because God's world is crying out to him – and we know our God hears, and our God acts.
We have met because the hour demands it – and we know that we serve the living God who says 'Today' is the time for salvation.
We have met because God has called us – and we know that those whom he calls, he directs and equips to carry out his purposes.
So, dear friends, let us now go out with joy, knowing our Lord has a purpose for us. Let us listen to his directing. Let us receive his equipping, and let us be ready to go from here more fully to share in God's mission to God's world.
May he bless us all richly; and may he make us a blessing to others.
Grace and Peace to you