The word family evokes a wide range of emotions. For some it is a very loving and supportive word that is the centre of their being. For others it is a place of distance anxiety and frustration with people who are closely related failing to talk or listen to one another. We use the term in many ways, thinking of the Church as a family and even the Anglican Communion as one family under our Lord and Saviour.
In every province of the Communion there are joys and difficulties faced by families. The Church is present and with them- at times of great happiness and of profound sadness. The International Anglican Family Network is one of the networks of the world wide Anglican Communion. It began at the Mission of St James and St John in Melbourne, Australia, in 1987 and produced an important resource document on families for the 1988 Lambeth Conference.
Since 1991, IAFN’s work has focused on the production of three newsletters per year on issues affecting families. The aim of the newsletters is to set challenges and problems in an international context and to give information about practical projects and work being done by churches and communities to help. Articles are written by men and women, lay and clerical from many different countries. The range of topics covered in the newsletters: eg Street Children, Fathers and Families, HIV/AIDS, Children and War, Community Families, demonstrate the many areas where individuals and groups, often linked with churches, are active in responding to families in need. The newsletters provide an educational resource for both the developed and the developing world, helping all to learn more about the resources and dedication of the many women and men within the worldwide Anglican family whose work is often unknown. Their stories provide a stimulus for greater understanding and further action.
The family network doesn’t ask a lot of you. Simply to inform others about their work, to suggest names of people who might like to receive and contribute to the newsletter, by suggesting topics for future newsletters and by contributing if you can (The IAFN will send their newsletter to any who want wish to receive it free of charge).
In the podcast John Rea from the Provincial Overseas Committee brings to life some of the story of IAFN.