By ACNS staff
The Church of England’s recent decision to move its model of mission from one of dependency to mutuality has been warmly welcomed by the Anglican Communion’s Continuing Indaba team.
The resolution1 passed at the York synod was not only a major step for Church of England, but also a boost for everyone involved with the Anglican Communion’s efforts to encourage dialogue across difference.
“This vision of a new way of doing mission has far reaching consequences for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion,” said Continuing Indaba's Canon Phil Groves. “The World-Shaped Mission report endorsed at the Synod asks dioceses to commit to principles of partnership that encourage the continuation of a journey from former patterns of dependency towards mutuality.
“That means a move away from a model where Anglicans in the North are simply giving resources to those global South, to one where members of the Communion are genuinely giving and receiving to one another.”
What’s more, the report also contains commitments to partnership through listening and learning,2 listening across cultures through Indaba3, and using Continuing Indaba and similar processes4.
“All of this spells one of the biggest changes to the Church of England’s vision of global mission for more than 50 years,” said Canon Groves.
“Everyone knows there’s lots of work to be done to change the current model, but we are excited Continuing Indaba will be a fundamental part of that. Those who were involved in the Pilot Conversations know that Continuing Indaba certainly isn’t a quick fix for addressing contentious issues. It is, rather, a developed, theologically grounded resource for a healthy, vibrant church that values transcultural diversity and is seeking to be faithful to Christ. It will, and already has, proved itself to be a immensely useful tool in challenging people’s perceptions of one another.”
Speaking in favour of the report, the Ven. Christine Wilson, Archdeacon of Chesterfield, described her experience of Continuing Indaba encounters to the Synod and said, “With Indaba there is a really deep listening process that brings back a challenge to us about how we do mission back at home.”
In their open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Gloucester, El Camino Real and Western Tanganyika described their ‘grace-filled journey’ together as three partner dioceses engaged in Continuing Indaba. One of the fruits of these relationships is each diocese developing further their local mission because of the insight gained from the others, as well combined mission projects.
They wrote: “The Indaba experience has produced within us an awareness of how we can realistically assist each other in ministry and mission through our international ties now developed at a more grass roots level. We have learned quite independently about ‘doing church’ in our own local context.”
A number of dioceses around the world have already made a commitment to deeper engagement in transcultural mission through Continuing Indaba. Such commitments have led to programmes to counter divisions of ethnicity in the Anglican Church of Kenya; to engaging young people in the life of a diocese in Southern Africa and the Province of Hong Kong; to further development of a sense of common mission in dioceses across The Episcopal Church; and the process has also had an impact on how the Diocese of Derby is approaching local mission.
The next stage in working out how the contents of the report is to be applied throughout the Church is at the Partners in World Mission’s 2012 Conference Becoming Cross-Cultural Christians between 5-7 November.
The hope for the conference is that many will people will attend and take part in the planning so that Church of England dioceses can fulfill the commitment to World-Shaped Mission. Members of the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion are invited to attend, and several participants in Continuing Indaba are expected to be present to share their experiences.
Notes to Editors