Mission - Commissions - IASCOME

Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism

Appendix 3

The Global Anglicanism Project - Report to IASCOME March 2005

Summary

A report on the Global Anglicanism Project (GAP) was presented to IASCOME at its meeting in 2003. It described the GAP pilot-phase and prospects for expanded research. The pilot-phase of GAP is now complete and a written report will be released after Easter 2005. This report outlines the current status of the GAP and commends it to the Standing Commission as a resource for the Communion, grounded in grassroots research about Anglican identity and leadership for mission.

The GAP Pilot Project

The purpose of the Global Anglicanism Project (GAP) is to learn who we are as Anglicans in all our complexity, diversity, brokenness, and wholeness in order to more genuinely witness to the transforming life in Christ, and with other Christian communities offer ourselves as a thanksgiving to God. The GAP pilot phase was launched in June 2002 by a group of 22 Anglican leaders from around the Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury is fully informed about the GAP and in 2004 he endorsed the project. He underscored the importance GAP offers for strengthening the relationships that bind and unify the Communion at the grassroots.

Field research was carried out at the local congregation level in four pilot sites: Brazil, North India, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Tanzania. Focus groups and individual interviews concentrated on seven thematic areas that will be reflected in the 60 page pilot report: (1) Spirituality and Worship, (2) Community Life, (3) Leadership Development, (4) Conflict Resolution, (5) Inter Religious and Inter Denominational Relations, (6) Mission Outreach, and (7) Identity Formation. Stories of local vitality will be evidenced through case studies and local stories. It is anticipated that a CD with video footage will be widely disseminated as part of the pilot report to every diocese in the Anglican Communion. Additional copies of the report can be obtained from the Episcopal Church Foundation which serves as the Secretariat for GAP.

Pilot Phase Findings

The pilot study encompassed over 200 interviews with some 1000 leaders in congregations and the wider community. Patterns and practices of leadership in the four pilot sites uncovered the unique contribution Anglicans are making to both religious and secular life. Some of the findings include:

  • Anglicans are translating Christian expressions of worship and spirituality into local culture
  • Evangelism is central to the life of the local congregation
  • Young people forge new patterns of spiritual practice and mission
  • The Anglican Church is growing
  • Anglicans are innovative leaders who effect renewal and change in society
  • Anglicans are creating social capital in their communities
  • The Anglican Church is equipping and empowering lay and clerical leadership
  • Anglicans are mobilising against injustice and poverty in their society
  • Leaders in the Anglican Church are influential leaders in civil society
  • Anglicans are succeeding in resolving conflict and in peace making
  • Anglicans are at the forefront in combating HIV/AIDS pandemic and other crises
  • Anglicans make a unique contribution to fostering relationships with other faith groups

Second Phase of the Project

It is estimated that a wider study will cost approximately US$1.5 million. This next stage will conclude in 2008 and focus on cross-regional research around the major themes, incorporating learnings from the pilot-phase. Approximately a dozen additional sites will be the focus of field research at the local congregational level. The six themes identified are: (1) Indigenisation of spirituality and worship; (2) Dynamics of evangelism and conversion; (3) Leadership development and theological education; (4) Community organising for social justice, economic development, and public policy; (5) HIV/AIDS ministry and humanitarian interventions; (6) Inter-religious, Inter-denominational and intra-Anglican relations. Once funding has been secured further fieldwork will commence.

GAP and the IASCOME

The Global Anglicanism Project is a resource to the entire Anglican Communion and will contribute to the strengthening of mission relationships and networks throughout the Communion. GAP research remains the only current source of grass roots information about patterns and practices in the Communion. Actions that the Standing Commission may wish to consider:

  • IASCOME commends the pilot-phase of the GAP, and the ongoing GAP research, and encourages members of the Anglican Communion to participate in the broader study;
  • IASCOME commends the pilot phase of the GAP and the ongoing GAP research to the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration at its next meeting;
  • IASCOME invites the GAP researchers to make a presentation to the next meeting of the Standing Commission on their findings of the project;
  • IASCOME commends the GAP pilot report, due for publication in April 2005, to the Communion as a valuable resource for engaging in mission and evangelism

This report was compiled by Maurice Seaton, GAP Manager at the Episcopal Church Foundation, 22 February 2005.