I am a convert to Christianity from a traditional Chinese family, all the members of which were also converted to Christianity. I always praise and thank God for the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and for those who know Jesus personally and took great care in sharing Jesus with my family and me.
My journey from non-believer to believer, on to disciple, ordinand, deacon, priest and bishop continues to imprint upon my heart and mind the prime importance of mission and evangelism in the life of the Church. Thus while I have tried not to lose sight of the “service and deeds” of the Gospel, mission and evangelism have always been a prominent part of my ministry. Paul’s passionate cry, “Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1Cor.9:16), and, “It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ is not known….” (Rom.15: 20), have been a constant encouragement for me in my ministry.
The promise of, “My grace is sufficient for you”, continues to call me to be faithful to mission and evangelism, while at the same time I know that God, in his own time, will give the increase. Thus I happily and humbly accepted the appointment as Chairman of MISSIO in 1994, seeing it as an opportunity to pay the Gospel debt to all those who respond to the call of God to mission and evangelism in the Anglican Communion. I was acutely aware of my own shortcomings in this task, but I was also confident and trusted that God would provide for our needs. Thus the 18 members of MISSIO from different parts of the Communion met for the first time in Singapore (now part of my own home Province of South East Asia). At that very first meeting I praised and thanked God for his abundant grace and provision. Here was a group of people chosen from our own Anglican family – they came with their own credentials and gifts, recognised by their own home Church, totally committed to the mission and evangelism process of their own church, eager to be used by God to contribute to the effort of helping the Anglican Communion to turn from maintenance to mission mode.
We met four times in the course of the past five years. We prayed together, broke Bread together, studied the Word together. We listened to each other’s stories. We debated, argued, drafted and redrafted together. We struggled together to make sense out of overwhelming experiences and diverse contexts. We offered our gifts and insights to be used by the Holy Spirit. This has been an experience of growth. Our report is but a partial reflection of our journey together.
We are also aware that there are many unsung heroes of faith of our Communion who engage in mission and evangelism in contexts of ongoing suffering and pain, caused by poverty, injustice, disaster, war … in short human sinfulness. We want to acknowledge with deep gratitude and thanksgiving their faithfulness and commitment.
We the members of MISSIO present this report, Anglicans in Mission: A Transforming Journey, of our work. We pray that this record of our journey will be like a Chinese Lantern put into the hands of our Communion to light our way to becoming a missional Church. Indeed the journey from maintenance to mission is a long one. I hope and pray our successor, the next Mission Commission, will in due time be another lantern in the hands of the Communion so that we can continue our journey of being a living Church of God in His World.