Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion
The day started with presentations from the Mission Cluster: the Anglican Communion Office’s (ACO) Mission Department, the Anglican Alliance, the international Networks, the ACO Women’s Desk and the Anglican presence at the UN.
The Rev. John Kafwanka stressed the holistic nature of mission in the Anglican Communion and how that is reflected in the mission work at the Anglican Communion Office. He said that two projects — a review of the companion links and a diaspora project in which they will explore how Anglicans respond to the issue of migration (people movement) — will be reported on in 2015.
He highlighted the digital presence, including the one-stop Resource Hub anglicanwitness.org, where Anglicans will find resources on discipleship, children and young people, and general evangelistic resources. He said there had been some very encouraging responses from many places around the Communion, including Lesotho, Spain, and Uruguay, about the new site.
He said that three priorities for his office under Anglican Witness were discipleship, children and young people, and mobilizing and sharing resources. He asked the standing committee to support a focus on discipleship for a seven-year period from ACC-16, which they did.
He quoted Archbishop David Vunagi, who once said to him: “We have no problem filling our churches with people, but they need to know what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the focus on discipleship, agreeing with Archbishop Vunagi. “The church-going habit can as easily be lost as gained,” he said, adding that this is why people need to have a deep relationship with Jesus Christ through God’s Holy Spirit.
To encourage support of ministry among young people across the Communion he is proposing a Youth and Children award (organised by the Core Group of Anglican Witness: Evangelism and Church Growth) to highlight and encourage good practice. He called young people a “force to be reckoned with,” particularly in “the advancement of God’s kingdom and transformation of society.”
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori encouraged the award to be for work by young people rather than for young people. Kafwanka said it would be an award for work for, by, and with young people. Helen Biggin (Wales) suggested that young people ought to work with the Core Group to organize the award. The standing committee endorsed the development of the proposed award project.
The final day included presentations on Bible in the Life of the Church Project, the ecumenical dialogues of the Anglican Communion, Unity, Faith and Order issues and the Anglican Communion’s Legal Advisers Network.
Unity, Faith & Order
Director for Unity, Faith and Order, the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, presented her report on the Anglican Communion’s Faith and Order work, plus the ecumenical initiatives supported by her office. These included facilitating the Inter-Anglican standing committee (IASCUFO) and various dialogues at the global level.
A report by the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission containing tool kits for Anglican-Methodist conversations was welcomed by the standing committee. It will be available soon. Canon Barnett-Cowan explained that the members of the dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the World Communion of Reformed Churches have been named and will meet in 2015.
Canon Barnett-Cowan noted that the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan recently adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant. (The full list of responses to the Covenant to date can be found here.)
Image of the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director for Unity, Faith and Order, by Vianney Carriere/Anglican Journey