New mission challenges

Published September 1, 1998

Mission and evengelism are like two sides of a coin for Christians, as “all are called and all are sent” to live and proclaim the Good News, says the report from Section 2.

The report quotes Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey’s comment at the mid-point review of the decade of evangelism: “Mission which does not have evangelism as a focus is not Christian mission, and evangelism which keeps itself aloof from matters of justice and human welfare does not reflect adequately the biblical revelation. We must insist on the seamless character of mission and evangelism.”

The section report targets four major challenges facing the church:

  • the challenge that “God is calling us at this moment” and is “working in the world today quite beyond the limits of our budgets, structures and expectations;”
  • the impacts of the global economy, particularly on young people and on the increasing flight from rural areas to cities;
  • the “globalization of the market economy” and its threat to “the identity and life of nations and communities,” which often respond to this threat with “aggressive assertion of national and religious identity,” which may bring persecution to religious minorities; and
  • the need to remain “faithful to the distinctiveness of the Gospel” in a world of increased mobility where people of different faiths must learn to live in harmony.

The congregation is the “fundamental unit for the proclamation of the gospel.”

A clear mission strategy should be “integral” for every diocese as well, with proclamation and social concern going hand in hand. All dioceses should be encouraged to develop companion link relationships, the report urged.

[ photo - David Harris ] Bishop Michael Ingham and his wife, Gwen, talk to John Rea, a representative of the Scottish Episcopal Church to the Anglican Consulative Council, on the grounds of Lambeth Palace in London.


In addition, “the bishop is distinctively someone to whom apostolic authority is given,” the report states. The missionary bishop’s “primary ministry is as servant-leader among the people of God, sharing his or her vision and working and living out with the baptized what it means to be a holy people.”

Three resolutions were debated and passed.

The first on Future Priorities “urges that priority should be given at every level … to reaching out to those who have never heard, or never responded to the Gospel of Christ, and to reawakening those whose love has grown cold”; and calls the people of the Anglican Communion “to be a transforming church by practising Jubilee, and by sharing resources between different regions” of the Communion.

The second on urbanization calls on member churches to give urgent attention to living and proclaiming the good news in cities so “all that destroys our full humanity is being challenged, the socially excluded are being welcomed and the poor are hearing the good news.”

The resolution also requests “support (for) the formation of an Anglican Urban Network to share information and experience on urbanization and urban mission.”

The third resolution on young people “celebrates the dynamic work of God among young people, and their infinite value in the human family,” and proposes several initiatives including urging bishops to “give more attention to the furtherance of ministry to children.”

The resolution called on bishops to give significant time over the next year to meet with young people in their dioceses; to pay particular attention to the worship forms of the church, including the music, to make it meaningful and challenging to the spirituality of young people; and to give urgent consideration to how best Anglican networks of young people can be strengthened and serviced by the structures of the Anglican Communion.


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