Mission News 12/2/22: Diocesan Mission Advocates meet for orientation

Seeking to address a long-felt need, this year’s General Convention called for Global Mission Advocates to be appointed by dioceses, seminaries and diocesan schools for ministry.

After commending for study and implementation the “Guiding Principles for World Mission” drafted by the Standing Commission on World Mission (SCWM), Resolution A016 asked SCWM and the Office of Global Partnerships (OGP) to collaborate with GEMN during the biennium to create a Network of Global Mission Advocates to share experiences with the implementation, study and promotion of the Guiding Principles.

At two meetings of diocesan advocates on Oct. 26, Jenny Grant, networking officer in OGP, said the advocates would share best mission practices, promote the missionary programs, and advocate for global mission engagement in their dioceses. The network will meet quarterly on Zoom and will meet in person annually, the first time in fall 2023.

Ian Douglas discusses  Lambeth Conference’s effects on global mission

“It was a new Pentecost in the Anglican Communion,” said Bishop Ian Douglas at the Nov. 17 Mission Thursday as he described how the deliberations of the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops in the Lambeth Conference in August were simultaneously translated into eight languages.  Also as part of the cultural ramifications of the conference, he noted that for the first time there were 100 women bishops among the approximately 650 bishops.

For the personal impact of the conference, Douglas, the recently retired bishop of Connecticut, quoted Bishop Susan Snook of the Diocese San Diego, who said that singing the “The Church’s one foundation” in Canterbury Cathedral with fellow bishops from around the world impressed her with the reality of the Church Catholic and the Body of Christ as the foundation of Christian faith.

Interpersonally, Douglas said the Bible study groups focused on First Peter enabled participants to get to know colleague bishops from radically different environments, an experience which, if past Lambeth Conferences are a guide, will probably result in the formation of new companion diocese relationships.

Institutionally and ecclesially, Douglas said it was remarkable how an initial controversy about how the conference would address human sexuality was resolved with an authentic recognition by virtually all participants of how differing views had arisen in different circumstances and how they could continue to coexist within the Communion.  He nevertheless noted that the Anglican provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda, which contain a large proportion of the world’s Anglicans, boycotted the conference because of disagreement about human sexuality – a rift that continues to affect global mission efforts.

The 10 “Lambeth Calls” are being revised on the basis of conference discussions and will be presented to the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Ghana in 2024.  The topics of the calls are: Mission and Evangelism; Safe Church; Anglican Identity; Reconciliation; Human Dignity; Environment and Sustainable Development; Christian Unity; Interfaith Relations; Discipleship; and Science and Faith.

The Lambeth Conference is one of the four Anglican Instruments of Communion, the others being the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates Meeting.  Any decisions are advisory and do not impose mandates on any of the provinces of the Communion.

Bridges to Pakistan sends $50,000 to assist Diocese of Peshawar

Bridges to Pakistan has sent $50,000 to assist in the ministry of the Diocese of Peshawar, which borders Afghanistan to the west. The announcement was made in October by the Rev. Reagan Cooke, chair of the board of the Texas-based mission agency and vice rector of the Church of St. John the Divine in Houston.

Meeting with the Bridges board on Oct. 1, Bishop Humphrey Peters of Peshawar reported that governmental agencies in Pakistan had given the diocese responsibility for relief and reconstruction efforts in three villages. Click here for a video of the devastation in Pakistan and Bishop Peters’ appeal for assistance.

Peters estimated the total cost of the reconstruction at $265,000. Substantial pledges have come in from Pakistan and from other mission companions, but more participation is needed. Cocke noted that one-fifth of Bridges’ contribution is dedicated to flood relief, with the remainder going to the ongoing ministry of the diocese, which is challenged by the disaster.

Founded in the early 2000s, Bridges to Pakistan is a member organization of GEM

Middle East and Cuba are highlighted at New York’s Global Mission Fair

The Rev. Steven Lee, canon pastor at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and vicar of its Congregation of St. Saviour, and a member of the Diocese of New York’s Global Mission Commission, wrote of the diocesan Global Mission Fair, which was held Oct. 15 at St. Thomas Church in Mamaroneck:

“Anglicans are guests in foreign countries who provide hospitality to other guests in those countries.” So observed the Venerable Dr. Bill Schwartz at last Saturday’s Global Mission Fair.  He is the recently retired archdeacon of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, and he was speaking about the ministry of presence that the Anglican Church provides in the Middle East.

“For example, in Qatar, the Anglican Church has built and currently manages a complex known informally as “Church City.” This center houses 80 different Protestant congregations. On Fridays, the day of worship, over 15,000 worshippers use the facility. There are millions of Christians in the Middle East, Schwartz told us. Not necessarily among the citizens of those countries, but including all the guest workers and migrants who live there. Many of them deeply desire a church community.

The Most Rev. Michael Lewis, president bishop and primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, joined the Global Mission Fair by Zoom. He reminded us that this ministry of presence is about investing in relationships. It is different from trying to make “converts” or proselytizing, which can be illegal. The ministry of presence provides a way to witness to our faith without compromise and without enflaming religious tensions. The ministry of presence also acknowledges that we do not make converts. God makes them.

I was also pleased last Saturday to speak with the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio, bishop of the Episcopal Church in Cuba. She was staying on the Cathedral grounds during her visit, and the Rev. Yamily Bass-Chaote, who serves our diocese as the Liaison for Global Mission, drove us up to the Global Mission Fair and served as translator for our conversation. We discussed opportunities for collaboration and came up with several ideas to pursue as we explore a connection between our cathedrals. I am excited to restart this important work

OMSC  invites Majority-World applications for one-year study program

Each year, the Overseas Ministries Study Center at Princeton Theological Seminary welcomes to campus a new group of global partners from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Oceania and from every Christian tradition. They include local and cross-cultural church leaders, scholars, educational administrators, and artists. The global partners enlarge the community’s understanding and vision of the church’s participation in God’s mission in Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Participation in the life of the seminary community promotes the personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth of the global partners. Interactions with seminarians, faculty, local churches, and the broader community introduce them to new forms of worship, witness, and wonder.

Readers of Global Mission News are invited to suggest the study program to mission companions whom you feel would benefit from it. The application deadline for the 2023-24 academic year is Dec. 31. Here is a link to more information.

GEMN is represented at Eastern Fellowship of Missiologists, Nov. 4-5

GEMN executive director Dr. Titus Presler represented GEMN at the Nov. 4-5 meeting of the Eastern Fellowship of Missiologists at the Presbyterian Church USA’s Stony Point conference center north of New York City. The topic was the 3rd edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia, published during the pandemic, and the presenter was co-editor Dr. Gina Zurlo, who offered a Mission Spotlight during the 2020 Global Mission Conference. Readers will be interested in the recently published cheaper digest of the encyclopedia, Global Christianity: A Guide to the World’s Largest Religion from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Convened over a century ago, the Eastern Fellowship is the oldest fellowship of mission scholars in North America.

On Oct. 25, Presler spoke at Boston University School of Theology on “the poverty captivity of mission,” the subject of a recent article he published in the International Bulletin of Mission Research and spoke about GEMN and Episcopal mission generally at a reception of Episcopal students.

Posted in Cuba, Diocese of New York, Eastern Fellowship of Missiologists, General Convention, Global Mission News, Lambeth Conference 2022, Middle East, Mission Leaders, Office of Global Partnerships, Overseas Ministries Study Center, Pakistan, Standing Commission on World Mission, World Christian Encyclopedia.