Director of Church Growth, Canon Linda Jones, hosted an international Anglican Communion group in London last week.
Director of Church Growth, Canon Linda Jones, hosted an international Anglican Communion group in London last week. The group brought together leading practitioners from the Anglican Communion to hear the thoughts of Bishop Graham Cray, the Archbishop’s adviser on fresh expressions and the Bishop of Toronto, Bishop Patrick Yu who spoke about the impact of immigration on mission and Philip James from the Church Commissioners spoke about Releasing resources for mission.
The meeting is attended by members of the core group of Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative (ECGI) which aims to promote church growth work throughout the worldwide communion. Instituted by the last Lambeth Conference, the group aims to be a forum to share ideas and encourage others so that the worldwide Anglican movement can grow and flourish. Canon Linda is the Church Of England’s representative, reflecting the global recognition of the work our diocese does in growing churches.
Linda told us “the group meets residentially once year when the key leaders can get together to exchange and debate ideas. Held in different countries throughout the world they offer an opportunity to see how different parts of the communion approach growth.” In between times the conversation continues online, with conference calls and through the web.
The group has to recognise the challenges and circumstances that other members have. What works in the UK is clearly not always going to be successful in places where Christians live daily in the fear of persecution. Yet, it’s clear that there are issues that affect everyone.
The group has been given a further 3 year mandate to work on the areas of
(1) Children and Youth in the life of the church with specific reference to evangelism and church growth;
(2) Discipleship - strengthening the whole-life discipleship of new and growing Christians within Anglican churches;
(3) Communication - how can we use word of mouth, printed newsletters, websites, FB and twitter etc. to share our passions for evangelism and church growth within the Anglican church. “These seem to resonant in all countries across all continents and finding ways to resolve these are extremely important”.
As well as meeting in conference, those attending the group spend the final weekend being part of local ministries. “When I attended conferences in West Malaysia and Kibera,Nairobi in Kenya I found the time spent with parishes extremely rewarding and eye opening. It is good to look beyond first world sensibilities and get a sense of the entirety of God’s kingdom”.
Being part of this ministry refreshes Linda with ideas that come back into our diocese. And it has also seen the growth Planning Framework document being picked up and used in places such as South Africa. So it is clearly a fertile relationship.