The countdown has begun to the launch of a Decade of Mission.
General Synod yesterday resolved to set up a Commission to make mission “the central theme of the church for the decade (from) Advent 2015 to Advent 2025.”
In the mind of Robert Kereopa, Executive Officer of the Anglican Missions Board, a Decade of Mission will allow the church to reconnect with its legacy.
“On Sunday,” he said, “we visited Oihi where the seed of the gospel was planted in this whenua. Where Te Hahi Mihinare was born, with a name that we adapted from the Church Missionary Society.
“Te Hahi Mihinare was a product of bicultural mission, forged out of the relationship between Ruatara and Marsden.
“They planted the same gospel for which we have stewardship in this generation."
He said Te Hahi Mihinare “was the midwife at the birth of this nation, and played a pivotal role in the passage of the Treaty of Waitangi”.
“The Decade of Mission gives our church the opportunity and the permission to reconnect with our past and move forward in fellowship and in mission together …”
“Fellowships in mission,” he suggested, “can be across tikanga, parish to rohe, diocese to hui amorangi, tikanga to tikanga, or cross-culturally, nation to nation, or ecumenically.
He said the group that had done work on the Decade of Mission concept had spoken of the need to “overhaul church priorities, structures, committees – and perhaps the General Synod agenda… to reflect the missionary zeal of the early church in our expression of the 5-part mission statement.”
Synod then heard from members of the working group who each spoke of the enthusiasm they have for a Decade of Mission.
Anne van Gend, Director of the Anglican Schools' Office, said that young people “won’t be satisfied with a church looking inward.
“By the end of this decade, my fairly ambitious prayer is that each of the thousands of young people in our Anglican schools in this province will have been able to witness and take part in projects that make faith real, vital and exciting - which shows them that there is something of supreme importance that we are willing to put ourselves out for. And inspire them to follow it.”
Steve Maina, head of the Church Missionary Society, said a Decade of Mission represented a chance to “turn the tide of decline” – and he was excited by the possibility that Aotearoa New Zealand might receive overseas missionaries “who want to join in with what God is doing here.”
Commission members will include: The Anglican Mission Board Executive Director; the Church Missionary Society General Secretary; the Church Army Director; the Anglican Schools’ Office Director; the 3T Youth Commissioner; the Social Justice Commissioner; the St John’s College Missions Educator, the Media Officer, the Chair of the Centre for Anglican Women’s Studies, an Archbishop (or their nominee), and one person from any tikanga not already represented.
The Commission is to be convened by the AMB Executive Office, and will report on progress to the 2016 General Synod.