[Church of England press release] The Church of England’s General Synod on Nov. 18 approved a motion, moved by Archbishop of York John Sentamu, to “re-evangelize” England, including the creation of a new Task Group.
Sentamu , introducing a debate on intentional evangelism, called on synod to put evangelism at the top of its agenda, saying: “Next to worship, witness is the primary and urgent task of the church.”
“Compared with evangelism everything else is like re-arranging furniture when the house is on fire,” he said.
“Making disciples is at the heart of our Christian faith and our Anglican tradition.”
Taking forward the “spiritual and numerical growth in the church” through evangelism is one of the goals highlighted by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in his first presidential address to the General Synod in July 2012.
Synod voted to support: the creation of a national Task Group on Evangelism in the Church of England, a call to prayer around the evangelism agenda, support for a program of action around the seven disciplines of evangelism and a call to every PCC (parochial church council), diocese and deanery synod to allocate more time to initiatives for making new disciples.
It also supported amendments to extend the membership of the Task Group and to urge every local church to prayerfully find a new way of evangelizing in their own context.
“We need… to be intentional in our evangelism in this next period of our life as the Church of England, not for a five- or 10-year period but for a generation or more,” the paper submitted to synod and prepared for the College of Bishops and the Archbishops Council, recommends.
Details of the Synod motion can be read here.
Sentamu’s speech can be read here.