[Anglican Communion News Service — Lusaka, Zambia] Empowering discipleship and tackling gender inequality; promoting reconciliation and supporting humanitarian work in conflict areas and following disasters – just some of the topics highlighted when Anglican Communion departmental directors reported back on their work to the Anglican Consultative Council this week.
Director of mission, John Kafwanka, spoke of the drive to promote good practice, share resources and foster great co-operation. He said the diocesan companion links formed an important bedrock where relationships were mutual and inter-dependent and were a wonderful sign of the “bonds of affection.” Kafwanka also spoke of the new Youth Awards, created to encourage innovation and highlight successful work.
“Joining the dots” was the way the Rev. Terrie Robinson, director for women and church in society, described her work. She painted a bleak picture of the world faced by many women and girls – of forced marriage; female genital mutilation; sexual violence in war; trafficking and the threat of so-called honor killing. Robinson said change was hard to achieve but Anglicans were responding – and explained her role was to tell the stories of successful initiatives and lobby at the highest level for change.
The positive response by Anglicans in the face of a torrent of humanitarian crises around the world was the theme of the report by the Rev. Flora Winfield, the Anglican Communion’s representative at the United Nations in Geneva. She described her role as “working on behalf of the world’s most disregarded people.”
She said the church had provided “outstanding service” often when Anglicans themselves were suffering the consequences of the disaster too. International relief agencies were creaking under the weight of the demands on them, but the communion was providing help on the ground, quickly and with love. Winfield explained her role in educating the church about the institutions of the UN – and raising “faith literacy” within the UN – and her part in ecumenical and interfaith work.
ACC members also heard from Director of Continuing Indaba the Rev. Phil Groves about how this initiative was bringing people together in places as diverse as Kenya, New York and India. Groves said the project had now become a process and was being used around the world to build community, energize mission and provide a context to resolve conflict.
He explained how indaba had been used by two warring clans in Kenya and had resulted in them rescinding aggressive oaths dating back to the 1960s; how it was being applied in Burundi in the face of conflict; how it had been used by the Diocese of New York to unite an incredibly diverse range of parishes and how indaba had resolved a dispute between dalits and tribal people in Northern India.
Andy Bowerman and Rachael Carnegie reported back on the work of the Anglican Alliance and its three pillars of development, relief and advocacy. They conceded that the Alliance was relatively new and still learning how to have an impact – but then listed a wide range of areas and initiatives. One example from Rachael detailed support for a business project in Kenya, while Andy explained how the Alliance helped to energize a vast campaign to lobby the COP21 climate conference in Paris.
The session concluded with a short report from the new director for communications, Adrian Butcher, who took up his post just before ACC16. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Jan Butter, and expressed his desire to build on the vision to establish worldwide communication network. Butcher spoke of the need for training and his desire to see positive stories about the work of the communion shared more widely and more effectively among what he described as “this wonderful worldwide family.”
The directors are mainly based at the Anglican Communion Office in London.