‘Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences’ – theme for next Anglican Consultative Council

???????????????????????????????The overarching theme for the next year’s Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) meeting in Zambia, “Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”, has been chosen by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion as a response to daily Christian challenges.

Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), Canon John Kafwanka, welcomed the theme as “the best news for the Communion at this point in time.”

Mr Kafwanka explained that “It has become evident in many parts of the Communion that the challenge we face today in Christian discipleship is the divide between ‘professed faith’ and ‘lived faith’. This is mainly because we have not taken seriously the need to intentionally equip ourselves and our members in considering the implications of faith in Christ in every sphere of our life. The theme for next ACC meeting calls us back to that.”

In the past two years, the Anglican Witness group of Anglican leaders and mission practitioners has been advancing the centrality in the life and mission of the Church of equipping all God’s people for intentional discipleship, so that Anglicans and Episcopalians everywhere become intentional in considering how their faith bears on their everyday life experience.

Focus on intentional discipleship has come as a response to Christian challenges such as failure to connect faith and professional life, low commitment and impact on community life, lack of confidence to share personal faith and pass it to next generation, and decline in Church membership in some cases.

A video, “Being a Christian in everyday life” has been recently published to illustrate some of the current issues both in the Global South and North, and why intentional discipleship is critical.

The chair of the Anglican Witness core group, the Archbishop-elect of South East Asia, the Rt Revd Ng Moon Hing, said: “In this season of turbulence, intentional discipleship is the way of going forward. . . I hope and pray that ACC will promote a season of intentional discipleship in the Anglican Communion.”

Anglican Witness is gathering a variety of resources to help churches equip their members to be Christ’s credible witnesses in every sphere of their life. It aims to promote good practice from dioceses and parishes where an emphasis on discipleship is already being implemented.

Making real-life disciples in Malaysia

ImageGenThe Diocese of West Malaysia in the Province of South East Asia has been implementing a special focus on discipleship, or Christian living, for the past six years and has now held a seminar for faith leaders to look back on and share good practice.

The focus on discipleship was adopted by the diocese as a response to some of the challenges faced by Anglicans in South East Asia today; such as lack of commitment to practice personal faith and Christian ethics in all spheres of life.

“There are many full-time Christians but part-time disciples; many full-time pastors but part-time disciples,” the Bishop of West Malaysia and Archbishop-Elect of South East Asia, the Rt Revd Ng Moon Hing, said.

The seminar on “The Real Life Disciple” was held at St George’s Church Penang, the oldest church in the Province of South East Asia. Discipleship training, which began in 2009, is now carried out in five of the major languages spoken in the diocese: English, Chinese, Tamil, Malay and Iban.

In the midst of religious extremism and secularism in a self-centered world, Archbishop Moon Hing believes that discipleship training is the way forward for the church in this century. “The final product of the church should be disciples of Christ, and not programmes and activities or church membership,” he said.

The archbishop said that a disciple was somebody “who can articulate the Gospel of Christ clearly; can feed himself spiritually with the word of God; one who prays earnestly and hears from God; one who worships and serves God in season and out of season irrespective of name, position, title, privileges, or monetary gain; one who goes for mission to communities which are less comfortable than his own.”

The seminar included workshops and sessions on ministry philosophy, ecclesiology, ministry strategy, training the laity, Bible study and the practical issues of discipleship training. The Revd Isak You, from SaRang Church in Seoul Korea, led two open evening sessions looking at issues arising from changing the focus on discipleship and ways of encouraging the members of congregation to active discipleship.

Seminar participants highlighted the outcomes that some congregations had achieved as a result of the focus on discipleship, including a tripling of church funding after one year of engagement in discipleship training; and a large number of people involved in full time ministry. One congregation of 70 people has 70 per cent of its members actively serving the church in various capacities, including mission and outreach works.

“We should seriously consider and do disciple-making as our legacy for coming generations,” Archbishop Moon Hing said in his final charge to the seminar participants. “Like in the early church and throughout the past centuries, Christianity survived only through the real disciples of Christ. Today we do not need to re-invent the wheel.

“The success of discipleship training is not in the programme, course work, materials used or certification. It is measured with what happens outside the small group training or church – the life and character of the Disciple,” he concluded.

  • Archbishop Ng Moon Hing is the chair of a core group of theAnglican Witness, a communion wide initiative bringing together mission leaders and practitioners, to equip believers to live out personal faith in their communities. It aims at mobilising Christians and gathering good practice stories from dioceses and parishes where emphasis on discipleship is already being implemented in various contexts.Anglican Witness is inviting Anglicans willing to share their own stories and resources to get in touch.

New Anglican Communion video highlights need for Christians to live out their faith

The Anglican Witness initiative, coordinated by the Anglican Communion Office, has produced a new video, Being a Christian in everyday life, to highlight current issues in churches in the Global South and North, with a view to a possible Communion-wide response through a focus on discipleship or Christian living.

In the video, Anglican Communion mission leaders and practitioners note challenges such as a failure to connect faith and professional life, a lack of confidence to share personal faith and pass it on to the next generation, low commitment, impact on community, and a decline in church membership.

“Many youths feel the Church does not respond to their needs so when they go out they find other agencies that seem to warm up to who they are,” says the Revd Robert Sihubwa, a youth pastor in the diocese of Lusaka in Zambia.

“[The Church] should not try to bring the Kingdom in through power and influence and authority, but . . . through our manner of life; so that people will look at us and say ‘I don’t know who those people are, I don’t even believe what they believe, but, man, they’ve got something,’” concludes the Revd Robert Hurkmans, Rector of St James and St Brendan, Port Colborne, Canada.

Focusing only on evangelism and not taking into consideration other aspects of God’s mission is like “eating meat every day and forgetting vegetables,” the Archbishop-elect of South East Asia, the Rt Revd Moon Hing, says in the video. “Discipleship is a balanced diet,” he concludes.

Being a Christian in everyday life features faith leaders from the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the Church of the Province of South East Asia, and the Anglican Church of South America.

The video is one of several resources gathered by Anglican Witness, an initiative bringing together Anglicans and Episcopalians engaged in evangelism and church growth, to equip believers to live out their faith as disciples of Jesus in their communities.

The Anglican Witness initiative aims at mobilising Christian leaders and gathering good practice stories from dioceses and parishes where emphasis on discipleship is already being implemented in various contexts.

  • Anglican Witness is inviting Anglicans willing to share their own stories and resources to get in touch.

Burundian youth playing ‘football for peace’

The Anglican Church of Burundi:

burundi football
Photo: Anglican Church of Burundi

The Diocese of Matana of the Anglican Church of Burundi has been regularly organizing a football competition between different groups of young people in the three communes of Matana, Mugamba and Songa to build unity and support work together for peace in these localities.

Supported by the Diocese, youth leaders in the Diocese have initiated associations through which daily issues and challenges can be discussed with a view to finding solutions and from which activities can emerge and be developed.

Agnes who heads up CJP, Youth Club for Peace said that they decided to fight against ignorance as it is a major challenge among youth. The CJP organizes training sessions and meetings for those in charge of associations. Income generating activities have emerged such as a small soap factory and the breeding of goats, while others are involved in transport.

Open to all young people in the community the associations keep youth in positive and creative activities and training that build peace and harmony.

The Anglican Church of Burundi has recently launched a new, more informative website. Follow news from the Province on www.anglicanburundi.org.

Anglican Witness core group Chair elected as Primate of South East Asia

By ACNS staff

ImageGen (1)The Rt Revd Datuk Ng Moon Hing, Bishop of West Malaysia, was elected Primate of the Anglican Church of South East Asia during an extraordinary meeting of the Provincial Synod on 2 September in Sandakan, Sabah.

He will be the fifth Archbishop to serve the Province, which comprises the dioceses of Kutching, Sabah, Singapore, and West Malaysia.

Provincial Secretary Leonard Shim announced that Archbishop-elect Ng Moon Hing’s term of office will begin in February 2016 and continue to 2020.

“On behalf of the Anglican Communion, I extend my warmest regards and congratulations to Bishop Ng Moon Hing on his election as Archbishop of the Anglican Church of South East Asia,” said the Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop Ng Moon Hing had made major contributions to Anglican mission and evangelism both regionally and globally and as chair of the Anglican Witness core group continued to be instrumental in promoting a Communion wide emphasis on intentional discipleship, the General Secretary added.

Archbishop-elect Ng Moon Hing will succeed the Most Revd Bolly Lapok as Primate.