Supporting churches in intentional discipleship

13 April 2016

Archbishop Albert Chama, Chair of Anglican Alliance Board with the Executive Directors, Andy Bowerman and Rachel Carnegie at ACC-16. Credit: Anglican Alliance

The Anglican Alliance shared its five-year journey of transformation when it reported to ACC-16 this week together with colleagues in the Anglican Communion Office Mission Cluster.

Hosted by the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) in Lusaka, Zambia, has presented a wonderful opportunity for the Anglican Alliance to engage with provinces across the Communion as well as participate in the vibrant life and worship of the host province. The theme of ACC-16 is Intentional Discipleship in a World of Difference.

Archbishop Albert Chama, Primate of Central Africa and Chair of the Anglican Alliance Board of Trustees introduced the presentation made by Co-Executive Directors the Revd Andy Bowerman and the Revd Rachel Carnegie to ACC-16.

Reflecting on the last five years

“Since 2011 the Anglican Alliance has been bringing together the churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion to work collectively in holistic mission towards a world free of poverty, suffering, conflict and injustice,” Rachel commented in the Alliance’s report to ACC-16.

Living the Anglican Five Marks of Mission locally and globally means witnessing to Christ’s love for all, responding to human need, transforming structures, promoting peace and reconciliation, and safeguarding Creation, she added.

The Anglican Alliance’s role is to connect and strengthen the churches’ capacity in the areas of development, relief and advocacy, and to enable all those in the Communion to bring both their gifts and needs into play.

“We are sharing skills and working together in a concerted and coordinated way to bear witness to the Gospel’s transformational power. We want to support the churches to walk in ‘whole-life-shaping discipleship’, as it says in the ACC-16 publication on intentional discipleship,” Rachel commented.

“At the Alliance we have seen a generous vision of shared mission and mutual interdependence lived out on a day-to-day basis throughout the Communion in the last five years.”

Discipleship in the pillar areas

In the area of development, this has taken different forms, Rachel said. The Alliance has organised global consultations on economic development and human trafficking, and Church and Community Mobilisation (Umoja) workshops. The Agents of Change distance learning programme has been equipping church members with skills for community development. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are providing a renewed focus. This work is underpinned by theological resources and contextual Bible studies, she added.

Within its relief pillar, the Rachel noted that the Alliance has been connecting and strengthening the humanitarian work of local churches and other partners. This both addresses needs in smaller-scale, local crises, and provides a coordinating platform for the churches’ response to more complex contexts such as the conflict in South Sudan or the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Helping the Communion to come together to give support through prayer and practical assistance has been central.

Co-Executive Director the Revd Andy Bowerman said that with its third pillar, advocacy, the Alliance is seeking to ensure that the Anglican voice is heard – speaking out for and with the poor and oppressed, to speak truth to power to promote human flourishing and safeguard creation.

Over the past five years, the Alliance has helped to coordinate Communion-wide advocacy initiatives at the global level, while building capacity for church-based advocacy at regional, national and local levels, he remarked.

“Here we’ve really seen the value of working globally on specific objectives like UN climate justice negotiations and the Sustainable Development Goals. We’ve been able to gather other elements of the Communion, including Provinces and Networks, as well as wider ecumenical coalitions. The collaboration with the Anglican Representative to the UN is central to this work.”

Caribbean Facilitator, Clifton Nedd, who is also a ACC member, spoke in the presentation about his plans for youth empowerment activities in his region.

Harriet Baka, Mothers’ Union Provincial Coordinator in the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan, also contributed her perspective on how the Anglican Alliance has worked with her church during the recent years of conflict.

The Alliance journey since ACC-15

ACC-15 confirmed the Alliance’s emerging role following its founding in early 2011.

In 2013 the Anglican Alliance was established as a charitable company, under the ACC. It has a board and an advisory council drawn from across the Communion.

A small secretariat is based at the Anglican Communion Office, and regional facilitators are located in Africa, East Asia, South Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, supported by regional steering groups.

The Alliance has focused its work around three global priorities in 2014-2016: climate justice and food security; youth and women’s empowerment; refugees, migrants and human trafficking.

Setting priorities

With both Executive Directors present in Lusaka, the Alliance was listening to ACC-16 for further guidance on priorities for its work in the next three years as it supports the Anglican family to live as discipleships of Christ, connected by bonds of affection and concern for the poor and vulnerable, Rachel said.

Analyzing the issues raised by different provinces at ACC-16, it was clear that the priorities identified through the Alliance’s regional consultations had been reinforced by the discussion in Lusaka. Key concerns included:

  • Climate justice and environmental protection
  • Ending poverty/inequality
  • Empowering women and youth
  • Ending violence against women and amongst youth
  • Responding to issues of refugees, migrants and human trafficking
  • Promoting justice, peace and reconciliation.

In focused discussions on the role of the Anglican Alliance, ACC members affirmed the role it plays in the missional life of the Anglican Communion.

They proposed having focal points in each province/country to promote awareness of the Alliance’s role and greater participation its activities, while also helping the Alliance secretariat better to understand the local context.

They also encouraged the Alliance to utilize all forms of media and technology to share good news stories and exchange expertise.

“It has been inspiring, humbling and continually encouraging for the Anglican Alliance to walk with the Communion as it responds in a simple but profound way to God’s concern for all and his longing to see his Kingdom realised on Earth,” Rachel reflected.

“These shared actions in the world are living signs of discipleship and of koinonia – the New Testament vision of mutual sharing and caring, of fellowship, of being in relationship for the common good of the people of God. This is a visible expression of what it means to be Church.”

Spotlight on climate justice

ACC-16 participants are looking to engage environmental issues within the wider Communion during a session co-facilitated by the Alliance on Friday, 15 April, Andy reports.

“We’ll definitely be putting the spotlight on climate justice. The session will hear from the Anglican Communion Environment Network, as well as from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, who convenes the group of Anglican bishops championing climate justice,” Andy says.

“A key input will come from a member of Green Anglicans from South Africa who has been working with a youth forum prior to ACC-16,” Andy adds.

The session will also hear from ACC members about the impact of climate change in their own provinces, and look at how to strengthen collaborative action across the Communion.

Highlights of the Alliance’s first five years


Anglican Alliance secretariat established with first Director, Sally Keeble

Relief response: Japan earthquake and tsunami, Horn of Africa food crisis, Colombia conflict

Regional consultations establish thematic priorities


Regional facilitators recruited in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific

Global consultation on economic development

Relief response: Malawi flooding, Philippines flooding, Uganda refugees from DRC, Korea flooding

Advocacy initiative on rights of garment workers in Bangladesh


Anglican Alliance Board of Trustees established under Chair, Archbishop Albert Chama

Relief response: Philippines typhoon, Bangladesh floods, South Sudan flooding and conflict, Uganda flooding, Bangladesh factory collapse, DRC conflict, Pakistan flooding

Launch of Agents of Change distance learning programme for community development skills


New Co-Executive Directors, Rachel Carnegie and Andy Bowerman, appointed

Global Advisory Council meets

Relief response: South Sudan conflict, refugees in Ethiopia, West Africa Ebola, DR Congo, Iraq, Gaza hospital, Brazil flooding, Pakistan violence, assisting refugees with disabilities

Global consultations on response to modern slavery and on conflict prevention

Oceans of Justice campaign on climate justice for the Pacific at G20 summit in Australia


Global Advisory Council meets to steer strategy

Regional consultations in Africa, South Asia, Pacific and Europe

Workshop co-convened with CAPA for 100 facilitators of Church and Community Mobilisation (CCM)

Relief response: Melanesia cyclone, Nepal earthquake, Burundi civil unrest and refugees in Rwanda, Tanzania and DRC, Pakistan bombing, Tanzania drought, flooding in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique, Syrian refugees in Europe, Brazil flooding, Bahamas and Dominica hurricane

Regional facilitators for Caribbean and East Asia appointed

Carrying messages from around the Communion, the Alliance joins the Pilgrimage to Paris for the Climate Change conference, COP 21

2016 – Presented on Sustainable Development Goals at Primates’ gathering

Great Lakes workshop on disability and CCM held in Rwanda

Relief response: Major on-going crises, Fiji cyclone, Pakistan

Anti-Human trafficking regional workshops to be held in Africa, South Asia and Latin America