ABM’s mission: Dr Julianne Stewart
Manning Deanery Anglican Women recently heard Dr Julianne Stewart speak about how the Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) interprets its call to join in God’s mission in the world today. Julianne spoke mainly about the Community Development work of ABM, of which she is part Director.
“Today, ABM does not send missionaries as it did in much of its almost 170 year history, but rather works in partnership with many of the Anglican churches it helped to found, as well as with other Anglican churches in the developing world. These churches include the national churches of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Philippines, Myanmar, Zambia, Kenya, South Sudan, Palestine and Egypt.
“All of ABM’s work today can be expressed in one or more of the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion, which it interprets as follows:
- Witness to Christ’s saving, forgiving and reconciling love for all people.
- Build welcoming, transforming communities of faith.
- Stand in solidarity with the poor and needy.
- Challenge violence, injustice and oppression, and work for peace and reconciliation.
- Protect, care for and renew life on our planet.
“In a sense, the first Mark is an umbrella statement for all the other Marks of Mission, since all are examples of witnessing to the saving, forgiving and reconciling love of Christ for all. ABM has a strong commitment to reconciliation between Australia’s first peoples and those who have more recently “come across the seas” to settle here. In this regard it works closely with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council (NATSIAC) to promote the voices of the members of that body to the broader church, as well as to provide material support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ministry.
“In terms of the second Mark, ABM’s Church to Church program helps support the evangelism and religious education and training programs of several Anglican churches in developing countries, including Newton Theological College in PNG, and St John’s Seminary in northern Zambia, both of which it helped to start many years ago.
“ABM’s Community Development work reflects the final three Marks of Mission, working with Anglican Church partners to target disadvantaged, marginalised communities in the developing world to support those communities to address their own concerns. ABM seeks to build trusting, respectful relationships with its Anglican Church partners and the communities they serve. Examples of this work include building food security, resilience and livelihoods of farmers in arid parts of Kenya, as well as tropical mountainous areas of the Philippines, and supporting church led adult literacy programs in PNG and Vanuatu.
“In seeking to challenge violence, injustice and oppression, ABM’s supports the Anglican Churches in Zambia, PNG and the Solomon Islands to address issues such child abuse, gender based violence, and the human rights of women. ABM works with an Anglican hospital in the war-torn Gaza Strip to address a chronic problem of underweight children through a nutrition program of nutritional supplements.”