BISHOP LEONARD TALKS ON THE MISSION WORK IN HIS DIOCESE。
(Extracted from his charge to the 19th diocesan synod of Temotu).
IT is indeed encouraging to see the effort we continually put into our mission work in our various mission centres. I acknowledge that some of you carry out your mission work in difficult and duress situations and circumstances. I have witnessed that myself on my visits to the regions and districts. I am deeply taken by the fact that, despites the many challenges we face,we maintain the spirituality, mission and ministry of the Church.
However, our mission can be further improved to become more effective and efficient. There could be many ways for doing thisdepending on our varied contexts. The mandate and the commission of the Church must remain aloft. We need to sharpen our thoughts, knowledge, theology and acquired analytical skills to transpire new approach and methods for our mission.
Generally, may I say that many times we become too reluctant. We allow our mission focus to be deviated by secondary engagements. The impact of this, is the noticeable downturnin our Church attendance and spirituality. There is urgency to counteract the leeway that ‘pulls and pushes’ us towards the attitudes. It is important to re-establish ourselves on firm and assured positions for our mission. Take for instance,the 2012 Mission Consultation where we floated all the issues encountering our mission and ministry in the air, but did very little or none to alleviate the issues in the five years.
Up until this year, we have an office for each ministry, but those proved ineffective. The Diocesan Council in 2016 agreed on a review to amalgamatesome ministriesunder the Mission office. The rationale underlying the review was to engagetheReligious Orders to carry outour mission activities. The idea is relativeto the theme, ‘a spiritually united Church’ aswe hope that as the members of the Religious Order embark on their mission work, their spirituality will influence our Diocesan Church.
I call on every level of our mission centres toinitiate practical mechanism to this review. I wish to call on the regional and district mission centres to be more creative in your mission approaches and aspirations. We need to be industrious, creative and innovative in our mission approach not just because we are prone to the influx of modernity, but to must keep our communicants abreast with our Anglican traditions, doctrines, teachings, and Christian ethos.
The obvious down side to the review is that we do not always have enough Brothers (MBH & SSF) and Sisters posted to our diocese. The numbers we get each year are not sufficient for mission, however, let us not use numeracy as hindrance to our mission, but with what we have we must seek ways to be effective. We will ensure that the central headquarters of the respective religious orders are informed of our mission approach.
I trust that through the reports and discussions on our mission work, the Synoddelegates who are strategic mission leaders willreturn refreshed and strengthen for effective mission in their various centres. It is an urgent matter for our Church. Before it is buried in its human nature, we must ensure that the foundational teachings remain the upfront agenda for our mission work.
We must not sit back and watch our Church cultivated with confusing teachings. It has become our approach to react when there is clear evidenceof otherfaiths germinating within our Church. Some of our reactions quite often fall outside of our Christian principles and teachings and can implicate negatively on us. It is not wise to compete for what is ours. The mandate of the Church was and is to be effective and watchful stewards and apologists of our Anglican faith. The medical philosophy of “Prevention is better than cure” is true for our Church too.