Kimberly Smith introduces the Anglican Relief and Development Fund.
The growing influence of global south leadership within the Anglican Communion (www.globalsouthanglican.org) has led to the emergence of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. This is a new faith-based overseas aid agency now operating within a coalition of independent integral mission agencies in the USA, Canada and Australia. ARDF Australia was launched last year during the EFAC-sponsored visit of Archbishop Ben Kwashi (Jos, Nigeria) to several Australian capital cities. The Primate of South East Asia (Most Revd Bolly Lapok) and six other G S Primates have written: ‘We look forward to working with you and like-minded colleagues and agencies in the worldwide Anglican Communion.’
From the beginning, accountability and governance of ARDF Global has been enriched by an international board of trustees which includes many of the global south primates who were involved in initiating ARDF Australia. The international board currently includes Archbishops Anis (Egypt), Lapok (SE Asia), Akrofi (West Africa), Deng (Sudan), Isingoma (Congo), and Zavala (Southern Cone), and EFAC members Glenn Davies (former National Chair) and Kimberly Smith (Victoria).
Locally, an autonomous Australian board comprises well-known EFAC identities, Glenn Davies, Richard Condie, Richard Trist and Kimberly Smith. Recently the board invited former CMS missionary Fiona Oates to work part-time as a project consultant and to help ARDFA achieve tax deductibility status under AusAID’s Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme.
The goal of ARDFA is to bring evangelical Australian parishes and people together in partnership with like-minded parishes and dioceses in developing countries to relieve and address the causes of poverty, distress and disability and at the same time share God’s gifts of salvation and grace.
Assisting and working with Anglican communities impacted by natural disasters is also one of the objectives of ARDF Australia. In the longer term, ARDFA seeks to build the capacity of global south dioceses and provinces to respond to natural disasters through the appointment of emergency chaplains using training materials which have already proven so successful in Australia.
ARDFA’s first development project—micro finance for the deaf in Cairo—was initiated by chairman of the Global South Primates Steering Committee (Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt) when he visited CMS Summer Schools in Australia last year. Other projects being considered include a pilot parish/village economic empowerment project in Myanmar and short-term English language teaching as part of Singapore Diocese’s Missions Gateway initiative which covers Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
ARDF promotes integral mission. This means that every project must (a) be initiated by and responsible to local or indigenous Anglican leaders and (b) have a spiritual component.
In this sense, ARDFA practices integral mission. Both ingredients are managed by the in-country partner in accordance with ARDFA policy and AusAID requirements under Australia’s Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme. However, Australian tax-deductible gifts are not used for the spiritual component.
It is well recognised that evangelical parishes can be powerful catalysts for change in their local setting. For example, ARDFA is currently exploring the feasibility of engaging in an economic empowerment program with the Province of Myanmar—and would love to hear from any Aussie parishes who would like to participate in funding this and similar projects in the Asia–Pacific region.
Prayer support is vital for ARDFA. Although financial support is most welcome, we recognise that the prayers of our friends and supporters is what we need most.
You can find out more about ARDF by visiting our web site at www.ardfa.org.au. We invite you to become a member. We need you.
Kimberly Smith is the Honorary Executive Director of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Australia.