Partnering with the Indigenous Church in the Kimberley
- Written by: Ray Arthur
Ray Arthur explains why CMS is starting a new partnership in North West Australia
Australia was in the sights of CMS and at a meeting on November 13 1786 the question was asked “What is the best method of planting and promulgating the Gospel in Botany Bay?”. The answer was seen in the appointment of gospel centered clergy such as the Rev Richard Johnson and a little later the Rev Samuel Marsden.
Marsden became the senior chaplain to the colony and “apostle to the Maoris of New Zealand and the Aboriginals of Australia” (quotes from ‘A History of the Church Missionary Society of Australia’).
In 1908 CMS-A appointed their first missionary to indigenous people in Roper River (NT). CMS-A has expanded Indigenous ministry in the NT which continues throughout the Territory today. From this experience, and its concentration on equipping people for cross-cultural ministry throughout the world, CMS is in a good position to respond to the request of the Anglican Diocese of the North West Australia, and in particular of the parish of Broome, for help in building God’s church throughout the Kimberley Region.
From Darwin to Melbourne
- Written by: Chris Appleby
Murray Seiffert brings a personal perspective to bear on life and ministry among Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, and highlights some (at times) unflattering contrasts with life and ministry in the south.
This is a rather personal tale which reflects on living and working with Christian Aboriginal leaders in the Northern Territory, then returning to Melbourne. It is seven years since I returned to Victoria from that life-changing experience. Of course most of the first five years were dominated by researching and writing two books linked to that work: Refuge on the Roper: the Origins of the Roper River Mission, Ngukurr (2008) and Gumbuli of Ngukurr: Aboriginal Elder in Arnhem Land (2011).
What was I doing there?
Having spent much of my life in teacher education, I was appointed to be Academic Dean at Nungalinya College in Darwin. All students at the College are Indigenous adults, the majority coming from the Top End of the Northern Territory, although most States were represented. The College was established in 1973 by the Anglican and Uniting Churches, being joined in the 1990s by the Catholic Church.
My wife Marjorie and I had felt God’s call to work as missionaries with the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and did so from 2001 until 2007.
My work involved many challenges, not the least being asked to lead the transformation of an Indigenous college into a Registered Training Organization meeting the increasing demands of national ‘quality control’ standards for the twenty-first century.
Priorities for a Mission(al) Society
- Written by: Mark Short
Mark Short outlines what a Mission Society should look like, and what it has to do with church.
Long before missionalbecame the favourite adjective for churches wanting to serve on the cutting edge, voluntary societies like The Bush Church Aid Society have defined themselves in terms of mission (early editions of the Society"s Real Australian magazine refer to "Home Missions" in contrast to the "Foreign Missions" supported by other Societies). But what does a commitment to mission look like for us?
First, it is important to recognise that we are not a church. We aren"t a local gathering of God"s people around the Risen Lord Jesus.
But we do have a vital and necessary connection with the church. The thousands of people who express our mission through their prayers, giving and going do so largely because their faith has been awakened and encouraged through one or more churches. In turn BCA needs to ensure that the formation and strengthening of churches is central to what we do. If, as Leslie Newbiggin argued, a healthy local church is one of most powerful demonstrations of the gospel to a sceptical age, then we have no place supporting programs that exist in isolation or independent from a local gathering of believers.
So what disciplines will sustain a healthy partnership between BCA and churches? Let me suggest four:
- Written by: Kimberley Smith
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 Church as Community in Mission
- Written by: Paul Arnott
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali asserts that churches are called to engage in mission from everywhere to everywhere. By that I take him to mean that mission is to be at the heart of church life, that all Christians are called to be witnesses to Jesus in the words we speak and the lives we live wherever we live. But more than that, churches are called to have an involvement in both local mission and global mission.
In my experience if churches engage in mission at all they are locally focused and tend to leave the global to the enthusiastic few. However, as congregations recognise the primacy of their global nature and calling they will be far more effective in their local mission and outreach. As Bishop Lesslie Newbigin wrote in his 1994 book The Open Secret, “Mission is the proclaiming of God's kingship over all human history and over the whole cosmos. Mission is concerned with nothing less than all that God has begun to do in the creation of the world and of humankind. Its concern is not sectional but total and universal.'