Anglicans worldwide prepare strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals

Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, met with national and international planning committee members last week to discuss an international Anglican conference to be held in Gauteng, South Africa from 7 – 14 March 2007. ‘Towards Effective Anglican Mission (TEAM): An international conference on Prophetic Witness, Social Development and HIV and AIDS’ will include 400 representatives from every province in the Anglican Communion. They will meet in a context of prayer and theology to share experiences on issues such as HIV and AIDS and the Millennium Development Goals. To date more than half the people invited have responded positively.

It is expected that the Opening Eucharist, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will preach, will take place in a vibrant township setting. This will set the right tone and mood for the conference that seeks to find meaningful ways to deal with poverty, lack of access to clean water and HIV and AIDS.

“I can see the drum majorettes meeting the delegates at the beginning of the township, the sound of drums leading us to the Opening Eucharist venue; delegates getting out of the buses joining the procession, waving banners that bear the messages of hope to the residents,” said Archbishop Ndungane at the meeting.

The Worship Team has drawn resources for daily worship sessions from the rich, diverse cultural contexts within the Anglican Communion. Thus far an amount of US$500 000 has been raised by the fundraising task team to subsidise delegates.

The programme will include a daily structure of bible study, worship, keynote addresses – by, among others, the Archbishop of Canterbury – workshops and group discussions. It includes a day of rest with worship at local congregations and possible project site visits.

“Working within the guidelines of the planning committee, the facilitation team will ensure that speakers and workshop presenters are adequately briefed, all plenary sessions are facilitated, daily discussions are prepared, a strategic framework is drafted with a toolkit, resolutions are formulated and a conference report is completed,” said Delene Mark, Chief Executive Officer of HOPE Africa (the social development arm of the Anglican Church in Southern) and co-ordinator of TEAM.

Priorities for the eight-day conference will be to review the response of the Anglican Communion to the MDGs and analyse the impact of the goals on women and children; assess first Pan-African Anglican Consultation on HIV and AIDS (‘Boksburg 1’), which was held in August 2001 and share the African experience with the Anglican Communion; encourage opportunities for learning and transformation through dialogue among people with diverse experiences and perspectives; and encourage a prophetic articulation for an Anglican theology which supports witness and action for social justice.

The conference will also include an exposition of the Biblical principles and Gospel imperatives on the mission of the Church in society.

“This conference is a much needed platform for Africans to explore strategies that will lead to a successful battle against HIV and AIDS, poverty and other social ills. Through dialogue we will be able to find solutions,” concluded Mark.

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