Mission to theological heads

The word “mission” makes many people think of resources used to help teach others. In reality, mission is about sharing.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Partners in Mission (PIM) department recently took an opportunity to link Canadian colleges with seminaries in other parts of the Anglican Communion in order to share experiences and challenges. Anglican church staff attended this meeting as observers. Through the Partners in Mission budget, the church provides funding to theological colleges in less wealthy parts of the Anglican Communion. PIM staff regularly visit and consult with college heads in the course of their overseas travels.

When the Canadian Heads of Anglican Colleges met in late June they were joined, for the first time, by overseas partners: the Rev. Canon Dr. Noel Titus of Codrington College in Barbados, the Rev. Canon Daniel Allotey of St. Nicholas College in Ghana and the Rev. Chad Gandiya of Bishop Gaul College in Zimbabwe. Mr. Gandiya also chairs the governing board of the African Network of Institutions of Theological Education Preparing Anglicans for Ministry (ANITEPAM).

The partners discussed, among other things, Anglican identity, relations between the church and the schools, recruitment of students, funding problems, putting training in context and academic standards. The Canadian heads greatly appreciated the wider perspective which the partners’ presence brought to the meeting. The partners were delighted to make so many useful contacts and to gather so many useful ideas.

After the meeting, the two African partners also visited the Diocese of Montreal where they were welcomed by Bishop Andrew Hutchison and the staff of Montreal Diocesan College at McGill University.

The idea of inviting partners to the annual Heads of Anglican Colleges meeting began with Canon Ogé Beauvoir, Regional Mission Coordinator for Africa & Middle East. His idea sparked the interest of other PIM staff.

“We are very aware of the benefits of bringing people together to share their challenges and to learn from each other”, says Eleanor Johnson, director of Partnerships. “For many years the Anglican Church has been active in inviting partners to participate in key meetings and conferences. Examples include the long-standing participation of overseas and ecumenical partners at General Synod, the inclusion of partners as full voting members of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and PIM standing committees, and the standard practice of inviting overseas partners to national conferences whenever possible.”

The mission to theological college heads in Canada seems to have had a happy outcome and Ms. Johnson is considering repeating the offer next year.

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