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Peter Jensen’s last words

by on October 9, 2012

…well, that’s how he described them anyhow!

What stands out about Peter’s last archbishoply address to the Synod? What was his take-home message?

Mission. That’s what it was. The mission. We’ve had ten years of mission, it’s been good, we’ve made a start and we need to keep on with it. Mission to all of Sydney.

Peter Jensen repudiated the traditional mindset that the Anglican church exists to ‘look after the religious needs of the descendants of the English..’ That would make us ‘a declining chaplaincy church’. He countered, ‘The gospel itself utterly forbids us to think like that.’

He acknowledged that growth is very slow in coming, and explored possible reasons. His main explanation?

“Our society is even more in the grip of a malign individualism than ever before and its resistance to all relationships and especially an all demanding relationship with God is powerful indeed.”

But he insists that still this mission is core to our identity: ‘We must all daily determine to be Bible and gospel people. Being Anglican helps us here…’

How is the mission going? While acknowledging we have not grown relative to the population, he is thankful that ‘in contrast with voluntary organisations in general, we have experienced numerical growth.’ Also the mission has helped us: we have preached, prayed, progressed, planted (esp. ethnic congregations), proliferated gospel workers, partnered and freed things up for experimentation and change.

What should we do next? Go on with the mission! And that means taking stock:

‘If you accept my challenge to continue with the priority on preaching the gospel into the long term, there will be an absolute need for clarity and hard headed planning. It is time for the Mission to be dismantled, examined, adjusted, reformed, improved and embraced.’

What should our mood be as we push on?

“A new age has broken in. The kingdom of God is here. From now on when we look back into the darkness of human history, nasty, brutish and short, we see that a light has dawned. The age of promise is no mere promise: its beginning is there, there in history and its full coming, the rising of the sun is not long delayed…That is why we are joyfully determined to preach his gospel as our priority.”

What is Peter’s vision for the next decade? Among other things,

“I see cross cultural work flourishing. I see the lay people of our Diocese unleashed for service. I see a spirit of partnership emerging.”

How can we assess these ‘Last Words?’ We may not agree with every aspect of the Archbishop’s view of the diocese – in such a detailed speech that would hardly be possible. But the big picture he paints is very clear and straightforward: of all the things the Archbish could have spoken about, he has stuck to mission. Peter wants to keep the mission task at the front of our minds, as core to the churches’ identity and life.

Is he right to do so?

We think he is. The gospel is a story of mission, the mission which God gave his son when he sent him to seek and save what was lost. The church is that group of people who have got caught up with what God is doing in the world through Jesus. We have joined in the story – and it’s a mission-story. “Go and make disciples…”

Here at CCC our hearts are warmed by Peter Jensen’s mission-emphasis. It acts as a big vote of support for what we are trying to do in Canterbury. Thankyou, Peter. We are particularly encouraged by the emphasis on developing gospel ministries beyond our traditional ethnic-comfort-zones. Cross-cultural mission is where it’s at for reaching Sydney. Our archbishops have not been good at saying that over the past 60 years. But Peter puts it upfront in his vision for the future. That’s real leadership.

We also welcome his call for the mission plan to be stripped back and reconstructed, for a time of assessment and soul-searching. We have been arguing for exactly this here at the blog lately, so it’s nice to hear it from the Archbishop.

Overall, we like Peter Jensen’s vision for what it means to be a part of the Anglican church in Sydney. ”We must all daily determine to be Bible and gospel people. Being Anglican helps us here…”

This is the reason we are an Anglican church, and feel that we’re on the right team.

From → General

One Comment
  1. andrew permalink

    Yes mission is very important. But have many anglicans lost mission because they join with other religions (mostly the catholic religion). Joining with other religions is being a Gomer (Hosea’s wife). Gomer is a picture of unfaithfulness to her husband Hosea and God draws parrellels between Gomers unfaithfulness and his peoples unfaithfullness (Hosea1:2). So while there might be outward profession if John 14:6 it is not more than skin deep, the heart or affections are not for their great God but to avoid conflict, as evidenced by their willingness to freely join with other religions in mission when really we should be evanglising them rather than accepting them as Christian. This is a very revealing issue, we are slow to understand just as Gomer is sleeping with other men it is obvious that her heart and affections are not for her husband. So to when people join with other religions, their passion is a Godless passion. Not a passion for God.

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