The following post was written for the ADNE by The Rev. Canon William Beasley, Director of the ACNA’s Greenhouse Movement and GAFCON Chair for the Global Mission Partners Network, after his visit to the 2018 East African Festival in Bridgewater, MA:
The diverse churches within The Anglican Diocese in New England (ADNE), which includes several Kenyan, Ugandan, and South Sudanese communities, have partnered together and discovered the need for reciprocal mission. This need extends primarily to the next generation of these inter-ethnic communities holding the line between American culture and their family’s East African homeland. This past week, the Most Rev. Jackson Ole Sapit, Archbishop of the Church of Kenya, and the Rev. Canon William Beasley of the Anglican Church in North America, visited the ADNE’s East African Festival, with a vision emerging of multi-ethnic laborers on mission together in the same field, without regard to the differences that divide them. This kind of unifying movement is happening in every place where East Africans have emigrated and gathered for worship.
In a more globally connected world, Archbishop Jackson of Kenya asked, “How can the Church find her way into the center of public space?” The Church, especially in the West, must ask this question as she finds herself more disenfranchised while living in the remains of Western Christendom; the Church’s unity is the answer. Rev. Canon Beasley, the newly appointed GAFCON Chair for the Global Mission Partners Network, the Anglican Church’s new design for missional mobilization around the world, said, “We must have reciprocal mission. We cannot do mission for our age without walking together.”
The Church presents the reality of the Truth expressed in unity-through-diversity, which the world longs for yet lacks. Communities are changing, and people from many different cultures are interacting and living together. The Church is for the entire world and is therefore for the world reflected in each community. She cannot expect to reach entire communities with only a certain cultural population as a target, and her laborers must reflect the diversity of the communities to which they are called, while at the same time remaining unified, praying together for the entire field—sowing the seed of the gospel together, watering together, harvesting together.
During the East African Festival, the phrase “Let’s Walk Together” was often used, and its Swahili counterpart, Tutembe Pamoja, was heard again and again. It is in the spirit of this walking together that the Global Mission Partners Network suggests a new movement—one that is an expansion of an already existing movement: Caminemos Juntos—also meaning Let’s Walk Together, a ministry network serving Latin American churches across the Communion. As Caminemos Juntos grew, it discovered the need for Latino worshippers to not only be on reciprocal mission with each other but also on mission with churches that are ethnically diverse. We have learned from Caminemos Juntos. It has drawn various believing communities together in mission, supporting the unique contribution and value of Latin American cultures while connecting them to the historic church in the Anglican way. This vision must now be extended, gathering more and more cultures. The time is right for East Africans to be gathered this way in mission across the globe, spreading the flame that first ignited the East African Revival almost a century ago into the contexts in which they have settled.