How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – Psalm 133:1
Where did the summer go? Newsworthy events and disasters worldwide seem to push us through the days at a faster pace. Just this week, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity for our brothers and sisters affected by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. In spite of these powerful and dangerous hurricanes, I hope you have found some rest and refreshment along the way.
In June, the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Global Trustee Council met in Wheaton, Illinois during the Anglican Church in North America’s Provincial Assembly. It was wonderful to witness the Anglican Church working together.
After reviewing the project research, the ARDF Global Council approved six new development projects totaling $504,874. Over the next year, these projects will improve the education, health, and food security of more than 50,000 people and their communities in five countries on two continents. During our time together, we also heard reports of how God is working across the globe. We are grateful for our Global Trustees, who are truly fulfilling ARDF’s mission to serve the poor in the most needy areas throughout the Anglican Communion.
What holds our work together? What brings unity?
Our Global Trustees span the globe, representing very different cultural contexts. Yet their unified leadership makes ARDF effective—and reflective of the gospel. We work together in unity to bring hope to the poor through the local church.
Strengthening local churches to proclaim Christ is the purpose of ARDF’s mission. Proclaiming Christ is best done where people can see the love of Christ in action. What better a place for a person to see the real loving and living Christ, but in an expanding local Church community?
Our Anglican tradition states our mission so clearly in this prayer:
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you, bring the nations into your fold, pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen”
The Anglican Prayer Book also shows us how to minister as a Church: through unity.
Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, as you and he are one: Grant that your Church, being bound together in love and obedience to you, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him who you have sent, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
ARDF works with individuals and local churches throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion by proclaiming Christ and in unity. “We work together for the transformation of people through the gospel. And every project is around that,” says Archbishop Tito Zavala, former ARDF Global Trustee.
In February, ARDF led its first Vision Trip to Nepal.
We visited Anglican parishes in Kathmandu and the earthquake damaged churches around Dhading. What joy it was to worship with them, knowing our unity in Christ! We prayed with them for healing and reconstruction of their homes, schools, and churches. We showed love, prayer, and giving that are all integral to following Christ. Our mutual joy of just being together was palpable. The visit demonstrated to us all that God is working through our local Anglican Churches—in every country.
In 2018, ARDF will sponsor five more Vision Trips. Come with us to Rwanda, Brazil, Nepal, Ghana, or South Sudan (via Northern Kenya).
It is powerful to see these people who were displaced by the earthquake that traveled days to come down to [meet us]. These people are happy, they are thankful and now all of a sudden, your heart opens up in ways you were not even thinking about. – George Connors, ARDF US Trustee and 2017 Nepal Vision Trip participant
It’s ARDF’s goal that each development project, relief effort, and Vision Trip will be an answer to Christ’s prayer for his disciples.
My prayer is not for them alone, I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. – John 17:20-21″
May God help us all increase our loving action around the world.
With a grateful heart for your love sent through ARDF,
Canon William E. Deiss