The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide a key focus for the churches of the Anglican Communion.
Speaking at the start of the TEAM Conference, (Towards Effective Anglican Mission) an international Anglican conference in Boksburg near Johannesburg in South Africa, Dr Rowan Williams said that working towards these objectives raised fundamental and positive challenges for the church:
“In the days ahead there will be questions like these; What are actually the resources that the Anglican Communion worldwide can bring to bear on these challenges; how do we better coordinate the provision of the help we can offer? How do we build effective relationships with government and voluntary organisations world wide, and how do we keep our motivation in combating scourges of disease sharp and focussed? These will be the aims of the meeting ahead of us this week. It will bring together an extraordinarily wide range of people from across our Anglican church and I hope that it can really pull us together, give us a shared vision and a shared energy for the tasks.”
Despite differences in the Anglican Communion, aid and development concerns had produced a common understanding he said.
“One of the remarkable things is the willingness of people to work together towards addressing development goals as a sort of basic Christian imperative, even when there is tension or disagreement in other areas, and part of the launching of Anglicans in Development from Lambeth Palace was to underline that kind of priority. Part of the purpose of this coming few days is to underline that priority.”
“We do have serious disagreements on some areas of ethics and doctrine, but the fact remains that we’re all called by the same Jesus Christ to the same mission in the world, to the mission of reconciliation, mission of justice, mission of caring, and it would be a very grim reflection on our life as a Christian community if we had to put all that on hold while we sorted out other things.”
He was pleased and privileged, he said, to be back in South Africa after twenty years, describing it as a ‘beacon of hope and inspiration’.