Church Army launches Mission Community
News Release: 19 September 2012
The Mission Community exists to enable people throughout the UK and Ireland to come to a living faith in Jesus Christ. Its members are committed to sharing their Christian faith through words and action, beyond the church, and supporting others in doing so. It is hoped the Mission Community will become a home for those with a passion for evangelism where they can be resourced, encouraged and sent out to make a lasting impact in their local areas.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, sent the following message: "I am delighted to send greetings on behalf of the Church of England on the happy occasion of the inauguration of the new Church Army Mission Community. Church Army is a gift to the wider Church, serving the gospel, building the Kingdom, specifically by the training and deploying of evangelists to be good news to those beyond the walls of the church.
"I have watched with admiration how Church Army has wrestled with the vocation to a new future as a Mission Community, and applaud the vision to grow an inclusive movement of evangelists, lay and ordained, male and female, full-time and part-time. I am thrilled the new Mission Community can embrace evangelists up and down the land who share the vision and values of Church Army. I pray Church Army can be a home to anyone who has the vocation of the evangelist."
The service of inauguration was attended by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, who represented the Church of England, the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, Bob Gillies, who represented the Episcopal Church of Scotland, the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, Ken Clarke, representing the Church of Ireland, and the Bishop of Swansea and the Brecon, John Davies, who represented the Church in Wales.
The new inclusive Mission Community means Church Army has been able to welcome back 25 evangelists who had previously been required to resign their Church Army Commission on ordination. This was a deeply moving part of the service and the gathering welcomed the 25 with a standing ovation.
Alongside the service at St Paul's Cathedral, 70 people also met together at Church Army's home in Sheffield, the Wilson Carlile Centre, for a service led by the Bishop of Dudley, David Walker.
Church Army's Chief Executive, Mark Russell, said: "I am really excited! Church Army is opening its doors to many others, and we dream of growing a new mission community committed to the re-evangelisation of the nations. If you are passionate about evangelism - come join the party!"