SINGAPORE: Missions Conference an Evangelical Anglican Success Story
By David W. Virtue DD
November 24, 2014
VOL President David W. Virtue spoke with the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, Executive Director of the Ambridge, PA based Christian Mission to the Jews, a participant at the recent Missions roundtable conference held in Singapore
VOL: What is this conference about?
FENTON: Every three years, the Anglican Diocese of Singapore (increasingly with the cooperation of the other dioceses in the Province of South East Asia) hosts a mission conference for its partners in mission in the six mission deaneries of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Nepal. They have engaged partners from Australia, the UK, and the ACNA (with one or two Communion Partners) from the USA. The ACNA and its predecessor body the ACN inked an official partnership to partner in this work under Diocese of Singapore leadership. Over the past 9 years several congregations and dioceses have formed deanery (country) specific partnerships. (i.e. St. Vincent's Cathedral is the mission partner for Cambodia, The Diocese of Western Anglicans is a partner for Thailand etc.)
VOL: What is the role of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)?
FENTON: ACNA partners comprised half of the attendees present. Some were existing partners, others looking to become partners. AGMP (Anglican Global Mission Partners) are also full partners in the entire project, providing support services and missionaries to the Missionary Deaneries.) In due course, each deanery will become an indigenous diocese.
VOL: Why was it called?
FENTON: Its official name is a Mission's Roundtable, which is an accurate description of its character. Singapore reports on progress and needs in the deaneries, workshops focus on individual deaneries, and there are plenary sessions on missiological topics pertinent to the work or the partnership. There are a number of smaller meetings to move strategies and partnerships forward. Like New Wineskins, it is a triennial gathering to advance what will be a generation of Anglican Christian witness in South East Asia.
VOL: What was the theme of the conference?
FENTON: The theme is the work. But the "official headline" was, "That they may know and confess Jesus as Lord IV". It was the 4th such gathering of this kind.
VOL: Who attended? How many archbishops, bishops clergy and laity?
FENTON: Approximately 75-80 guests. There were more lay than clergy. Archbishops included ACNA Primate Foley Beach, SE Asia Archbishop Bolly Lapok, as well as bishops Rennis Ponniah, (Singapore) Ng Moon Hing, (West Malaysia) Peter Tasker (Sydney Bishop for International Relations). There were, of course, a number of Anglican bishops from the ACNA.
VOL: What was accomplished?
FENTON: I have attended three of the four. Each moves the partnerships down the field. New prospective partners come (usually recommended by existing partners or vetted by them). So Christ Church, Austin, sent a delegation to explore with whom they should partner. There were others. Following the roundtable, most partners and prospective partners go on for a visit and sometimes a mission in their partner deanery.
VOL: What were some of the highlights of the conference?
FENTON: The Rt. Rev Kuan Kim Seng, Missions Director of the Diocese of Singapore and newly consecrated Assistant Bishop for the Deanery shared testimony of how grateful he was for the work of Anglican and other Western missionaries that made possible his and thousands of other South East Asians' salvation and relationship to God in Christ. The he said this: "Now it is up to us to finish the job of reaching the remaining nations with the gospel."
There was a stunning sermon by Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo of Myanmar (formerly Burma) about the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to sustain us in what seems an overwhelming challenge.
VOL: What would you say was a keystone moment?
FENTON: It was a very exciting, and maturing moment to see a generation long mission strategy that is being executed step by sustainable step. The future of the gospel looks very promising in South East Asia and I see tremendous growth in the days ahead.
The Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton is Executive Director of the Ambridge, PA based Christian Mission to the Jews and a participant to this missions conference
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