Anglican Board of Mission (ABM)
ABM is the national mission agency of the Anglican Church of Australia, governed by canons of the church’s General Synod.
In 2001 ABM was incorporated to become a company limited by guarantee. The company comprises two members: the Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation, which retains a majority of votes in the company, and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Primate is the President of ABM and ex-officio a member of its board.
ABM’s constitution may be amended by a special resolution of the company but requires the approval of the General Synod Standing Committee before any amendment can take effect.
The business of the Company is managed by a board of directors, appointed in accordance with the constitution. The composition of the board includes:
- a Chair, appointed by Standing Committee;
- six directors, appointed by Standing Committee, one from each Province of the Church and one from the Diocese of Tasmania;
- a director, appointed by Standing Committee, who is a member of the House of Bishops of the General Synod of the church;
- a director elected by the Associates of ABM;
- an Executive Director appointed by the board; and
- four additional directors, appointed by the board.
The constitution requires that at least one director, other than the Executive Director, has expertise in Community Development programs. In exercising its own power to appoint and in facilitating appointments by Standing Committee, the board endeavours to ensure that the overall composition of the board represents an appropriate matrix of skills in corporate governance. Through its Nomination Committee the board pursues gender equity and diversity and values safeguarding expertise as desirable skills in corporate governance, while screening candidates in relation to prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.
The objectives of ABM, as described in its constitution, are:
- to lead, encourage and serve the Church in Christ’s mission in the world by:
- educating and stimulating the Church in the responsibility of mission;
- recruiting, training and supporting persons to serve in churches of the Anglican Communion;
- engaging in and providing assistance to activities such as would foster evangelism and church growth within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in Australia and member Churches of the Anglican Communion;
- engaging in and providing assistance to sustainable development activities, activities for the relief and eradication of poverty, and emergency relief operated under ecumenical auspices or in churches of the Anglican Communion or in partnership with such churches;
- engaging in and providing assistance to ecumenical and other activities relevant to the objectives of the Company.
- to raise, invest and administer funds;
- to act as trustee for funds, including funds for use for Community Development and overseas aid and related purposes; and
- to make, review and monitor policy relating to all aspects of its objectives.
ABM is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) with subtypes “advancing religion” and “advancing social or public welfare”. These charitable purposes are pursued through two primary program areas: Church to Church support and Sustainable Communities. The Church to Church program broadly covers the objectives (a) i.–iii. above. The Sustainable Communities program relates to objective (a) iv. and is administered in accordance with the Australian Council for International Development’s Code of Conduct.
In order to further strengthen the transparency of its operations, ABM has transferred “advancing social or public welfare” activities to a new subsidiary company, Anglicans in Development Limited.
Anglicans in Development Limited (AID)
AID was established in 2021 as a company limited by guarantee, of which the sole member is ABM. AID is registered by ACNC as a charity with “public benevolent institution” status and is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office for income tax exemption, FBT exemption and GST concession, along with endorsement as a deductible gifts recipient. It is governed by a constitution; that constitution can be amended by resolution of the member (ABM) provided that the resolution does not cause AID to cease to be a charity.
AID’s objectives are described in its constitution as follows:
In accordance with the Christian faith, as expressed in the Anglican tradition which provides the foundation for the Company, the Company’s objectives are to lead, encourage and serve the church in Christ’s mission in the world, specifically through the provision of benevolent relief for people in need, including by:
- engaging in and providing assistance to sustainable development activities, activities for the benevolent relief and eradication of poverty or distress, and emergency relief operated under ecumenical auspices or in churches of the Anglican Communion or in partnership with such churches, including the recruiting, training and supporting of persons to serve in the Anglican Communion or in partnership with such churches;
- engaging in and providing assistance to activities such as would provide benevolent relief to, and address and alleviate the disadvantages faced by, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including supporting training and leadership development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- educating and stimulating the church in the responsibility of mission;
- developing and strengthening mutually respectful partnerships that foster collaboration and support for benevolent activities;
- acting as trustee and performing and discharging the duties and functions incidental thereto where this is incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objectives; and
- doing such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objectives, including establishing and maintaining a public fund.
AID’s objectives are framed within the broader objectives of ABM and represent the means by which ABM pursues that part of its corporate mission which is commonly regarded as charitable or benevolent rather than spiritual or evangelistic in nature. While AID, with its parent company, identifies as a faith-based organisation, the corporate structure provides strict separation between development and non-development activities, as required of accredited charitable organisations engaged in community development and humanitarian aid work. Ecclesial functions remain with ABM, although there may be circumstances where, for reasons of efficiency or practicality, AID undertakes some minor activities on behalf of ABM on a cost recovery basis.
The composition of the two boards reflects the different foci of the two organisations. The board of ABM is broadly representative of the Anglican Church in Australia and the skills appropriate to its business. The board of AID is designed to provide effective governance of a development and benevolent agency, with an emphasis on development, program delivery and corporate governance skills.
Directors of AID are appointed by ABM and hold office under terms and conditions approved by ABM. In selecting people to serve on the AID board, ABM pursues gender equity and diversity and values safeguarding expertise as desirable skills in corporate governance, while screening candidates in relation to prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.
The chairperson and Executive Director of ABM are both ex officio directors of AID. The chairperson and deputy chairperson of AID are appointed by ABM. In the absence of any appointment by ABM, the director of AID who is chairperson of ABM is also chairperson of AID.
Directors of AID are required to act in the best interests of ABM. The constitution also provides that the exercise of certain powers of the AID board is subject to the concurrence of ABM. By virtue of a resolution of ABM, the Executive Director of ABM is also the Executive Director of AID. These arrangements are designed to ensure that directors of AID, while complying with all the governance requirements of the Corporations Act, will continue to share the values and ethos of ABM and the Anglican Church in Australia.
Read a statement by the Chair of the ABM Board and ABM’s Executive Director about ABM’s formation of Anglicans in Development here.