|Receiving a blessing in a PNG church.
© ABM/Brad Chapman 2010
ABM’s understanding of mission is a very holistic one, with development working hand in hand with our mission. In Luke’s gospel, we hear that Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, stating:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
(NRSV, Luke 4:18-19)
Jesus asked us that we love our neighbours. This means doing as Christ did and caring for bodies as well as souls. In seeking to follow Christ, ABM has a mandate to work with Anglican churches in other countries. This involves listening respectfully to how these churches want to respond to God’s mission in their own countries, and discussing together how we might assist them achieve their goals. Caring for souls and bodies – the spiritual and material lives of the people whom they serve –is part of these goals. ABM’s Church to Church Program focuses on souls (or spirituality) and the Development Program relates to the material side (or bodies). Obviously one impacts upon the other as human beings are both body and spirit.
ABM grounds all of its work in one or more of the Five Marks of Mission. Together with this, our development work embraces the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim at significantly reducing global poverty, hunger and disease by 2030.
ABM has full membership of ACFID, the Australian Council for International Development, a network of Australian Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) that share a commitment to poverty reduction and the promotion of human rights. (View a list of ABM's Memberships and Associations here.)
Some of our community development projects are partially funded by the Australian Government through Australian Aid.
ABM’s work is made up of three main program areas - the Church to Church Program, Community Development Program and the Reconciliation Program.
ABM’s Church to Church Program is the means by which Anglicans in Australia help our Overseas Partners to be the Church. The program targets two areas – leadership formation and training (including theological education) and evangelism – which are of primary importance.
By assisting our Partners to train clergy and lay people they are providing high-level Christian formation and nurturing discipleship and leadership. In this way, we believe our Partners create a solid evangelistic base for themselves.
Those who are trained are able to turn their parishes into ‘mission stations’ and these stations bring people to know Jesus through their membership of the Church through Holy Baptism and then nourish their faith through the sacraments and through Scripture.
Jesus came that we might have abundant life, and ABM believes that that life extends to the whole person – not just to the soul, but also to the material needs of the body.
ABM’s Community Development Program is managed by our Anglicans in Development (AID) division. ABM(AID) works with Anglican Church Partners in the Pacific, PNG, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia to help deliver grassroots, community-driven development and disaster preparedness and response. Our belief is that communities are the best-placed to know what programs they need and what assistance they need from their partners. Partners are encouraged to work closely with communities to ensure communities are “in the driving seat” of development projects.
ABM(AID) works closely with its church partners to strengthen them to be effective and efficient, and to encourage them to strengthen the communities they work with. The programs which ABM funds include adult literacy, improved food security, water and sanitation, gender equality and social inclusion, livelihood support, some health services, HIV testing, counselling and awareness raising. With sustainability in mind, ABM(AID) also encourages its partners both to work with their own governments, and also to help their local communities to advocate for better services from government at all levels.
ABM has a rich and complicated history of involvement with the First Nations peoples of Australia, including some significant failings. We believe that the task of working for reconciliation within Australia is integral to mission.
Our church is blessed by the sacrificial ministry of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglicans. These leaders are often working with vastly inadequate resources, and in situations of very high need. ABM strives to correct that inequity by channelling the generous giving of the wider church to equip Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to carry out the work they are called to do.
ABM believes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have unique gifts for our church. ABM supports the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council (NATSIAC) and the National Aboriginal Bishop in their call to elevate the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the church, and in society. We believe that the voices emerging from the struggles of people marginalised in our own society help us to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, and to prophetically imagine the future God is calling us into together.
ABM supports our partners not only by providing emergency relief aid, but also by helping to prepare them for emergency situations and educating them on methods to mitigate the effects of climate change.