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Our History

ABM's history James Noble
Rev E.R. Gribble and James Noble
at the latter's ordination. © ABM

The Anglican Board of Mission was established in 1850, by the bishops of the then Church of England in Australia. It was originally called the Australasian Board of Missions, and led by the bishops of the Church in Australia and New Zealand. The motivation for its founding was a plea from the Bishop of New Zealand, Bishop Selwyn, for funds to buy a boat from which the Church could take the Gospel to the islands of Melanesia. The fruits of this became the Melanesian Mission, and later the independent Anglican Church of Melanesia, which continues to partner with ABM today.

In 1872 the ABM was constituted formally as a Board of the Church, by a canon of General Synod. In the 1880s ABM supported missions to the Indigenous people of Australia, and in 1891 ABM sent the first Anglican missionaries to the island of New Guinea, which became established as a diocese within the Church of England in Australia. The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea became an independent church in 1976.

Throughout the 20th century, ABM was active in supporting missions in the Pacific as well as around the world, including China, Japan, India, Indonesia, and part of Africa. Support for the Diocese of Jerusalem began in the first decades of the 20th century and continues today. ABM sent Australian Anglicans to Korea in the 1950s, and the independent Anglican Church of Korea remains a partner today. The Episcopal Church of the Philippines became a partner of ABM in the early 1990s, as did the Anglican Church of Myanmar.

ABM's philosophy is based on a belief in holistic mission - that God calls us to serve people in all aspects of their lives, from the spiritual to the practical. This includes all the evangelistic activities of the church in its witness to the Good News, such as ministry, theological education and training, and the development of Christian worship and liturgy resources. Mission also includes providing health and education services, helping people to build capacity to improve food and water resources, and assisting in economic development initiatives. In all of its work, ABM seeks to serve God through supporting our Partners in their local witness and service.