Sister Doreen, leads the Christian Care Centre in the Solomon Islands, one of few places in the country where victims of domestic violence can find refuge. Photo: Ali Symons
The Anglican Board of Mission has welcomed a change to the 5 Marks of Mission made by the Anglican Consultative Council in late 2012.
The change to the fourth Mark of Mission reflects the importance of God's mission in peace, conflict transformation and reconciliation. ABM has responded by revising its fourth Mark of Mission to “Challenge violence, injustice and oppression, and work for peace and reconciliation”. Previously the fourth mark has been to “Challenge injustice and oppression”.
Education Missioner for ABM, Brad Chapman explained that the 5 Marks of Mission are more than just words.
"The Marks of Mission emerge from the lived experience of God's people throughout the Anglican Communion," Mr Chapman said. "They reflect God's active presence in the world today".
According to ABM, the transformation of violence is a pressing and life threatening concern for Anglican churches in countries like Southern Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, South Korea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and the Middle East.
Every night as the sun sets over Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, the Sisters of the Church lock and bar the gates of the Christian Care Centre, a hostel that provides refuge and loving care to women who are fleeing from the terrors of gender based violence.
Seeking to protect the victims of violence and defuse its causes is a natural expression of the commandments to love God and love our neighbours.
Mr Chapman said it is important to remember that the 5 Marks of Mission don't just apply to churches overseas. “ABM is calling for churches in Australia to reflect prayerfully upon the new fourth Mark of Mission and to ask what it means in our local context,” he said.
The interpretation of the 5 Marks of Mission that has been adapted by ABM is:
1. Witness to Christ's saving, forgiving, reconciling love for all people
2. Build welcoming, transforming communities of faith
3. Stand in solidarity with the poor and needy
4. Challenge violence, injustice and oppression, and work for peace and reconciliation
5. Protect, care for and renew life on our planet
The 5 Marks of Mission are reflected in ABM's work and in our resources which are available on the website http://www.abmission.org/
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