Archbishop Justin chairs first meeting of new evangelism task group
Monday 24th March 2014
Archbishop Justin with members of the new evangelism task group, Lambeth Palace, Monday 24 March 2014.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is chairing the first meeting of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group at Lambeth Palace today.
The group, which comprises about a dozen experts and practitioners in evangelism, has been set up following a debate on intentional evangelism at the General Synod in November. It intends to encourage and equip every church and Christian proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
During its inaugural meeting, the group will consider how it can bring influence to bear on the church in the short, medium and long term. It will also discuss the group’s future structure and work. It is expected that the group will meet five times during its first 12 months.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said: “Next to worship, witness is the primary and urgent task of the Church. Compared with evangelism everything else is like rearranging furniture when the house is on fire. Making disciples is at the heart of our Christian faith and our Anglican tradition."
Archbishop Justin, who has identified evangelism and witness as one of the three priorities for his ministry, said: “It is the task of this group to see every church and every Christian embrace their calling to be those who proclaim the Gospel in word and deed. Nothing quite brings energy and renewal to a church than seeing people come to faith.”
Archbishop Justin’s Advisor for Evangelism and Witness, the Revd Canon Chris Russell, said: “The task group will attempt to shine a spotlight on best practice and do all it can to put those tools in the hands of the many. It is about bringing all the influence we can to bear, rather than being a command and control centre telling churches what to do.”
The chief executive of Church Army, Mark Russell, who is a member of the group, said today: "I hope this group can support the Archbishop on the third of his priorities - evangelism and witness - and help us bring about the cultural change in the church we need to see, and a real shift where the church becomes more outward looking, becomes more focused on serving the community. I hope this group can help put evangelism front and centre of the work of all areas of the Church of England."
Fr Philip North, another member of the group, said: "It’s exciting to be part of a group that is setting a very ambitious agenda in trying to change the culture of the Church, to drive away fear and give people confidence in sharing their faith."
In addition to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the group’s members are:
• The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes;
• The Bishop of Lancaster, the Rt Revd Geoffrey Pearson;
• Revd Elizabeth Adekunle, Chaplain, St John’s College, Cambridge;
• Revd Dr Michael Beasley, Director of Mission, Diocese of Oxford
• Revd Andy Croft, Associate Director, Soul Survivor;
• Canon Jules Gomez, Canon Theologian, St German Cathedral;
• Revd Al Gordon, Head of Innovation, Alpha International;
• Dr Rachel Jordan, National Adviser for Mission and Evangelism for the Church of England;
• Beth Keith, tutor, Ordinand and Associate Member of Church Army’s Research Unit;
• Revd Annie Kirke, Pioneer of Missional Communities, Diocese of London;
• Fr Philip North, Team Rector, Parish of Old St Pancras;
• Amy Orr-Ewing, Director of Programmes for Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and UK Director for RZIM Zacharias Trust;
• Canon Mark Russell, Chief Executive, Church Army;
• Revd Rico Tice, Senior Minister (Evangelism), All Souls, Langham Place;
• Revd Malcolm Macnaughton, Archbishop of York’s Chief of Staff;
• Andrew Brown (Clerk)