cross and crown of thorns

The Anglican Church takes seriously the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 28: 19-20:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

What is called the Mission Imperative is an integral part of our church, but is expressed in various ways.

In 1788 when the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson and formed the settlement at Sydney Cove, a group of evangelical clergy known as the Eclectic Society had influenced the government to make sure that there was a chaplain, the Revd Richard Johnson, on board to look after the spiritual health of the convicts and soldiers.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (or SPG) provided portions of 100 Bibles and prayer books, 400 New Testaments and 500 Psalters, with tracts and other literature suitable for this remote settlement. In the first fifty years or so of settlement, some of the initial chaplains or clergy sought to reach out and introduce Christianity to the indigenous people and used schooling for the children as one way of doing this. The Revd Samuel Marsden found little response from the nomadic Aboriginal people in New South Wales, but more response from the more settled Maoris in New Zealand.

As the colonies grew so did the churches and schools. The Colonial Bishoprics’ Fund was formed in Great Britain in 1841 and was very significant in funding new Dioceses in various British colonies including South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The initial (and only) Anglican Bishop of Australia, William Grant Broughton, (Diocese formed in 1836) sought help in providing more leaders and so the Diocese of Australia became five dioceses in 1848 - Sydney (from Australia), Tasmania (1842), Newcastle, Adelaide and Melbourne (all 1847).

In 1850 the bishops held a meeting of all the Australian bishops and the Bishop of New Zealand and formed the first official missionary arm of the new Australian and New Zealand Churches.  This was called the Australian Board of Missions and still continues today under the same letters ABM, now standing for Anglican Board of Mission – Australia with the slogan, Working for love, hope & justice. ABM particularly supports the churches and their indigenous leaders, rather than individual missionaries going from Australia to overseas. ABM has been closely linked from the beginning with the Church as a whole and was run from a fairly central perspective. In recent years ABM has invited parishes or individuals to support projects or people in various places in Australia or overseas. It also produces weekly pew slip paragraphs linking Sunday’s eucharistic Bible readings with issues related to mission.

The next mission agency came from the parent body in England and is now a separate independent organisation – the Church Missionary Society – Australia with our branch being The Church Missionary Society – Victoria. CMS has a federal training college, St Andrews’ Hall, in Parkville, Melbourne. All candidates serving for CMS from Australia and New Zealand spend time at St Andrew’s preparing for missionary service overseas, in remote parts of Australia, or where needed. CMS has a programme of seeking to introduce younger people especially to a missionary understanding of the church, and seeking to involve those at home to support those who have gone out as missionaries. Both partner churches and many individuals help support those working overseas. There are currently thirty five missionaries, with twenty one children, supported by CMS Victoria and 200 missionaries in total from all over Australia. Each January CMS Victoria runs a very successful Summer Under the Son conference focussing on Mission and Christian living.

Many Anglican churches support either CMS or ABM, often having their own link missionary (CMS) or project or partner (ABM). There are various other missionary agencies as seen from the list to the right.

The Diocese of Melbourne has also joined in with the wider Anglican church in Australia, UK and New Zealand to participate in the Back To Church Sunday.


 Mission agencies


 Mission agency prayer


A Prayer for the Mission Agencies of the Anglican Church of Australia.

Lord God, you have called us to spread the knowledge of your love as shown in your Son, Jesus Christ, to all people of the world.

Bless and strengthen all those who pray and work to bring this about, especially the mission agencies of our Australian Church:
The Anglican Board of Mission
The Bush Church Aid Society
The Church Army
The Church Missionary Society
The Mission to Seafarers
The National Home Mission Fund
The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Australia

May your Holy Spirit guide them in their present work and future plans so that they will be in accordance with your loving will.

May we too share in this outreach of loving prayer and work to help bring your peace and justice upon earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(From Anglican Board of Mission)


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