From the Worldwide Faith News archives

New Zealand Archbishop Challenges Church to Shape Future

Date 06 May 1996 06:10:29

Canon James M. Rosenthal, Director of Communications
Anglican Communion News Service
157 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UT, England
Tel. 44 0171 620-1110
Fax 44 0171 620-1071

#726 ACC 

New Zealand Archbishop Challenges Church to Shape Its Future

(New Zealand Churches News) The Christian Church in the next
millennium will be shaped for mission, more active in evangelism,
more effective in forming members in the faith and more involved in
caring for those in need and in transforming society, Archbishop
Brian Davis, the Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New
Zealand and Polynesia, said in September. In his book, 'The Way
Ahead', published in September, Archbishop Brian takes a risky step
in predicting trends for the Church in the twenty-first century.
Clergy will be less dominant, he says. There will be much more
flexibility in how ordained ministers work and lay people will be
much clearer about their role in "the economic and social structures
of the country as a whole" as well as within the Church. There will
be less central organisation; "diocesan structures will only be
accepted and funded as long as they are seen to enable the work of
the Church at local level." However, Archbishop Brian believes that
Church union in a structural sense is unlikely. He says that Church
leaders will work together on particularly tasks and there will be 
ecumenical co-operation at local level, but "it will be wary about
supporting ecumenical structures that do not reflect broad- based
Anglican aspirations.

Even before its publication,  the Archbishop's book was getting
international attention. At last week's Mission Conference in the
United States, attended by Anglican leaders from all over the world,
the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, quoted the New Zealand
Archbishop's perception that "Church leaders need to see themselves
as vision bearers not problem solvers". "Vision bearers," said 
Archbishop Carey, "is an appealing term for leaders of God's
Church." He said that vision and insight  was as important for
Church leaders as what they actually  did.

'The Way Ahead' is published by The Caxton Press of Christchurch,
and is available from The Anglican Resource Centre, P O Box 12 002,
Wellington, New Zealand. NZ$ cost is $26.50 softcover, $32.50

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