More than 200 years after William Wilberforce and other members of the Clapham Sect formed the Church Mission Society [CMS], the organisation’s latest annual review reveals that Wilberforce’s vision is in good hands and the green shoots of a renaissance in missionary outreach are appearing.
In keeping with its commitment to global, local and culturally relevant mission, CMS’s annual review shows that its mission ‘pioneers’ are transforming lives from south London to Nepal and from Ukraine to Argentina, as they hand out Bibles in conflict zones, treat drug addicts, run HIV clinics and generally witness the love of Christ to those around them, in practical and spiritual ways.
Charles Clayton, chair of the board of trustees, said that more than ever, CMS’s commitment to mission was required in a world lurching from crisis to crisis. He said, “CMS will continue to serve those on the least evangelised and most marginalised extremes of their communities and a healthy level of people have come forward to go to Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tunisia and Lebanon in the coming year.”
This new breed of ‘missionary’ is typified by Miriam Goodacre, winner of CMS and Greenbelt Festival’s first ever Dragon’s Den-esque mission entrepreneur competition to find the best mission ideas that would also be self funding. Finalists were shortlisted and invited to pitch to a panel of judges in front of a public audience at the Festival.
Miriam’s winning idea, ‘Clean for Good’, aims to help cleaners in London, who often exist on a paltry wage while living in one of the world’s most expensive cities. The project will employ cleaners, pay them the London Living Wage and re-invest profits to help their future development.
In north-east Brazil, fast becoming the world’s sex tourism capital, mission partners Andy and Rose Roberts founded a charity, ReVive, to reach out to vulnerable girls on the street and provide a safe place for them to start a renewed and restored life.
Throughout 2014, CMS supported 154 mission partners working in 31 countries across Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East, and funded a further 145 projects financially. Through its Pioneer Mission Leadership programme, CMS is also training some 70 students for ground-breaking, transformational and sustainable mission. Mission pioneers provide the church with a glimpse of the future, where mission will be characterised by innovators, creating agile, innovative and creative programmes, and witnessing ‘love in action’.
Philip Mounstephen, CMS executive leader, said: “Despite being separated by over 200 years of history and following 10,000 missionaries that have devoted their lives to others, one common thread joins us together; that through our work at CMS sharing Jesus Christ, the lives of people and communities around the world are being transformed.”
Financials – Over the financial year CMS recorded income of £7.5m, a slight reduction on the previous year. Expenditure was £7.7m and mainly focused directly on its mission programmes to share the Christian faith, both here in the UK and throughout the world.
More information is available at www.cms-uk.org/annualreview