IAFN regional consultations provide opportunities for mutual learning, inspiration, and lifting up the family as a source of thriving relationships, identity, belonging, discipleship and reconciliation. This brief summary offers an outline of how they have informed IAFN’s core work and served to shape mission and ministry among families in the Anglican Communion.
The theme for IAFN's consultation held in Lusaka in October 2018 was 'Families Under Pressure: How Can Churches Respond?'.
Participants from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe reflected on how churches could help families to cope with the pressures they face practically and spiritually. How could Christians query the norms and practices of their culture and preserve the values of community and generosity? How could churches minister to multiple generations in the same context, and what tools could they offer to families in the midst of change? How could people reflect on the different hierarchies of value found in different parts of their culture? Where was change offering new opportunities to be embraced?
During a day spent consulting with youth, participants looked at the themes of' young people in the family' and 'families in the era of technology'. As they reflected together, it became clear that the global technological revolution has presented unique challenges and opportunities for families, for the church as family, and for mission.
Read the report and conclusions of the consultation here.
A third regional consultation on violence and the family was held in October 2010 in Aotearoa New Zealand in partnership with the Family Centre, Lower Hutt. This brought together participants involved in Anglican family ministries from nine different countries across Oceania. Drawing on their experience and their rich cultural heritage, they drew up an 'Action Plan for the Churches to Tackle Abuse' which set out the six steps taken by participants in the Consultation to prepare themselves to tackle violence within the family - particularly domestic abuse and child abuse.
This Action Plan, published in February 2011, contributed to the Primates' deliberations in their meeting in Dublin in January 2011 and to their subsequent Letter to the Churches of the Anglican Communion in which they set out their commitment to combat the global problem of gender-based violence and encouraged all churches to engage with this issue. The Action Plan has subsequently been widely circulated across the Anglican Communion as a tool for provinces, dioceses and parishes to adapt for local use in their own family ministries.
Summary of ‘Violence and the Family: Action Plan for the Churches to Tackle Abuse’ – a contribution from the Anglican Churches in Oceania, October 2010
A second consultation was held in Seoul, South Korea in October 2007 in partnerships with the Anglican Church of Korea and the National Council of Churches of Korea Gender Equality Committee. This was on the theme of Globalisation and changes in family life and was attended by 18 delegates from 10 countries. They covered a wide range of interests including refugees and migrants, family support services, AIDS ministries, marriage counselling, academic and legal.
The consultation lasted seven days and the delegates considered four aspects of their theme:
They also met local workers in services concerned with refugees and migrants and family violence and compared their experiences. The result is a report which brings together a wealth of personal and professional experience on the impact of globalisation on families. The recommendations are rooted in the delegates’ experience in Asia but have implications for the Anglican Communion world-wide.
A consultation was held in Nairobi in June 2003 on the theme of Violence and the Family. 32 delegates attended, representing 17 African countries and a wide range of professions in the ordained ministry, Mothers’ Union trainers and workers, teaching, social work, counselling and administration. The consultation was chaired by Archdeacon Taimalelagi Matalavea , then the Anglican Observer at the United Nations and her co-facilitator was Dr David Gitari, former Archbishop of Kenya. Over the seven days of the Consultation, the delegates considered three aspects of violence and the family:
In each case they drew on their experience and that of their fellow Christians in their home country to set out the nature of the problem and then made practical recommendations on tackling it. Some of the recommendations are specific to Africa and demonstrate how Anglicans are being courageous in tackling traditional practices such as bride price and the abuse of widows as well as taking the lead in tackling new problems such as the AIDS pandemic and being active in promoting conflict resolution and peace-making activities. But many of the recommendations are relevant to all parts of the Anglican Communion.
The IAFN newsletter published in Michaelmas 2003 further developed the theme of the Consultation and included articles from other parts of the Communion on issues of violence.