The Church of The Ascension, Mona Heights; The Church of St Margaret, Liguanea; The Anglican Community that worships at the UWI Chapel; St. Cyprians, August Town; St. Josephs, The Grove; and St. Matthew’s, Jack’s Hill have been collaborating and working together in an increasing number of areas of Ministry over the last five years in an effort to achieve some of their individual and group objectives.
The informal collaboration has evolved into a “movement” through which the Congregations are undertaking much of their internal discipleship building and their “community outreach ministry”. The movement is driven by the Laity but with strong involvement and support by the Clergy.
Areas of activity in which success has been achieved include:
- Regular twice monthly Evensong and special Festal Evensongs
- Twice Monthly Mission Walks in Communities, on the two University Campuses
- Participation in the Annual Orientation Activities for new students at UWI and UTECH (The objective here is to identify and provide an Anglican Church home for young Anglicans away from home, home church and community. This activity should have Diocese-wide interest and support)
- Joint Services on agreed occasions
- Holy Cross Weekend Programme for 4 years
- Joint activities in celebration of major Seasons such as Lent, Easter, Christmas and New Year, All Souls, Stations
- Workshops on critical issues such as Church Leadership; Depression and Mental Health; and Disciple-making
- Community Project Activities such as The Greater Mona Valley Initiative.
The Congregations are convinced that, inter alia, the collaboration has been beneficial in that:
- It has allowed them to undertake activities they could not implement as cost effectively by themselves;
- It has allowed for larger pools and more effective use of skills and physical resources of the Churches;
- It has facilitated the mobilization of external support for some activities;
- It is building confidence and the capacity to tackle even larger projects in the communities;
- It is giving the communities greater confidence in the Churches;
- It is resulting in greater enthusiasm among members of the Churches and promoting fellowship with members of other Congregations.
The members of the ATG have identified among the factors for success:
- The spirit of collaboration, trust, willingness to share costs and successes equitably and to permit the Laity to make decisions and to act with confidence;
- The willingness of the Laity to take responsibility;
- The acceptance by the various Congregations of the Clergy of the other Churches
- The cost effective use of resources and the relatively small budgetary demands in the early stages;
- The recognition by all Congregations that they had challenges and objectives which were beyond their means to satisfactorily manage/achieve.
The ATG has now adopted as its Tagline “ATG: Doing the Work of Christ Better Together.” The members of the ATG are convinced that the approach that they have been pursuing over the last five years could be adapted to other groups of Anglican Churches, especially Churches in close proximity. It is also felt that the sharing in the use of physical assets and community work even with non-Anglican denominations which support similar Christian principles can be beneficial. It sees voluntary collaboration and partnership as a good way to address some of the challenges facing the Diocese and many of its Congregations.