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ABM initiates Myanmar Church Round-table

March 5, 2014

ABM initiates Myanmar Church Round-table

In 2012, ABM initiated a review of Development with its Partner, the Church in the Province of Myanmar (CPM).  This led to the Archbishop, the Bishops, Provincial Secretaries and Development Personnel of the CPM traveling to ABM’s Partner in the Philippines to work on a Strategic Development Plan, and to experience first-hand the excellent community development work of the Episcopal Church there.

A strong bond built up between the two Anglican churches and CPM developed a Strategic Plan for its Church.  This process, begun almost two years ago, culminated in last week’s CPM Partner Round-table meeting in Yangon.

ABM’s Asia Programs Coordinator, Lina Magallanes, worked closely with CPM to plan the meeting and ensure its smooth running.  With over 14 different partners from all over the world in attendance, some supporting the development work of the church, some missiologically supporting the mission outreach of the church, and others there as observers, it made for a very worthwhile time of praying, sharing, listening and learning.

From ABM’s perspective, an important outcome of the whole two year process has been that two  of its Asian church Partners are now working together, with the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) now acting as a supporting Partner to the CPM.  ECP have offered their staff and their development training facilities in Northern Philippines to further support the strategic goals of CPM.

Another important outcome is that the experience of developing strategic plans, and then of organising the international partner Round Table has strengthened the unity of the CPM, and greatly increased the confidence of the staff in leading and contributing to church planning processes. They now feel they have common goals.

ABM has agreed to continue to work with other long term CPM partners to provide a stable funding platform to support the ongoing community development work of the church.

CPM Press Release

This is the media release that the Church in the Province of Myanmar sent out at the end of the Round-table meeting.

27 February 2014

The Church of the Province of Myanmar held a Development Partners Roundtable on February 25-26, 2014. More than 70 participants, 32 from overseas and 45 local, gathered to pray, share and reflect on the Development Strategy of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.

Rev. John Deane of the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia, opened the conference with a presentation on the evolving biblical and theological understanding of mission and the principles of partnership. 

In his Keynote Address, Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo articulated the twin thrusts of the church’s strategic objectives.  One thrust emphasized Church Development, while the other focused on Community Development.   Church Development is defined as investing in the institutional development of the province/diocese/parish towards spiritual capacity building and financial self-support.  Community Development is defined as addressing the social development of communities consisting of both members and non-members of the Church.

The Strategic Plans of the church concentrated on 7 shared themes:

  1. Education
  2. Health/ Water/ Sanitation
  3. Agriculture
  4. Animal Husbandry
  5. Microfinance
  6. Church & Spiritual Development Capacity Building
  7. Community Development Capacity Building

Under each theme, the Church provided an explanation of the contextual foundation as well as an illustrative example of some of the activities.   The Episcopal Church in the Philippines, who have accompanied the Church through this nearly 2-year process, also provided reflections on their journey from the early stages of their development work to the current asset-based approaches.  The Episcopal Church in the Philippines offered their evolving understanding of development and their endorsement of the twin-track approaches of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.  

All of the earlier presentations and discussions lead to two small group workshops, where the participants reflected on the opportunities for building stronger partnerships with the Church in order to support the Strategic Plans.    Some of the principals agree upon during these workshops included:

  • Greater cooperation, coordination and collaboration between the partners
  • Greater cooperation, coordination and collaboration between the dioceses and departments
  • Greater effort at working through the established church systems and proper channels, such as going through the Provincial Development Desk
  • Greater understanding that although Partners have different mandates, they all seek to demonstrate God’s love

Building on the agreed principles and the mapping exercise, the Roundtable participants made the following recommendations:

  1. Overseas Partners will honor the church’s structure, systems and protocols. Overseas Partners would work through the Provincial Development Desk and/or the General Secretary.
  2. Overseas Partners will honor a common proposal and reporting format. 
  3. Overseas Partners will participate in joint learning evaluations.
  4. Overseas Partners will support the building of human and technical capacity
  5. Overseas Partners will seek to work collaboratively in areas of common interest
  6. Church of the Province of Myanmar will develop a mapping instrument and develop thematic expertise amongst diocese and departments to encourage cross-learning within the church, and to encourage Overseas Partners to facilitate joint programming and collaboration on common themes
  7. Church of the Province of Myanmar will develop an annual report/ regular newsletters for greater communication (online or by email)
  8. Church of the Province of Myanmar will convene a Development Roundtable every three years.
  9. Church of the Province of Myanmar will develop thematic strategies (such as Disaster Risk Reduction, Child Protection, etc.)