ASF Roles And Responsibilities

Note: The following document attempts to lay out the functions and functioning of the ASF.  This is a work-in-progress, like the ASF itself!

ASF Roles and Relationships

The ASF Outreach Ministry

1)      The ASF is an outreach ministry of ANiC. It derives its authority from the ANiC Council through an Executive Committee (EC) composed of the Patron of the ASF, (currently Bishop Charlie Masters); At least one other member of the ANiC Council (currently Claus Lenk); and the Convenor of the ASF (currently Mark Larratt-Smith).

2)      As a ministry of ANiC, the ASF is committed to biblical Christianity expressed through Anglican traditions of worship. This commitment is expressed through affirmation of The Jerusalem Declaration as a summary of Anglican Christianity and as a connection to the world-wide Anglican Communion through the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

3)      The ASF’s initial priority is to reach out to faithful individuals who understand and value the traditions of Anglican Christianity, but who feel isolated in their current community or church environment. We also welcome Christians from other traditions who can share the historic understanding of biblical Christianity as it is affirmed in the Jerusalem Declaration.

4)      The ASF has two main objectives:

  • to offer isolated individuals an experience of Christian belonging, by providing flexible opportunities for mutual support and encouragement, and
  • to use this experience of fellowship to deepen our  common  commitment to life as active disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

ASF Core Functions

5)      The ASF is an umbrella fellowship that operates in two ways:

  • Wherever possible, it encourages the formation of  “local” Sojourner Circles (SCs)
  • It supports SCs, and individual members by providing communication links and services, access to internet based resources and support for local or regional gatherings.

6)      Under direction of the EC, the Sojourner Fellowship Steering Committee (SFSC) is charged with operational responsibility to develop and oversee the ministry of the ASF. It is chaired by the ASF Convenor and  normally conducts its meetings by teleconferencing. Members will include coordinators of the various functions of the ASF as determined by  the SFSC.

7)      It is expected that members of the SFSC will be individual members of ANiC, though they may also participate in a local church of another denomination.

8)      Through the SFSC, the ASF is able to draw on charitable donations given to ANiC for the purposes of the ASF ministry.

9)      The ASF will provide a web presence and resource support for SCs through its website

10)   It will also facilitate linkages and the transfer of members who move between SCs and will explore opportunities for connecting SCs with local or regional church resources and with access to services such as pastoral care and celebration of Holy Communion.

11)   At least one member of the SFSC will function as a Sojourner Circle Coordinator.

Sojourner Circles

12)   Sojourner Circles are intended to be small “local” Christian fellowships (of roughly 2 to 20 individuals).They are not churches or church plants.

13)   The term “local” does not exclude SC fellowships from operating partly or even entirely over the Internet.

14)   Each SC will have one or more “convenor(s)”. SC convenors will be individual members of ANiC as defined in 7) above. Convenors will be approved by and accountable to the SFSC.

15)   Members of SCs will be considered to be members of the ASF, but, except as noted above, are not required to become members of ANiC.

16)   SCs will all have the Jerusalem Declaration as a common foundation. They will also have certain other common characteristics, as outlined below. Within this framework, SCs will be encouraged to operate as informal fellowships and to establish their own program and other arrangements according to the needs and circumstances of their members.

17)   Each SC will develop a summary outline plan briefly describing its proposed program and meeting arrangements for sharing (and updating as required) with the SFSC and for posting on the ASF Website.

18)   SCs are intended to be self-sustaining. They do not fall under ANiC’s charitable registration. They are responsible for arranging their own meeting space, study and worship materials  and refreshments

19)   The SFSC may provide assistance to SC’c in organizing joint programs or regional events.

Relationship Between Sojourner Circles and ANiC Church Planting

20)   As noted above, SCs are part of an ANiC outreach ministry intended to provide fellowship and discipleship training for isolated individual Christians. Sojourner Circles are not part of ANiC or of its church planting initiatives. Nor, except as noted above, is ANiC membership required of SC participants.

21)   Obviously, this does not prevent any SC, or group of individuals within it, from considering the possibility of establishing or  becoming part of an ANiC church, but the initiative must come from the individuals involved not from the ASF.

22)   Such an initiative would also require a change of identity  from being a Sojourner Circle to being an “ANiC Church Project” which is the first step toward formalizing a church planning process.

23)   Under such circumstances, the role of the ASF will be to connect the individuals involved with ANiC church planters and to facilitate any transfer arrangements if there is a decision to proceed.