African communicator sought to help Anglicans tell their stories

Nairobi-based staffer first step in bridging communications gap across the Anglican Communion
September 9, 2011

Church leaders have welcomed a decision to appoint a communications officer in Africa to help Anglicans there better share with the world their stories of life and ministry.

The move is an important next step in improving communications between Anglican Communion churches and in ensuring Anglicans everywhere hear about the successes and challenges of fulfilling God's mission in differing contexts.

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of Sudan said, "We very much support the idea of a communications officer who will assist in establishing a system that will allow for faster and more effective information-sharing within East Africa and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

"We hope to work closely with whoever is chosen to build the capacity of our communications commission here in Sudan. Effective communication is vital to the life and work of the individuals that make up the Episcopal Church of the Sudan."

Achbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of the Anglican Church of Burundi stressed that communication is not only the exchange of information. "The church in a little known country like Burundi has a story to tell and communication acts as a window through which people's lives – their faith, their struggles, their joys and sorrows, their achievements – are shared with the worldwide church in order that we learn to empathize, to pray, to give, and to worship together," he said.

"Communication leads to a transformation brought about as people feel valued and loved not just by God but also by their fellow Christians spread across the world."

Jan Butter, the Anglican Communion's director for communication, said it is important that people everywhere have an better understanding of the Anglican Communion's rich heritage and living faith.

"Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide support schools, clinics, hospitals, education programs, and charities. They work with the homeless, the rejected. They speak out for the oppressed and the marginalized. They call for justice and denounce inequality, violence and abuse. Most importantly they grow the body of Christ through sharing God's Good News.

"Sadly many local churches, dioceses and even some provinces, lack the capacity to unearth, write and share their stories with each other and the wider world. This communications officer will support Anglicans across Africa share their stories with, and also hear from, the 85 million members of the Anglican Communion in more than 165 countries worldwide."

Hired from Africa and located in the Nairobi offices of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), the communications officer will source the best news and information from the continent. He/she will have a particular focus on eastern Africa, but will work with provinces across Africa to share their news and information through the Anglican Communion's information channels: the Anglican Communion News Service, its Twitter feed @acoffice and the ACNS Facebook page for others to read and use. The majority of the articles will also be translated into another major Anglican Communion language.

Generously funded by a grant from Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, long-time supporters of communications in Africa, this position is a pilot project. After three years the hope is that African provinces will together take on the funding of the position. If successful, the plan is to replicate the model in Asia and Oceania in the future.

The full job description is available here.

Further information is available from Jan Butter at jan.butter@anglicancommunion.org.