Slideshow image

Continuing with the series on the Anglican Marks of Mission I’ll examine the Fifth Mark of Mission today. 

The Anglican 5th Mark of Mission: A Call to Care for Creation

What is the Mission of the Church?  The answer is to participate in Christ’s mission. But what is the mission of Christ? How do we Anglicans understand and practice our role in God’s plan for the world? 

To answer these questions, the Anglican Church has developed a framework called the Five Marks of Mission. These are five broad themes that express the Anglican Communion’s common commitment to, and understanding of, God’s holistic and integral mission.

The Five Marks of Mission are:

  1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
  2. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers.
  3. To respond to human need by loving service.
  4. To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.
  5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

The Fifth Mark of Mission is also the most recent one, added in 1990 by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), which is one of the four instruments of communion that facilitate cooperation and communication among the Anglican provinces (National Churches). The ACC recognised that the ecological crisis, and the threats to the unity of all creation, required a new affirmation of mission that reflects God’s love and care for the whole creation.

This mark of mission calls us to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth. This means that we are called to be stewards of God’s creation, to respect and protect the natural environment, to promote ecological justice and sustainability, and to participate in God’s work of restoring and renewing all things in Christ.

Why is this important? Why should Anglicans care about creation? 

I believe there are at least three reasons:

  1. Because creation is God’s gift and revelation. Scripture tells us that God created everything out of love, and declared it good (Genesis 1). Scripture also tells us that God reveals God’s self through God’s creation, and that creation praises God (Psalm 19, Romans 1:20). Therefore, as Christians, we should appreciate and celebrate God’s creation as a sign of God’s grace and glory.
  2. Because creation is our home and responsibility. Scripture tells us that God entrusted us with the care and cultivation of God’s creation (Genesis 2:15). Scripture also tells us that we are part of God’s creation, made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). Therefore, as Christians, we should respect and protect God’s creation as our common home and our sacred duty.
  3. Because creation is God’s redemption and hope. Scripture tells us that God did not abandon God’s creation after the fall, but sent God’s only Son to redeem it (John 3:16). Scripture also tells us that God will make all things new in Christ, and that creation eagerly awaits his coming (Romans 8:19-23, Revelation 21:1-5). Therefore, as Christians, we should participate in God’s mission to heal and restore God’s creation as our joyful hope.

The Fifth Mark of Mission challenges us to live out our faith in relation to God’s creation. It invites us to be aware of the environmental issues that affect our world: climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, deforestation, water scarcity, etc. It urges us to take action to reduce our ecological footprint, to advocate for environmental justice, to support sustainable development, and to join in prayer and worship for God’s creation. It also encourages us to learn from other traditions and cultures that have a deep respect and reverence for nature.

This final mark of mission is not an optional or peripheral aspect of mission. It is an integral and essential part of being faithful disciples of Christ in today’s world. It is a call to care for creation as an expression of our love for God, our neighbour, and ourselves.