Earlier this year the New Zealand Church Missionary Society (CMS) asked us whether St Paul’s Papanui would consider becoming a Link Church for Neill and Rebekah Dunbar. A Link Church is a church that has committed to supporting a Mission Partner through the CMS. Link Churches provide spiritual, financial, practical and relational support for Mission Partners, such as the Dunbars. Through that they are more closely involved in world-wide mission. Through that relationship Link Churches gain a wider vision of God’s work in the world. That means that our vision of God’s work does not become limited to our suburb, or our country.
Neill and Rebekah Dunbar and their three children have served in Cambodia through the Anglican Diocese of Singapore. They have recently returned to New Zealand, where they plan to stay for a few months before going back to Cambodia. The Dunbars have connections and support across parishes from both the Church of Confessing Anglicans and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. CMS pointed out that even though some things may have driven us apart, we can still work together in mission. I certainly support such unity in mission and hope that the relationship between different Anglican strands can mature.
We are already praying regularly for Neill and Rebekah Dunbar and their children and have provided practical and some financial support. By becoming a Link Church we can put that on a firmer footing and partner more effectively. Some of our support will come from the current missions budget, which we can give directly to mission partners, instead of only through the Anglican Missions Board. It is probably best to provide both more general and targeted support for mission.
I do hope that we can meet Neill and Rebekah Dunbar next year and hear more about their experiences in Cambodia.