Last November, The Rev. Canon Kevin Donlon, The Mission’s Canon for Ecclesiastical Affairs, traveled to southern Madagascar for the signing of a Concordat with the Diocese of Tulear—a young Diocese and new Mission Partner for The Mission. The Diocese is led by young, mission-driven clergy overseeing five or six congregations, typically assisted by a lay evangelist and a catechist.
On the first day of his visit, Canon Kevin gathered with the Synod Council to listen to various developmental reports from Christian Education to Youth and Diocesan Development.
“Because the Diocese is not quite two years old, it gave me an excellent introduction to the life of the Diocese,” Canon Kevin says.
The following day, the Council discussed new church developments in the Province as well as Mission Partnerships. As The Mission’s representative, Canon Kevin offered an hour-long presentation on the history of The Mission and its present role as a Mission Society. He also gave a review of the various Mission Partners and how these partnerships are being lived out, followed by an afternoon Q&A session.
The next day, leaders voted to endorse Bishop Todd McGregor’s decision to establish a Concordat with The Mission. Bishop Todd is the Bishop of Toliara and founder of the ministry People Reaching People, focusing on economic development, educational and evangelistic missions in the poorest and most remote territories. Canon Kevin then advised the Bishop about the licensing process and how canonical delegations function with clergy in relation to the Society and the partner Diocese. The final signed copy of the Concordat with the Diocesan Seal will go forward once the translation to the native tongue is complete.
Canon Kevin’s final day allowed him to see for himself God at work in the Diocese. He spent the morning visiting Hope House, a women’s cooperative designed to help young women gain employment and avoid sex trafficking and prostitution. There, he observed the women making jewelry, greeting cards and bags. That afternoon, he returned to the Council meeting and led a workshop on Liturgy and Law followed by LEX ORANDI – LEX CREDENDI (“The law of praying is the law of believing”), an expression used in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican Churches to express the deep connection between liturgy and doctrine.
“The presentations were well-received and created some good dialogue on the idea of liturgy and missiology,” he says. “At the end, they invited me to return next year to conduct another workshop.”
As he returned to the States, Canon Kevin was pleased to have expanded the brand of The Mission to a new Diocese and Province and established a Concordat that facilitates another diverse partnership. He was also able to lay the foundation for future partnership development in clergy and lay training, as well as the potential of assisting the women’s cooperative through a model similar to that of Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, and computer development for the Diocesan website.
“This trip was mutually beneficial in many ways,” he says. “I look forward to how The Mission and the Diocese of Tulear will work together in the future.”