Sydney Anglicans in every church throughout the Diocese will hand out Bibles in 2009 through Connect 09, a key Diocesan Mission strategy passed by last month's Synod. The aim of Connect 09 is for every Sydney Anglican to contact, connect and communicate with all people currently beyond the reach of church ministry in every region of the Diocese, namely the 60 per cent who have no church-going friends, according to data quoted at Synod.

Connect 09 is an outworking of the Diocesan Mission Statement goal that "everyone will hear his call to repent, trust and serve Christ in love", "not just the 10% we want in Bible-based churches", according to the Standing Committee's report to Synod.

Evangelism Ministries CEO Canon Jim Ramsay said the key focus of Connect 09 is "connecting people and connecting them with Jesus Christ". The strategy is summarised in six chronologically ordered words: contact, connect, communicate, relate, welcome, nurture.

Mr Ramsay stressed the importance of the Bible as the conduit by which people hear about Jesus. "The usual way that God speaks to us is the Bible. We can trust the word of God to work even without human intervention. This is why we want to distribute the word of God to every person in the Diocese," he says.

Resourcing Connect 09

Current plans are to print 1.5 million English gospels and 180,000 gospels in other languages. The indicative budget also allows for 180,000 digital gospels such as CDs, DVDs and MP3s, and a website providing Christian material in different languages to support the initial gospel distribution. A project manager will be appointed to coordinate Connect 09, especially in the area of promotion and resources.

Funding Connect 09

The estimated cost of Connect 09 is $1.844 million. Parishes will contribute $841,000 over three years to fund the purchase and development of gospel materials. The remaining $1,003,000 will be paid by the Synod and will cover training, development and administration costs.
After considerable debate, the Synod settled on a means-based funding strategy for parishes that will see contributions worked out through a determined percentage according to each parish's income.

The Archbishop's Mission Partnership Fund launched to help fund the campaign had reached nearly $35,000 by the end of Synod.

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