Catherine MacBeath cares deeply for the missionaries her parish – St George North – supports and has sent out. But despite knowing them personally, and being very invested in them, the busyness of life meant that often her care didn’t translate into tangible support. When she received an invite to the CMS Advocates training day, which was described to her as a “missionary support training day”, she figured there was room for improvement and decided to attend.
Support for missionaries wanes as their service continues
The CMS Advocates program is a new initiative by the Church Missionary Society to better equip parish members to champion support for the link missionaries in their church. CMS initiated the program after seeing a trend of support for missionaries waning as their years of service continue.
“As the months roll into years, it remains critical to keep churches actively informed so a strong relationship between the missionary and the congregation can continue to grow,” says the Rev Malcolm Richards, the general secretary of CMS NSW & ACT.
“Missionaries in secure or remote locations, who are unable to communicate as openly or as regularly, have a real need of passionate supporters who will help the church to pray even when there isn’t a fresh newsletter.”
Mrs MacBeath says she is now equipped with new ideas for helping her church to pray and support their link missionaries – such as ensuring that new members know who the link missionaries are, and finding ways for the church to offer assistance and help to missionaries when they return to Sydney.
She believes more people should have CMS Advocates in their parish.
“You would be in a position of keeping the church up to date with the missionaries they support, and also keeping the missionaries up to date on changes within the church,” she says.
“This would help maintain support for missionary families, and help with continuity for everyone.”
Mr Richards also hopes to see more people volunteer for the role of CMS Advocate: “No matter how long a missionary has been serving for, or where, they always need our prayers and care!”