As SOMA Australia (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) prepares to host celebrations in October 2019, Melbourne, Australia, for SOMA International’s 40 years of service and ministry, what better opportunity than to share with you the remarkable story of the conception of this global short-term mission organisation.
In 1978 an International Anglican Conference on Spiritual Renewal was held in Canterbury, England, prior to Lambeth, the gathering of Anglican bishops held every ten years. 300 leaders from around the world attended.
A year later, ‘Sharing of Ministries Abroad’ (SOMA) was established as a legal trust. Michael Harper was appointed director with the support of an international group of Anglican leaders in renewal. It was an appropriate name as the acronym SOMA is the Greek word for ‘body’, and SOMA was to be a ministry to the body of Christ.
SOMA Australia born
During 1985 and 1986 a group of Australians, together with two New Zealanders, became the initial board of what was then called SOMA Pacific and later became SOMA Australia, as SOMA New Zealand was as established. John Wyndham was appointed National Director and led the way for SOMA missions out of Australia to the Torres Strait Islands, South Korea, Japan and Mauritius.
Currently there are seven countries across the world who have an established Board, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, USA, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia and each of these countries send short term mission teams across the world to continue to encourage, teach, equip, share in ministry and take care of the nervous system of the Anglican church of both lay and clergy alike.
In 2019 SOMA Australia has sent mission teams to Vietnam, Indonesia and Nepal. With Bishop Ian Lambert (Chair of SOMA Australia) recently returning from leading a team into Borneo’s ‘interior’, he commented ‘What an amazing privilege to serve God’s Kingdom on short term mission – to see God move powerfully in healing and salvations, and join with local people passionate for Jesus, as they were encouraged by the Team. And in one local village in East Borneo where the Anglican Home Church had outgrown the home in which they were worshipping, the local Muslim community gifted them a large portion of land for them to build a new Church. We were constantly blown away by the provision and love of God.’
Victoria 2019 – All Welcome
The SOMA International 40th Anniversary will be a time of great celebration as well as an opportunity to share in the work of God’s renewal here in Melbourne, Australia.
Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, Chairman of SOMA International, and teams from across the globe (United Kingdom, United States of America, Singapore, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Ireland) will join our Australian team to facilitate four mini missions throughout Geelong, Bendigo, Mornington and the Melbourne area. Each area will host a SOMA Conference over the weekend of Friday 25 – Sunday 27 October 2019. This will be followed by a thanksgiving Service to be held the following weekend, Saturday 2nd November 2019 at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne and concluding with a celebratory dinner (venue to be confirmed), sharing in the past, the present and the future.
For more information please:
• visit our website: www.somaau.org
• email us: contact @somaau.org
• visit our Facebook page: SOMAAustralia
by Bishop Ian Lambert
Picture at top: Left to right: Gloria Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria – The Most Reverend Benjamin Kwashi (Chairman of SOMA International), The Reverend Liz Rankin (National Director of SOMA Australia) – recently of Batemans Bay Parish.