Founded by prophetic word in 1978, SOMA UK is an Anglican-focused mission agency that sends around 12 short-term Team Missions each year across the Anglican Communion, mainly to countries on the African and Indian continents. Recent missions include to RS Sudan, DR Congo, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa, South and North India, and Indonesia.
Renewal for Mission
SOMA within its Holy Spirit (Renewal) distinctive emerged as a fruit of the charismatic movement late last century. ‘Renewal’ refers to the relational process of personal, individual, corporate, intentional, proactive and continuing challenging encounter and relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is expressed in growing with the Spirit in grace, attentiveness, watching and listening, abiding, waiting, risk-taking, courage, dependency, guidance, equipping for ministry, calling to repentance and sanctification – ‘keeping in step with the Spirit’; ‘doing what we see the Father doing’.
SOMA Call and Vision
SOMA has a specific prophetic Call ‘to care for the nervous system of the Body of Christ’ – the prophetic word given to a gathering of bishops and others at a meeting adjacent to the 1978 Lambeth Conference. Its vision is embodied in the term ‘Renewal for Mission’, seeking Renewal of the Anglican Church worldwide and seeing dioceses thus Renewed becoming centres of transformational Mission. This Call will continue to draw SOMA to minister in areas of conflict and dysfunctional relationship; of disunity; of ethnic, tribal and racial tension; of brokenness and distress.
These concepts of Renewal and Mission, Call and Vision are manifest in practice by our twin ministries of Intercession and short-term cross-cultural Teams for cross-cultural mission and ministry that equip, encourage, enable, empower and envision church leaders for their own mission.
SOMA’s ministry is to work at the request of and with the inviting province, diocese, initiative or region. This extends to spouses and those who hold office in the churches – evangelists, readers, catechists, youth leaders, the Mothers’ Union, congregational and community leaders and pastors from other denominations. In addition to its own teaching material and Renewal approaches, SOMA may work in partnership with other agencies based on the values of SOMA and work of the Holy Spirit. SOMA is working within the structures of the Communion to encourage an integrated Renewal perspective into thinking and practice, and thus maturing the Church.
Intercession is the foundation upon which Teams are built. The Intercessors’ network, facilitated by the Intercession Coordinator Team, ministers continuously to cover those with whom SOMA is in relationship abroad, our Mission Teams, UK staff, Team members and leaders, trustees, Intercessors and SOMA at the international level. Concerted Intercession will continue to be undertaken for a specific period before, during and after Missions, both on and off the Mission site, with discernment, insights, words of knowledge and wisdom and encouragement shared through constant two-way communication between Intercessors and Team. The network is linked by email, quarterly confidential Prayer Briefing, text/SMS, phone, Facebook, Twitter and post.The Daily Prayer Diary, encouraging prayer for SOMA, is available through Twitter, Facebook and this website, and is published and distributed to UK supporters, churches and networks.
SOMA Mission Teams
SOMA short-term, cross-cultural Mission Teams are formed in response to the invitation of the Archbishop or Diocesan Bishop to minister from within the corral of SOMA’s call, vision and values – a needs-specific approach to Team formation and ministry. Likewise, each Mission’s programme is constructed specifically for the context and in response to the explicit needs of and the pressing issues facing the recipient leaders. The Teams go to empower, encourage, equip, enable and envision local leaders, with the aim of Renewal for Mission and community transformation. Conferences and workshops are the main ministry formats.
SOMA Ministry in the UK
SOMA UK emphasises the positive impact of participating in Teams upon mission vision at home. It does this through the SHARING newsletter and electronic media to circulate Team members’ experience, and seeks to provoke vivid engagement with the Spirit in the UK. A SOMA UK conference and/or regional day meetings are held annually, gathering the SOMA constituency, with a focus on the twin ministries of Intercession and Teams. Parish Mission Partners will continue to be sought as they promote a proactive, mutually beneficial relationship with supporting churches, congregations and clergy.