ORIGINS OF SOMA
God brought to birth SOMA through a prophetic word in Canterbury Cathedral during the Anglican International Conference on spiritual renewal held in 1978.
The leadership of the Canterbury conference discerned the prophetic word “you are to take care of the nervous system of the Anglican Church” – as a mandate to be an instrument to ‘renew the Anglican church world-wide’. The burden of this vision was picked up by the then Archbishop of Cape Town, Bill Burnett, Revd Michael Harper and Revd Terry Fullam. Michael Harper became the founder Director in 1979.
THE GROWTH OF SOMA
Initially established in the United Kingdom, SOMA now has other offices in the USA (1985), Canada (1986), Australia (1986), Ireland (1991), South Africa (1992), New Zealand (1994) and Singapore (1999). Since 1999, other SOMA national/regional bodies have been established in Uganda, Nigeria, Latin America and most recently Maylasia.
The primary strategy of SOMA is to send out short term cross-cultural missions.
The International Board is the guardian of the SOMA vision, consisting of the National Directors, Regional Representatives and officers of the International Board, who provide management and pastoral support to the operational level.
International Advisers, representative of the Anglican Communion, chosen for their outstanding leadership in the Renewal bring to the International Board their ministry experience, wide vision and perspectives.
The operational dimension of SOMA is undertaken by the National bodies whose National Directors are the International Board.
The Revd John Simons was instrumental in reviving SOMA SA in 1994 with its first mission being a joint mission with SOMA Australia to the Diocese of Luwero, Uganda in 1994. John then became the National Director. The current National Director, the Revd Chris Viljoen, was appointed in 1998 and continues to serve as the Rector of St Andrew’s, Randburg in the Diocese of Johannesburg.
SOMA works in partnership with Provinces and Dioceses of the Anglican Communion, as well as with other mission agencies.
SOMA is a servant ministry seeking in the power of the Holy Spirit to empower the Body of Christ to preach the Kingdom of God and minister in the power of the Spirit. The thrust of the ministry is to both leaders and members of the local church. The ministry is carried out by short-term mission teams that go to a diocese usually at the invitation of the Bishop.
Clergy and lay people usually spend two to three weeks in a Province/diocese conducting seminars, speaking at conferences, and sharing with parish or community groups. On Sundays the teams preach in parishes.
SOMA team members cover their own costs of travel to the diocese where they minister. The host diocese meets the cost of accommodation and hospitality.