Andy Roberts has been appointed as director of international mission at Church Mission Society.
“Andy represents new leadership, fresh perspectives, and new impetus to international missions in a rapidly changing world,” said the Rev Dr Chan Nam Chen, executive director of Asia-CMS, based in Kuala Lumpur.
“We are looking forward to working with him,” said Canon Moses Bushendich, international director of CMS-Africa whose head offices are in Nairobi. Both Moses and Nam Chen were involved in the interview process for this key post – in keeping with CMS’s ever-growing commitment to working collaboratively across their global network. Moses, Nam Chen and Andy will be working closely together over the coming years as CMS continues to champion “everywhere to everywhere” mission.
Moses added: “When I and my colleague Lucy Ochieng interacted with Andy, he demonstrated a high level of relational ability, conversance with working under conditions of poor internet and electricity connectivity, strength in raising resources and working with people in particular contexts as key drivers of mission. He has a plus in cross-cultural relations.”
This cross-cultural understanding has developed over more than a decade. Originally from York, Andy has spent almost half his life in Brazil, where as mission partners with SAMS and then CMS, he and his Brazilian wife Rose have galvanised their concern for children at risk into several pioneering mission ventures.
In 2012, following an unforgettable encounter with three girls on the streets of Olinda who were being sold for sex by their mother, Andy and Rose founded ReVive International. ReVive provides for the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of girls who have been traumatised by abuse, exploitation or neglect. Together with their colleagues Andy and Rose have helped restore life and hope for dozens of girls. They have also recently been instrumental in lobbying for increasing foster care and adoption possibilities in Brazil.
Earlier this year Andy was awarded an MBE for his work with vulnerable children in Brazil. At just 35, he is one of the younger people to receive this honour.
“Andy and Rose have been pioneers in founding and developing the work of ReVive in Brazil with hearts passionate to serve the most vulnerable. … I know that Andy will bring that same pioneering spirit, passion and heart for God’s transforming mission to his new role,” said Paul Tester, who works in Peru as CMS mission development manager for Latin America.
Plans are underway for ReVive to continue operating under local leadership. Andy said that he has a “heavy heart” as he and his family plan to leave Brazil. Yet he explained: “For a while now we’ve been praying and asking God what is next. We feel him leading us into a new phase of ministry, to step out of our comfort zone. It will be an honour to partner with CMS people in mission, and partners around the globe, in God’s restorative and transformational mission.”
CMS CEO Alastair Bateman said, “Andy is a gifted, vision-driven leader and a great communicator. He brings valuable pioneering, grassroots, cross-cultural mission experience.”
“From my brief acquaintance with him, he’s the quintessential missional person – multi-cultural, engaged with the grass-roots, and constantly learning,” said Nam Chen.
Andy Roberts succeeds Paul Thaxter who left CMS in January 2021 following over two decades with the organisation. Roberts will begin his new role in September and will initially be based in Oxford.