Archive for the ‘General’ Category

New Calls for New Times – Archbishop Welby’s presidential address to ACC-16

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Photo Credit: ACNS

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave a presidential address to members of the Anglican Consultative Council following evensong at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Zambia, during the gathering for ACC-16. This is the full text of Archbishop Welby’s address, as delivered.

You can watch Archbishop Welby delivering his address by clicking here


Thank you very much. And thank you to the choir as well for that amazing wonderful treat. . . It’s quite an interesting feeling being in this Cathedral which was built at almost the exactly the same time as Coventry was, where I was a Canon for five years, and is very, very similar. And so when I sit here listening to choral evensong, it reminds me of years and years of sitting listening to the choir at Coventry five days a week and enjoying, again, the same music and delight in choral evensong. It was a real treat, so thank you.

I want this evening, rather than looking inwards, to look outwards and forwards; because, in the end, we are here not for ourselves, not for making the Anglicans better, but for seeking to serve the work and mission of God in the world.

And the Anglican Communion, as one of the few genuinely worldwide bodies which has a coherent structure in the world today, has to be aware of the great crises of our times. It is easy to forget that we do have a coherent structure. It doesn’t always feel like being coherent, but it exists and it is real.

We are in 165 countries. We have dioceses; each diocese has priests and each priest is in a particular area and knows that area. It is not giving away secrets to say [that] three years ago when I met the British foreign secretary, he commented that the Anglican Communion was a better intelligence network than the Secret Intelligence Service.

But because we are all over the world and because we are stretched and pulled by our differences, as we have looked at this week, the temptation is either to think only of internal questions, or of traditional issues, and not to realise that around us the world is shifting on its axis. There is a – probably apocryphal – story that in 1974, the Protestant churches of was then called South Vietnam, met to discuss a 10-year strategy, and failed to notice that within three months the North Vietnamese army would conquer them entirely

Sometimes, the issues we face, even if they are not new, become acute in a new way and compel us to rethink how we work and how we apply the gifts given by God in the mission that he also gives us.

It is like if you go to a play, to a theatre. Occasionally, when you are watching, there are one or two characters who come on the stage and dominate the entire story of the play. They may not even be in every scene, but every scene in some ways relates to them; and their plans only makes sense, and the scenes only make sense, when we remember they exist.

I was recently reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth. And Macbeth and Lady Macbeth dominate the play – even when they are not on the stage.

Two actors dominate our world stage at present, I would argue. One is religiously motivated violence, and the other is climate change.

The attacks in Brussels before Easter, the Paris attacks last year, the atrocities in Istanbul, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and many other places; Boko Haram and the horrors of Daesh, persecution in India, in Myanmar, in Sri Lanka, in Pakistan, and many other places and a million other conflicts; have made it clear that when it comes to violence we are in a new era. For the first time in several centuries we have been facing major, global conflicts with a very clear religious content; in which at least one side – if not both – finds that theology is its principle motivation and whose actions are profoundly evil.

It doesn’t matter if it is radicalised Buddhists in Myanmar; or Hindus in India; or Muslims in many countries. And, sadly, Christians are part of these actions, whether as participants as in the Central African Republic; or as funders and suppliers of weaponry.

And wherever we go, the second actor comes up: the issues of climate change are being more and more clearly felt as we have discussed today. They have a huge impact on economies. They generate conflict, they increase inequality to destabilising levels. There are moments of hope such as at COP 21 in Paris last December, in which Anglicans led by Archbishop Thabo made a significant difference. Yet at the same time, as we have heard and remember day by day, the outlook of climate change is not potentially bad; it is potentially fatal, for the most fragile countries and regions on earth; and for the billions of people who live in them.

Both these characters – religiously motivated violence and climate change – are global. Both these issues are generational, they can’t be solved in two, three, four years; they will take a generation or more. And both – and this is where most of the world forgets this – both characters can only be confronted with a theological and ideological approach and with a story, with a narrative, that is sufficiently powerful to overcome the natural selfishness of one generation, or the selfishness of countries which are more secure.

At its heart, these challenges are theological and it requires a deepening of our theological resources. We can only confront them by bringing them face-to-face to the reality of a God we study, worship, engage with, theologically. That is, incidentally, why I support Bishop Graham Kings, who was with us earlier this week, as Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion. We need to develop our theological strength and visibility in every part of the Communion. Graham’s remit is to support, with others such as the ACO and ACC, the Development of the visibility of the hugely deep and important theological resources in parts of the world that the historic centres of theology, mainly in the Global North, too easily forget.

For some of us, the crisis of violence is distant geographically. For all of us the crisis of climate change is both present but often unrecognised, but also distant in time in that its most profound effects, its most terrible effects, the effects that will kill hundreds of millions, if not billions, will not be felt for at least a generation, although the beginnings of the impact are with us very clearly today.

Both these crises play a role, are present like the Macbeths, in the other scenes on which we concentrate. Gender based violence is much worse in societies in conflict or under climate stress. Indaba is required to be a tool in reconciliation. Inter-religious relations are at the heart of what we do. Good families are the basic building block of restoring justice and peace, hope and capacity to thrive in the midst of troubled times. The UN and its agencies is crucial to a global response, and that is why we are there. And the UN and its agencies are helpless if that response does not have a clear theological input. Aid requires alliances. And so on.

But, for me, the single vision is to ensure that these two powerful characters in our play – in the play of our world today in the theatre in which we live – these two characters, religiously motivated violence and climate change, find that in the next generation their parts are reduced in the story of our world and their roles are eliminated before the final curtain comes down. Because if they are not eliminated, they themselves will bring down the curtain.

It is our call, I suggest, as Anglicans to be at the heart of those who re-write the play; who bring a new ending.

Let me take them one at a time, and then look at some answers.

First, the question of religiously motivated violence. I take it first because unless it is tackled the capacity of the world to face climate change is deeply diminished spiritually, economically, emotionally and collectively.

The Christian answer is simple, and I quote some words written by one of my colleagues, or the husband of one of my colleagues – a man called Sam Wells in a book called A Nazareth Manifesto. He wrote this:

“Reconciliation is the gospel. There is no gospel other than the one that requires and makes possible restored relationships with God, one another, and the creation. God has no ambitions and seeks no final goal beyond restored relationship. That relationship is the telos of creation.”

To be Christian we must include, we must be reconciled. Where our present condition leaves us today is with wars, humanitarian crises multiplying, and an unbreakable link in each country between what is happening internationally and domestically, which means that everyone’s domestic policies will constantly be disrupted by overseas events.

Last December, the Government officer who is dealing with how in Britain we deal with radicalisation, came to see me. She said: “I can’t think of anything outside the UK”. And I said that’s like trying to clean up the ground floor of your house when a river is running through it. Domestic and international are totally linked.

And if warfare and armed action are the primary tools we use then what we are doing will become utterly wrong, and will fail. There is that temptation in so many countries. We are in struggles in which we must engage in the right way. We must do the right thing, but we must do it in the right way or we will ourselves sow the seeds of further conflict.

Those countries that confront climate change by seeking to make sure they have access to raw materials that others will not then have access to condemn the world to conflict. In a struggle which is deeply ideological and theological, our response must be based in a story of relationship, of mutual protection, of order and human flourishing which overwhelms the demonic narrative of disintegration and demonisation of the other which faces us.

I pray that we could get hold of a political vision of what reconciliation in this struggle would look like; that must include the idea of a world in which religiously justified violence is eliminated. It was nearly true a few years ago, and is being reversed, for many reasons: economic, sociological, political, cultural, environmental and demographic, with some religion in the middle as a good hook to call all these other causes together.

We must overcome this upsurge in religiously justified violence, which by its nature, in all of the great world religions, perverts and abandons its original host by exempting itself from ethical principles, and cares nothing for human life.

The second challenge is that of climate change. I have come late to this, recognising for years that it was very important, but failing to grasp its significance especially among young people. Underlying the issue of climate change is the reality of global injustice and inequality. We are not all equally at risk, and those for whom the risk is less, forgetting solidarity, often will not see the problem.

At the same time there is a conscious rejection by some climate change sceptics of the nature of intergenerational equality. It is felt that the problems of 100 years away are too unpredictable to permit us to spend money and effort now.

Quite apart from the science, the theology of this is terrible. The church exists in space and time. We are joined by baptism to all past and all future Christians. Unless Christ first returns, the fate of those who belong to the church – let alone the rest of humanity – in 2116 matters deeply to us now.

But for human beings to make the decisions necessary, requires the overcoming of our natural selfishness with a greater force, and that force is the call of God to intentional discipleship across time as well as space.

Humiliation and disrespect is one of the most corrosive things we can experience. It lasts for centuries in groups and leads to feelings of unfairness. Foreign affairs becomes viewed through the prism of humiliation, as does identity. Minority and identity lead to special vulnerabilities. Humiliation is evident in climate change talks, as well as in war.

The response of Jesus is to point to the goal of breaking barriers through love that defies enmity, and in so doing offering a way of justification through accepting the unconditional grace of God. It hardly needs adding that love needs resourcing or it is mere emotion. It is for that reason that the contributions of Provinces, and the remarkable generosity of Compass Rose, make such a difference.

So we need to begin by recognising our selfishness, our human fallenness; and secondly, we must reassert solidarity with one another – with all of one another – but also with generations not yet seen. Solidarity has been vastly expanded in its potential scope by the development of information networks, and it has been deeply undermined the refugee crisis in the short term and through social media in the long term.

The refugee crisis and social media bring presence without relationships, both in war and in the impact of climate. We see everything and know no-one. Threatened we retreat.

Solidarity is based in the essential human dignity of every individual in creation and salvation. And the demands of solidarity increase inversely to the weakness of the person we see.

Our fallenness, our solidarity, and thirdly we must restore wisdom. Wisdom gives us back the subtleties of theology. A curse of our age is theology without subtlety; theology without nuance; theology as a club rather than a torch which illuminates. Subtle theology enables us to engage with the other across religions, across boundaries of continents and climate without hatred.

As Anglicans, we need to express these ideas, and we need to express them with a story that we can tell that is more beautiful than the self-interested stories of those who promote conflict or pillage our planet.

The church will be core to building this beautiful story, not through force, or authority, but by our authentic living out the difference that Christ makes. This is where intentional discipleship is not merely a Christian virtue but an essential for the survival of the world. To live out our difference in intentional discipleship has to be done in the midst of a dark world where tragedy is a category in which many of us live today. It was in this world that Jesus made decisions, and we know through him that God has not abandoned us. God shows us in Christ that God is on the side of the world, and of every human being, seeking changed hearts that lead to life, not death.

In practice, we must start our relationships of love, of human dignity and human flourishing with identity, hospitality and generosity.

Can we have Christian communities that give identity to those who are swept hither and thither across the world by the impact of climate change and war. The sixty millions of human beings, whose identity is destroyed and yet the Christian community offers identity. Religious community provide the stability that weak communities need. Religious communities can be the safe channel to express legitimate grievance and the starting point for the building of bridges between opposing sides.

We must be confident in pointing towards God whose arms are open but nailed on the cross. We affirm the indivisibility of incarnation and justification, of salvation holding together manger, cross and empty tomb. The glory of God is revealed in that that God became a living person. Through God’s grace we find identity.

A theology of identity calls us to love that gives inclusively of ourselves. To love the neighbour that I consider impure is better than to preserve my purity by keeping them at a safe distance. Not least, I will often discover, I was wrong.

Identity happens in relationship through hospitality. Hospitality is the second of the key elements of a more beautiful narrative. Both the giver and receiver of hospitality risk identity loss, so all hospitality has to be accompanied by the giving of social dignity.

Hospitality is a powerful cure for challenging the right not to be offended. It’s a powerful way of enabling hearts and minds to see a new future in which we accept each other. We find it in Diocesan partnerships, in Indaba, in links and friendships. We give social dignity without taking away social freedom.

We need listening relationships for Hospitality, Longfellow said: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

To listen is essential to both our great challenges and it leads us to the dignity of good disagreement in which we must view diversity as a blessing and not a threat.

None of this is easy: peacemakers come to be seen as the enemy. A few years ago, when I was in Lagos, I was talking to a pastor of a Protestant Church, a Pentecostal Church, and he said: “I don’t know where you are going with your Anglican bishops.” I had just become one so that appeared rude, but there you are; and he said: “Did you know you have a Muslim bishop? A Muslim bishop in northern Nigeria?”

I said: “I don’t think we do”; he said: “Oh yes you do” – it was beginning to sound like a Pantomime – “Oh no we don’t!”

I said: “What’s his name?” He said: “His name is Josiah Idowu-Fearon.”

Did you know we have a Muslim secretary general? I don’t think so.

Why was he accused of such a thing? Because he insisted that reconciliation was part of his life and ministry as an archbishop in northern Nigeria.

Heroes of peace become the victims of their own people. They shake hands with the enemy – whether a violent enemy, or the company that pollutes, or the nation that rejects climate science. And to do so is seen as the ultimate disloyalty. Fear is the greatest enemy of any dialogue, hospitality attracts suspicion.

May Anglicans become deeply suspicious to everyone else because they are full of hospitality.

And the final aspect of this new narrative – it is not the final aspect; A third aspect is human flourishing. We need a new theological dialogue, based in wisdom, expressed in solidarity, giving in love and hospitality, which focuses on human flourishing. We over-simplify the challenges of religiously motivated violence and of climate change. We must challenge their oversimplification. We must welcome the richness and the wealth of what God has created.

Such a theological dialogue – a new one of human flourishing – offers a better option. It is willing to name violence and corruption in its own tradition. To deny it only aids extremism. A text may be sacred, interpretation is not.

Dialogue names the perpetrators of violence when they are part of their faith tradition. Dialogue says the people who killed 7,000 Muslims in Srebrenica 20 years ago, were Christians. Dialogue accepts that Christians were, for generations, using the earth’s resources as though they had no limit. Dialogue accepts that Daesh are Muslims.

Dialogue names the issues in climate change, it permits us to hear when we have failed. A dialogue of human flourishing means that hard words are said in the context of soft relationships, and their hardness dissolves into understanding.

And when we look at our religious leaders of other traditions, we need to love and support them so that they can find the theological and ideological aspects of these two struggles. We must own our problems and confront them.

Intentional discipleship is based on the empowering filling of the Spirit of Christ. It does not attempt everything, but it faces reality well. It risks so that Christ may be glorified, it loves so that Christ may be seen, it blesses so that the purposes of Christ are accomplished. It does not abandon, but embraces, it does not hate and scoff, but it weeps and mourns. It is our all as Christians, and nothing can be more important.

Amen.


You can watch Archbishop Welby delivering his address by clicking here

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Anglican Communion News Service, April 15, 2016

Provinces urged to adopt Anglican Communion Sunday

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The provinces of the Anglican Communion have been invited to set aside the Sunday closest to the feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury (26 May) as Anglican Communion Sunday, with a special focus of prayer for the Communion.

The invitation came in a resolution passed by assent at the recent Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka (ACC-16). Similar requests have been made by previous ACC meetings but little progress has been made in designating a single day of focused prayer on the Communion from around the provinces.

The Sunday closest to the feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury has been chosen as the suggested date for Anglican Communion Sunday; because it was Saint Augustine who was sent by Pope Gregory to undertake the conversion of England. The conversion of England had already begun, of course, and there was Celtic Christianity in the British Isles before Augustine arrived; but it was Augustine who is recognised as the first Archbishop of Canterbury and who established his seat at what is now Canterbury Cathedral – the mother church of the Anglican Communion.

In addition to prayer, Resolution 16.37 also calls for Anglican Communion Sunday to be used for raising awareness of the Communion and for providing financial resources for the inter-Anglican budget.

It also asks every diocese in the Communion to begin budgeting for their participation in the forthcoming Lambeth Conference; and for all provinces to contribute financially to the budget of the Anglican Consultative Council. The Standing Committee are asked to consider reducing the number of days that ACC-17 meet in order to save costs.

ACC-17 is scheduled to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2019. The full details of the meeting have yet to be confirmed.

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Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the Anglican Communion News Service on Monday 25 April 2016.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Bishop James Tengatenga at ACC-16 in Lusaka
Photo Credit: ACNS

The full text of the sermon delivered by Bishop James Tengatenga at the closing eucharist of ACC-16 in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday. This was Bishop Tengatenga’s last sermon as chair of the ACC.

You can also watch a video of Bishop James’ sermon


2 Corinthians 3:7-18
John 8:31-47

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I have been a bishop in the Church of God for the last 18 years and 14 of those years I have served in the Standing Committee of the ACC and have Chaired it since 2009. What an honour it has been to serve God in our Communion! Thank you all for the confidence you had in me and all the support I have had all these years. Today is my Swan Song. It is made even more special by the fact that I am singing it within my home Province of Central Africa. I must say my Province has made me proud in the way that they hosted ACC-16. So do you remember the little chorus between me and Bishop Gongoma. To the province and to you all: “Zikomo! Kwambiri!

“I have seen the Promised land”, that is what Martin Luther King Junior said as he spoke of the dawning of a new United States of America. He was quoting Moses’ experience as he glimpsed the biblical Land of Promise. I too have seen it in the Communion. What I have seen I cannot unsee!

The glory of the Lord among his people is self evident. As Jesus would say, “Those who have eyes to see let them see and those who have ears to hear let them hear”! In fact I would be so bold as to quote yet another piece of scripture and say, “That which no eye has seen nor ear heard” has been revealed to us!

We are witnesses of these things. Our ecumenical partners, as they brought greetings to us during this meeting, bore witness to the fact that we are a gift to the Church universal. We are not a “Global Future” but the future present! The body of Christ yearns and groans for unity and that unity is inspired and founded on Christ. That unity that is expressed, in the Bible, by the Greek word, koinonia. And that word is interpreted Communion.

Our Reformed brothers and sisters told us that they were inspired by our chosen description of ourselves that says we are a Communion and so renamed themselves a Communion of Reformed Churches. Our Lutheran sisters and brothers also told us that their Federation is also calling itself a Communion. They told us that they learnt that from us. All of this is an attempt to express, theologically, the unity in Christ created by the Holy Spirit amongst believers.

We are witnesses of all this. May I be a little smug and say, “The rumour about the Anglican Communion’s demise is greatly exaggerated”?!

Nevertheless, we are only an approximation of what God intends. We are a human enterprise trying to be obedient to this Lord and Saviour in God’s mission. And that should not be a surprise. Only those who have decided that they are God can claim perfection and once you decide that, you behave like Lucifer who decided that his pride of place and appearance made him equal to God. As the English (referencing the Lucifer experience) say, “Pride comes before a fall.” and in Chichewa we would cap it by saying, “Tinaonela Lucifer” (trans. “we saw what happened to Lucifer”).

The Anglican Communion logo is a Compass Rose with the compass arrows breaking through the outside circle with a Cross at the centre of the innermost circle. The second circle has the Greek inscription which says, “The truth shall set you free”. That is to say, founded in the crucified and risen Christ and sent forth to break through the church into all the world proclaiming the liberating truth of Christ.

Yes, we are the disciples of Christ who have become apostles sent to make more disciples in all the world. And in that whole expression truth is the key word here and in the readings we heard. “The truth shall set you free”, we heard. We also heard that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Freedom to proclaim the truth of Christ. Freedom to glorify Christ and not ourselves.

Glorifying Christ not because we are prefect or even a perfect reflection of Him but rather an imperfect one that is still a work in progress until we reach perfection in him. The moment we imagine that we have attained it, “We lie and the truth is not in us, and make God a liar”, St John reminds us of that.

There are those among us who have resorted to lies in order to proclaim the Gospel. As I say that, you realise that that is a contradiction in terms don’t you?

Truth can never be promoted by lies. Lies are anti-Gospel. Lies are anti-Christ. Spin is anti-Christ. Slander and defamation are anti-Christ. If the future of Anglicanism is based on such it cannot be of God.

As Jesus said to those who claimed their Abrahamic pedigree but lied he said and I quote “You are doing the works of your father, in whom there is no truth, who when he lies speaks his native language for he is the father of lies”. The detractors from the Communion have perfected that skill to the T! Zechariah would say to such (as to the accuser of the saints), “Rebuke you Rebuke you Satan!”

For freedom Christ has set us free. When we know the truth we are free. Free to “go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere”. We proclaim not hearsay. We preach that which we have experienced, seen and touched so that the broken and hurting world can have joy. Not that we prove to be better than another. Not that we can beat another on the head with our version of the Gospel but that all people, without exception, may come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and be saved.

One-upmanship (to use American words) would say is not of Christ. St Paul writing to the Corinthians makes it quite clear that whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is Spirit.”

To the Philippians he says that he cannot boast in any achievement for everything he counted gain he now counts as loss. He further says that he has not attained the goal, he has not attained the prize, but is striving towards it so that he may attain it. St John says in his own way also says that we do not know what we are going to be but what we know is that we shall see Christ because we will be like him. In other words we are a work in progress and that is the state of a disciple and that is a disciple maker.

St Paul talks about this striving. He talks about it as an athletic discipline. The writer to the Hebrews also imagines the Christian pilgrimage as a race in which we need to shed all things that would weigh us down. St Paul sees these things that weigh us down as Godless chatter, useless arguments and partisanship.

God knows we have had a fare share of that in the church in recent years! Discipline includes bridling the tongue. Disciples are those under such discipline as athletes who work with seasoned coaches to reach the pick of their performance. Only when they have primed and toned their bodies can they strut and show off and compete effectively.

That is intentional discipline in order to attain an athletic goal. We have set our faces towards intentional discipleship. As a Communion which is confident in its Lord and saviour we are a training ground for disciples and disciple makers.

What we have learnt from Jesus Christ, that which we have become, we pass on to others. This requires intentional acts of going to the mountain of the Lord. Because an encounter with the living God, individually and together. From that encounter we can then come down into the broken world with unveiled face; with Jesus shining through us to his people.

Only those who have sat under the feet of the mighty God can disciple others. It is not our gospel or ourselves that we preach but Christ crucified, says St Paul. Jesus himself in the disputation we read in today’s Gospel says that he proclaims only that which he has heard from the Father who sent him.

Unless you are sent you proclaim yourself or at best your own version of the truth. And that is not the same as the Gospel of Christ. To guard from this the church ought to hear the advice given in Hebrews 3 and in Hebrews 10 where believers are enjoined not to stop meeting together lest some fall away due to sin.

“As long as it is today,” he writes, “encourage another. Do not stop meeting together (as is the habit of some)” end quote.

Disciples met in each other’s houses to break bread and shared the teachings of Christ. That is what we are enjoined to do at baptism. To meet in each other’s houses and in our case is to meet in each other’s provinces and churches as well as in our literal houses. That habit is infectious and also sets an example of discipleship.

It is not a meeting of the like minded or of one nationality as we learn from scripture about coming down of the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples. It was people from diverse backgrounds, from all over the known world on whom the Spirit fell at Pentecost.

A mixed crowd was the 120 and even the twelve that Jesus had around him. Different but intent on following the Rabbi Jesus. The rich and the poor shared all things in common. Thus, none was above another, nor better than another. They shared all in common and what Jesus demanded of them was the same regardless of status, wealth, or place of origin.

In fact we are told that God is no respecter of persons. Different gifts but the same mandate from the same Spirit. That singleness of purpose and unity in love is what converted the world. It is that about which St John says, “They will know you are Christians by your love.” Indeed the Roman officer, Pliny had no choice but could only say, “O how they love one another”. That is discipleship.

As we all know, love does not come easy. It is an intentional choice to love and to keep loving even in the face of challenges that makes marriages last. That is discipleship. Loving even when your very mind, senses and body say no. In the middle of all our disagreements, one thing I have held onto so dearly in obedience to Christ is that I have refused to be reduced to hate.

The Spirit of Christ constrains us to love. It may not come natural but no discipline comes natural. It may hurt, but a very old pop song taught me the double entendre phrase, “It hurts so good”! Yes a true disciple is one who loves even as it hurts and so turns the hurts of the world into wholeness in Christ. All this, not for one’s sake nor for one’s church sake, nor even for our Communion’s sake; but for Christ’s sake. When we set such an example we begin to participate in unparalleled ways in the mission of God and begin to model the kind of intentional discipleship that the world so needs today.

In that way we begin to live the truth of Christ. That is the truth which sets us free. Intentional. Disciplined. Liberating. Discipling. Penetrating. Breaking through and breaking down barriers. Saving. Truth.

A Communion or a future that is not this, is anti Christ. In fact it is one that is covered in shame. That kind of disgrace which the Old Testament prophets talk about as the uncovering of one’s shame! The very antithesis of what we heard from St Paul when he said the “unveiled face [which] contemplates the Lord’s glory and is being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from its Lord who is Spirit”.

As you can tell I am getting excited

Before I get too carried away please pray with me in this chorus (I hope I can sing):

Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us
Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us.
Melt us, mould us, fill us, use us.
Spirit of the Living God Fall afresh on us.

So let us go forth as free disciples and make disciples of all the world!

Amen.

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Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the ACNS on Thursday 21 April 2016

New leaders elected for worldwide Anglican Communion

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Photo Credit: Gavin Drake / ACNS

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A lay canon of England’s Liverpool Cathedral has been elected unopposed to serve as vice-chair of the Anglican Consultative Council. She joins the Archbishop of Hong Kong, the Most Revd Dr Paul Kwong, who was elected last week as chair of the body; and five new members of the Standing Committee.

The Anglican Consultative Council is the legally constituted body that brings together representatives of the different provinces – national or regional churches – in the Anglican Communion. It is an English company and charity; meeting every three to four years. It has just concluded its 16th meeting (ACC-16) at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka. Its Standing Committee are the trustees and directors of the charity and company.

Canon Margaret Swinson, a charted accountant and company secretary in private practice, was elected unopposed as vice-chair on Monday. She brings experience of finance, governance, chairing, shared conversations (Indaba) and ecumenical working.

She said: “I am committed to bishops, clergy and laity working together for the Kingdom through the Communion and ACC, both at the full meetings and through developing its life between meetings.”

The five newly elected members of the Standing Committee are:

The Rt Revd Jane Alexander, Bishop of the Diocese of Edmonton in the Anglican Church of Canada. “I bring a passion for ministry and for the empowerment of the whole church as disciples through the Five Marks of Mission,” she said. “I gave my life to Christ at age 25 and I love this expression of his body – the Anglican Communion.”

Mr Alistair Dinnie, of the Scottish Episcopal Church. A member of St John’s Church in Princes Street, Edinburgh, Mr Dinnie was a lead participant in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s “Cascade Conversations” on human sexuality. He works for NGOs in fields of HIV/Aids and the resettlement of offenders.

Mr Jeroham Melendez, from the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America, is the communications officer for the diocese of Costa Rica. “In my first ACC participation, I feel inspired to take one step forward into assuming new responsibilities,” he said. “As a Standing Committee member I will have the opportunity to serve the communion by coordinating different work initiatives through the various networks. I will support the implementation of communication strategies and improve the channels used with multi-language regions.”

The Very Revd Nigel Pope is the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata in the Church of North India – a united church. He is currently working to support the Diocese of Kolkata’s response to human trafficking, through the setting up of an “Aftercare Home” for young girls who have been rescued from the sex trade. “My spirituality is shaped by a context of extreme poverty, divisions of religion and caste, institutionalised patriarchy minorities and ever increasing violence,” he said. “As an ACC member I feel that a context of human suffering can help the Standing Committee sharpen it vision of international discipleship.”

The Rt Revd Joel Waweru is Bishop of Nairobi in the Anglican Church of Kenya. He has experience of international Anglican agencies, having previously worked as assistant general secretary and then general secretary Church Army Africa. He describes himself as a “focused, decisive, and a firm leader who stands firm for right values.”

In addition to the new chair, vice chair and five new members elected during the ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka, the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee includes the five Primates elected at the Primates Meeting in January in Canterbury to represent their regions:

The Most Revd Dr Philip Freier (Australia), the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke (Ireland), the Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East), the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba (Southern Africa), and the Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Holder (West Indies.

Two members of the previous Sanding Committee continue in office: the Rt Revd Eraste Bigirimana of the Anglican Church of Burundi and Ms Louisa Lette-Mojela, of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is the President of the Standing Committee.

Aco -standing -committee

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Tuesday 19 April 2016

Archbishop Justin Welby’s sermon at the ACC-16 opening Eucharist

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Archbishop Welby preaches at the opening Eucharist for ACC-16 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Lusaka.
Photo Credit: ACNS

This is the text of the sermon, as delivered by Archbishop Justin Welby at the opening eucharist of ACC-16 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Zambia, on 10 April 2016.

As Archbishop Justin gave his sermon, it was translated in to the Chewa language by Father Samuel Mwanza.

The readings at the service were: Deuteronomy 6:6-16, Psalm 1:1-6, Ephesians 4:8-16, and Matthew 28:16-20


Father Sampson, thank you for translating. I am sure that the sermon you translate will be better than the sermon that I speak. So listen to him rather than me!

The higher a tree grows, the more likely it is to need deep roots. When the storms come, only the roots make a difference. The older a society or a nation becomes, the more it needs to tell its story; so that in each generation we renew the sense of who we are and why we are here now.

But telling the story is a dangerous process. We can keep hatred alive by telling the story of what we have suffered. In the United Kingdom, in one part of our country where there was 30 years of violence, we have to learn to tell the stories of reconciliation, not of hatred.

So where our own history, as all histories have, contain tragedy and cruelty and sin; it is not only what story we tell, but how we tell it that makes the difference.

A few weeks ago I went to Berlin in Germany with my wife. We visited a museum of German history. For the period from 1933 to 1989, the period of Hitler and of Communist control of East Germany, the story was told very well indeed. The facts were clear of the terrible things that happened. The museum explained why the world had given judgment against Germany. And yet the story was told so that visitors could think for themselves and themselves see why those horrors were serious.

By the grace of God, Zambia does not have stories like that. And yet in every nation, the stories must be told well and the discipline of telling stories well is seen in our first two readings from Deuteronomy and Psalm 1.

The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ last will and testament. In it, he points to past mistakes and future dangers. He recalls to them the mercy of God that they have received and he recalls to them the promises of God that they have for the future. The book is a lesson in how to remember. Our reading starts with Deuteronomy saying ‘tell the story again and again to your children and grandchildren. And it was necessary that this should happen.

When they first had the book, the Israelites were a pastoral people living in tents, raising livestock. But within a generation, after a series of wars, they conquered the land of Israel and settled in cities and towns.

Do you remember what it is like to move for the countryside to the City? Many people here from the ACC, from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, and Zambia will remember such movements. Yet the step for the Israelites was much bigger. For 40 years they had lived with the visible presence of God in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day. They had lived in intimate relationship with God – close to God. Suddenly, they had neither a single leader, nor a single people, nor a single purpose. And suddenly, the pillar of fire had gone and they had the law to observe.

In England in the 19th century, the move to the cities led to the church losing contact with the people. In the country, they were poor, but they had lived alongside one another: the clergy next to the farmers, and to the land owners. In the cities huge numbers of people were lost to view, and soon lost to the church.

So what we see in Deuteronomy is a precaution against something that I am sure that you understand in this Province. And it is a precaution against something that we have suffered in England. Deuteronomy is a precaution against forgetting God when we are in the urban landscape, or in more comfort. It is a precaution against us changing God from someone who calls disciples to someone who is a tool for our own good.

But how do we remember, what stories do we tell?

Deuteronomy starts with saying to us that the stories must be about the God who has revealed Himself to us. We must not just tell the stories that we like. When our children were small we always read a Bible story with them each day. And if you have family at home, it is a good thing to do with children. But the problem with was that they liked some stories better than others. For example, they loved the book of Ruth, which we are studying in the ACC. But they found the books of the law and the prophets a bit more difficult. If we turned somewhere other than Ruth or Esther, or Nehemiah, or the Gospels, they would say: “No, no no, Dad. Give us something else.” And then they would say: “Dad, act out the story.” But to save you embarrassment I won’t do that today.

So Deuteronomy is not only a book of rules and laws, but a tool to teach the way of God. And the people of Israel needed it. As soon as they settled in the land, they began to forget. God raised up Judges, and then Kings, but they still forget. Forgetting is natural to human beings. Too easily, we forget our history, we forget our values, we forget our God.

Deuteronomy reappears centuries later when it is found in a wall of the Temple during repair work. When that happens it is read aloud to the King and causes a renewal of the faith of Israel, a return to holiness. God’s word, used properly, corrects both ignorance and sin.

What we see in Deuteronomy is that memory must be based in the reality of the God who saves. The Israelites were to tell their children, in a ritual of question and answer, about the salvation and freedom God had given. Because they were to remember, when they were in a place of comfort, even a place of copper mines, if you look in Deuteronomy 8. That although they looked back to heroes who had led them in the past into freedom, those heroes were nothing without the God of justice and righteousness.

It seems a long time ago and far away. Yet in this ACC we are guided by history. In this Province, whether in Malawi, in Zimbabwe, in Botswana and in Zambia, history matters; and in this nation of Zambia the story of Independence, the challenge of tribalism, the capacity to change governments peacefully – these are stories that matter.

Those stories need telling, but they need telling in the way of Deuteronomy. They need telling with God at the centre of them. And more than that, because we are what the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church calls ‘a Jesus people’, we must tell the stories with the risen, living Jesus Christ at the centre of them.

Every country which has a Christian heritage must have a Christian centre to nourish that heritage, and thus it must speak of liberation and reconciliation, of peace and human development. But it must always speak of them as the gift of a gracious God. In recognising our dependence on God, whether as individuals, as a church, as the ACC or as a nation, we find our true freedom.

Secondly, the way we tell the story is set for us in Psalm 1. Because Psalm 1 describes righteousness as something which is sustainable, and evil as something which carries the promise of its own destruction. And so when we speak of the story of the church, of the story of the nation, of the story of society, we must speak of both righteousness and wickedness.

In Burundi, a few weeks ago, I spent a few days with the church, and also with politicians. I have been going there since 2004 and I have seen their effort to overcome their civil war and find a common history in which to speak of their divisions. But once violence is in a society, finding your common history is so difficult – we have discovered that in Europe and in the UK. And for us as Anglicans, good history telling is not only centred in God but describes failures and successes honestly. And the way we tell our stories as a church, the way we tell them as a nation is tested by Psalm 1. It asks us: are you telling your stories in ways that demonstrate sustainable flourishing, development and life, or division and death?
So when you speak and pray of countries in conflict, pray for them to find the right way to tell their history so they see the hand of God calling them to life, not death.

It is the same for a nation. In the UK we are in the midst of a campaign for a referendum on whether we stay as part of the European Union or not. To date the campaign [on both sides] it seems to me risks being vague, unrealistic and negative. Psalm 1 describes what righteousness looks like in our message as Christians or indeed in a political campaign.

Righteousness describes sustainability, not simply optimism. It describes strength and endurance, rather than hoping that something will simply turn up.

Our message as a church, or our message as a nation, lacks righteousness when it is full of scoffing, injustice, violence and manipulation. And how often as Christians we need to repent of that in the church. We lack righteousness when we suggest power or leadership in church or nation or across the world is for the benefit of the winners only.

We lack righteousness when we promise refreshment that has no source in God. When we do that, whether we are churches or whether we are nations or whether we are in politics or anywhere, we may call ourselves Christians but we act like atheists.

So our history as a church, as it continues to be developed by this ACC, must be God-centred and righteousness pursuing. And whether it is in Zambia or elsewhere or in the UK, I pray that your elections will be God-centred. I pray that they will pursue righteousness. I pray that for my own country.

But even so, to tell a story, to be a people of a story that is based in righteousness, is not enough. The church is called in the Letter to the Ephesians to build a whole new vision of what it is to be human. In Ephesians we see that through Jesus we are equipped to become what God calls us to be. This is a message for you and for me, for the church in our work of continuing the work of Christ, in our mission of setting lights shining in every community.

Yes, we must tell a story of God’s liberation. Ephesians speaks of righteousness, it rebukes corruption, it condemns violence, it stands against everything that hinders the common good; it stands against all that hinders solidarity, justice, the treating of the earth’s resources as a God-given trust for all humanity. Yet, even more than that, towards the end of the reading that we had today, the Letter to the Ephesians calls the church to be a visual aid of what it means to be a complete human being. In the Ephesians we are called by Paul to maturity. And maturity in Ephesians means looking like Jesus Christ. Even if everyone agrees together, even if our own arguments prevail, we cannot be satisfied until we look like Jesus Christ.

And the moment we remember that, we see the insanity of power struggles and faction fighting in the church. Because it is Christ who brings gifts, says the reading, and gives them across the church, to bring us to maturity. But too often, both as individuals or as groups within the church, we take the gift and we put it in our pocket and treat it as our own. And if we get it out, we get it out to use against someone next to us.

Of course there will be debates and discussions. Paul talks about the need to resist wrong doctrine and calls for unity of faith. But we will only discern right and wrong when we listen and love. When we apply the gifts we are given unreservedly for the good of all those who call on the name of Christ.

This works both globally and locally. In the week before Easter I was in a parish in Kent in my Diocese. It’s a very poor parish. The church had been built 150 years ago and like many churches in England was normally only used for a few hours a week. But in the last three years there has been a new priest, and this priest has started a community bank for micro-finance, and she provides food for the hungry. And then she realized that they needed to teach skills so that people would not be hungry. And then they taught them about family life. The church is now full of life, of service to the community, and it demonstrates to me what it is to grow into the likeness of Christ, and it’s being used every day of the week.

Of course, the priest has not done that by herself. She has formed partnerships, seeing the gifts given by God, as in Ephesians, for the task to which he had called the church. They worship, they pray, and they bring people to faith in Christ. We must have no illusions: it is fragile and often messy. They discuss things, they make mistakes, but gifted by the Spirit they are growing into life.

Can the ACC do that for the whole Communion, not just for itself? Can this wonderful Province go on doing that in Malawi, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe? Because the question for all institutions nowadays, for all churches, in an era when it’s easy to get reports of what is really happening around us, the question for us is no longer only what we say but also what we do. That’s why I say, also, pray for your politicians, because they have a very difficult task and they need the gift and grace of God.

Lastly we came to Matthew’s Gospel, because what do as God’s people is not for us but for the world and every human being living in it, and for the whole creation. The last thing Jesus does is to send his disciples out, he says: “Go.” One of my great predecessors, William Temple, said that the church exists for those who are not its members. We show that we come from Christ when we go out in humble and joy filled service; when we go out singing and dancing, when we rejoice in worship and are full of love, when we are not judgmental, when we do not fall into the old church habit of throwing stones at the weak and flattering the proud and the strong.

That is such a hard thing for all of us, in the church or in government, to do. Do we serve the weak or do we flatter the strong? Is our message so full of Christ-centred hope that it creates societies of hope?. . .

That is also the last test for all of us who are Christians. Jesus’s words at the end of Matthew say to us, is what you are doing about you? Or is it also about going out? Is it mainly about going out? And if it is about going out, which it must be, do we have so much of the good news alive in us that we consciously seek to introduce people to Jesus who has filled us with joy and hope?

Pope Francis said a couple of years ago, why is it that so many people going out to talk about Jesus look as though they’re going to a funeral? So when you go out today, dance and rejoice! Because Jesus has so captured us with liberation, he has so guided and sustained us in righteousness, he has so equipped us for maturity, that we are to be the people who make disciples.

Praise to Christ our risen Lord! Amen.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 11 April 2016

ACC meeting emphasized common goals, delegates say

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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(L-R) Suzanne Lawson, Bishop Jane Alexander, Archbishop Justin Welby and Archdeacon Michael Thompson at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo: Anglican Communion Archives


The April 8–19 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka, Zambia, was marked by a sense of unity and common purpose, according to Canadian delegates Bishop Jane Alexander and Suzanne Lawson.

“There was a definite sense of being together as a family of churches,” said Alexander, “[and] a real desire to talk about the things that brought us together and connected us.”

There had been some uncertainty leading up to the meeting about whether or not disciplinary measures would be imposed on The Episcopal Church (TEC) following a call from the Primates’ Meeting in February 2015 for TEC to face “consequences” for its decision to perform same-sex marriages. But, the ACC declined to impose any sanctions.

Nor, according to Alexander and Lawson, was there much discussion of Canada’s upcoming vote on same-sex marriage—which, both admitted, came as a surprise.

“Nobody asked me [about it],” said Lawson. “I was all ready to engage, [but] no—I think people were just delighting in the relationships that were being built.”

Alexander said this refusal to punish TEC was consistent with the tone of the meeting, which emphasized work being done across the Anglican Communion, particularly initiatives around evangelism and discipleship, climate justice and the Bible in the Life of the Church Project.

The work around the Bible struck Lawson as being particularly exciting, and she noted that the Anglican Communion office has prepared a website that will likely be online by the end of June. According to Alexander, the website will contain “over a hundred” resources, such as Bible studies geared toward helping parishes and individuals engage with Scripture.

Discussions around evangelism and discipleship also struck a chord, to the extent that the schedule was rearranged to allow more time for them, said Alexander.

“[Discipleship] is important for us in a context that is increasingly secular, but it is also really important in contexts around the world where Christians are under persecution or other religions are rise,” she noted.

The meeting also showcased the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical relationships, with partners from the Coptic, Orthodox, Catholic and Old Catholic churches present as well.

The meeting also saw the election of Alexander to the ACC’s standing committee, which means she will be involved in the council’s work for the next three to four years, until the next meeting.

“I’m quite excited about it. I love the Communion, and the standing committee is really quite a representation of the Communion,” she said, adding that one of the major priorities in the coming years will be developing a better communication strategy so that Anglicans are more aware of the work their church is involved in around the world.

“If we don’t share our own story, someone else will tell it, and it might not exactly be the real story of the Communion.”

The Canadian delegation also included Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, who went in place of Archdeacon Harry Huskins, and Archdeacon Paul Feheley, the primate’s principal secretary, who was seconded to head the communications team.

 

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, April 29, 2016

Anglican entities’ financial obligations under the Residential School Settlement Agreement

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Anglican entities’ financial obligations under the Residential School Settlement Agreement

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To members of the Anglican Church of Canada, and ecumenical and interfaith partners:

Since the article “Other churches escape residential-school settlement obligations in wake of Catholic deal” was published in the Globe and Mail on April 27, 2016, the General Synod and several dioceses and partners have been receiving questions about the reported $2.8-million return under the terms of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).

In 2007, the federal government’s settlement with the Roman Catholic entities became the model for settlement with the other church parties, each of whose obligations was established as a percentage of the settlement with the Roman Catholic entities. For the 32 entities of the Anglican Church of Canada, that percentage was set at 19.8572 per cent of the Catholic amount, representing the proportionate involvement of the Anglican Church in the Indian Residential Schools. Other parties to the agreement included the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit representatives, and the survivors of the schools. The total amount agreed to by the Roman Catholic entities was $79 million, and the total obligation of the Anglican Church of Canada was $15,687,188.

A further complexity in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was the division of the Roman Catholic entities’ obligation into three amounts, an initial amount of $29 million, $25 million in in-kind services, and up to $25 million in a “best-effort” fundraising campaign. The obligations of the other three churches were structured in such a way as to tie part of our obligation to the outcome of the Roman Catholic fundraising. The $15,687,188 obligation of the Anglican Church of Canada (thirty dioceses, the General Synod, and the Missionary Society) was structured in the following way:

  1. A total of $6,699,125 that had already been paid for compensation of claims.
  2. A maximum amount of $4,023,675 to be contributed by the Settlement Fund to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation (AFHR), either by in-kind services or cash payments over a maximum period of 10 years.
  3. A maximum amount of $4,964,300 that is required to be paid from the Settlement Fund into the AFHR. The final calculation of this amount, however, would be determined to be 19.8572% of what the Roman Catholics raised over their 7-year best efforts campaign. In any case, $2.2 million of that reserve was immediately and irrevocably transferred from the Settlement Fund to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation.

The total amount contributed, including compensation to survivors and grants for healing projects in communities by the ACoC is $12.9 million dollars, most of it contributed by Anglican Church members, with some coming from the reserves in dioceses and the General Synod.

The remaining $2.8 million was, by agreement of all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, held in reserve pending the outcome of the “best efforts” Roman Catholic fund-raising. If that fund-raising fell short of $11 million, the IRSSA intended that the funds be returned to the contributing entities. It is that provision in the IRSSA on which the General Synod acted in returning funds to those dioceses who had originally contributed them. This was an outcome foreseen and provided for deliberately in the Settlement Agreement.

In returning funds to dioceses, the General Synod fulfilled its legal obligation under the IRSSA.

The question remains as to the use of those funds by dioceses. A complete survey has not been undertaken, but early reports include the following:

  • The Diocese of Toronto, the largest contributor, and therefore the recipient of the largest returned amount, is using that money to begin an endowment in support of indigenous ministry within the diocese.
  • The Diocese of Niagara will use the money returned to it to establish an urban indigenous ministry in Hamilton, and to support a renewed diocesan indigenous ministry strategy.
  • The Diocese of Central Newfoundland is using its small returned amount to support research into the early relationship between the Beothuk people and the Church, research that will help Canadians, and Newfoundlanders in particular, come to terms with the extermination of that people in the course of European settlement.’
  • The Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has returned the funds it received to the General Synod for our national ministry of healing through the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation.

The dioceses of the Anglican Church have, apart from the matter of these returned funds, been active in the development and renewal of indigenous ministries, including specific initiatives, for example, in the dioceses of New Westminster, British Columbia, the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Moosonee, Toronto, Niagara, Rupert’s Land, Algoma, Ottawa, and Montreal. A new self-determining indigenous jurisdiction, the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, came into being with the blessing of provincial and national governing bodies in 2013, and a national strategy of “walking together with Indigenous Peoples in a journey of healing and self-determination” has been guiding our church policy for several years.

The Anglican Church of Canada has been an agent of deep harm in the lives of indigenous persons, families, and communities. We have heard the words of the Chief Commissioner of the TRC, Senator Murray Sinclair, reminding us of the long commitment we are called to make to the work of overcoming that legacy.

It is encouraging to see the entire church rally to meet that commitment. In most of the dioceses that receive a return of the funds they created, those funds are being used to boost the local church’s capacity to respond to the challenge of justice and right relations among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, or to support the continuing national initiative of the Healing Fund. That fund began making grants in the early 1990s, more than a decade before the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, and it will continue that work with whatever resources it can muster, long after the terms of the IRSSA have been met in full. The healing work in which we are partners with so many others is the work not of years, or even of decades, but of generations.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 29, 2016

Justice Camp furthers bond between Canadian and Cuban churches

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Justice Camp Planning team works out the details of the three immersion group experiences for the upcoming international camp in Matanzas, Cuba. Submitted photo by Bill Mous

The Justice Camp Planning team works out the details of the three immersion group experiences for the upcoming international camp in Matanzas, Cuba. Submitted photo by Bill Mous

Justice Camp furthers bond between Canadian and Cuban churches

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When the eighth Justice Camp begins on April 30 in Matanzas, Cuba—the first time the event has taken place outside Canada—its participants will include 25 Canadians and 25 Cubans, brought together by their common faith in Christ and a shared commitment to social justice.

Justice Camp 2016 is organized by the Episcopal Church of Cuba, the Anglican diocese of Niagara, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, along with a $10,000 grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada. Focusing on economic justice, food security and social engagement, the camp is the latest example of a close partnership between the Canadian and Cuban churches that has flourished for more than half a century.

“It’s another moment on the journey that we fully anticipate for another 55 years,” said General Synod Director of Global Relations, Andrea Mann, noting that the upcoming camp “lifts up our close bonds of affection and companionship and work together … It focuses on issues of local justice-making that are important for Canadian Anglicans and Cuban Anglicans.”

The strong relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of Cuba dates back to the aftermath of the 1959 Cuban revolution, which saw the onset of a decades-long blockade by the United States government and the cessation of normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Formerly a diocese of the Episcopal Church USA, the Cuban church became an independent entity. But reflecting the maintenance of diplomatic relations between the Canadian and Cuban governments, the Anglican Church of Canada continued relations with the Cuban church.

The relationship between the Canadian and Cuban churches has been formalized through the Metropolitan Council of Cuba, on which the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada serves as chair. A number of mission priorities have helped shape and deepen the relationship between the Canadian and Cuban churches over the years:

  • Theological education, a major focus of resource sharing. The Anglican Church of Canada provides an annual grant to the Episcopal Church of Cuba to help fund the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas as well as stipends for the two Episcopal full-time faculty on staff at the seminary, and supports a distance education program for Episcopalian seminarians. Meanwhile, the Cuban church receives Canadian theological students as interns to provide them with three months of parish immersion.
  • Poverty alleviation among paid ministry staff of the Episcopal Church of Cuba. Depending on their responsibilities, the average monthly salary for a Cuban priests ranges between 45 and 60 U.S dollars per month. Part of the Canadian church’s annual grant helps cover some of the living costs for clergy.
  • Primary evangelism at summer camps hosted by the Cuban church for children, teenagers and adults. The Anglican Church of Canada helps support the camps, which help participants learn about Jesus and the church.
  • Rebuilding parishes has become a major priority under Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, current diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba. Many church buildings in Cuba have deteriorated over decades of blockade and isolation, with the collapse of the Soviet Union leading to a further decrease in access to building supplies. Funds from the Canadian church help support rebuilding efforts.

A key aspect of the partnership between the Canadian and Cuban churches is the companion diocese relationship between the diocese of Niagara and the diocese of Cuba, which manifests itself through mutual prayer for each other, offering ways for people and parishes to experience ministry in each other’s contexts, building relationships to foster ministries and learn from one another, and supporting ministry projects.

Noting that the 2016 Justice Camp provides an opportunity to raise awareness within the Anglican Church of Canada about the Episcopal Church of Cuba and its ministries, Bishop Michael Bird of the diocese of Niagara expressed his hope that the camp would further deepen the relationship and partnership in mission between the two churches.

“We’ve already seen this happen through the planning process,” Bishop Bird said. “But it’s also a tangible way in which people from both our dioceses can live into their baptismal promises by more fully learning and living into local and global justice making.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, April 12, 2016

Commonalities surface as Galatians 6:2 participants share their stories

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Lynette Wilson, Episcopal News Service on April, 06 2016


The Rev. C.K. Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church, and Rebecca Linder Blackly, the U.S. State Department’s senior policy advisor for Africa in the Office of Religion and Global Affairs, play with orphans at Valentine Orphanage April 2, during a group visit to outreach ministries of the diocese of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Photo: Andrea Mann


[Episcopal News Service – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania] Throughout the Galatians 6:2 Conference, participants from six Anglican Communion provinces found that on issues of Anglican and Episcopal identity, theological education, migration, human trafficking and the environment, their commonalities outnumber their differences.

Coming together to discuss challenges affecting the church and the world and seeking solutions reminded the Rev. Vicentia Kgabe, rector for The College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown, South Africa, of the importance of community and of the richness of the Anglican Communion.

“The bonds of affection continue to get stronger,” said Kgabe. But the church, he added, needs to strengthen its voice in the world.

Twenty-three people representing six Anglican Communion provinces – Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania,West Africa, and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church – gathered for theMarch 30-April 3 conference aimed at developing a model of collaboration that will enable the provinces to carry one another’s burdens in mission. Throughout the conference, the group held in prayer neighboring Burundi, which is experiencing ongoing political conflict and violence.

The referenced verse, “Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” undergirded the participants’ work and fellowship.

One of the most hopeful outcomes of the conference “is the realization and the recognition that we are part of each other as brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Bishop Brian Marajh of the Diocese of George in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He added that it is important to put this in the context of “where we find ourselves in the Anglican Communion … the Gospel imperative is to be a part, rather than being apart.”


Patricia Kisare, the Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based officer for international affairs, and Bishop Jacob Aveebo of Tamale, Anglican Church of Ghana, speak to one of the sisters from the Community of St. Mary, an order of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. Photo: Andrea Mann


Issues of human sexuality and same-sex marriage have strained relations in the Anglican Communion since the early 2000s.

In January, a majority of Anglican primates called for temporary “consequences” for the Episcopal Church, recommending that its participation in ecumenical dialogues and some Anglican Communion bodies be restricted. The primates’ actions at their gathering in Canterbury, England, were a response to the 2015 General Convention’s decisions to change canonical language defining marriage, and the authorization of marriage rites that would apply to both same- and opposite-sex couples.

The Galatians 6:2 Conference had been planned in advance of the primates’ gathering, in part in response to those longstanding differences, but also as an ongoing changing approach to missional relationships and partnerships between churches in the United States and Africa. The conference was conceived during an October 2014 meeting in New York City where the six primates in attendance set their intention to build missional partnerships among their churches.

“One of the greatest takeaways of this conference has been the strengthening of our relationships as members together of our global Anglican family,” said the Rev. Chuck K. Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for ministry beyond the Episcopal Church. Robertson participated in the Galatians 6:2 Conference as part of the Episcopal Church’s delegation. “In the sharing of our stories, in our deliberations and decisions, and in our common prayer, we have deepened the friendships and trust between us even as we commit ourselves anew to the crucial work before us all,” he added

“These people are interested in working in partnership, not in isolation,” said the Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa, who works as an officer for Africa relations for both the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church.

Kawuki-Mukasa facilitated the conference alongside the Rev. Ranjit K. Mathews, the Episcopal Church’s Africa partnerships officer, and Patricia Kisare, the Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based officer for international affairs. Observers included Rebecca Linder Blachly, the U.S. State Department’s senior policy advisor for Africa in the Office of Religion and Global Affairs; Grace Kaiso, general secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, and Andrea Mann, director of global relations for the Anglican Church of Canada.

“Any time there is an opportunity for the communion to come together to work on important matters of mutual concern it’s a good thing,” said Mann, adding that this conference was of particular importance because participants were seeking to develop a model of collaboration intended to lead to provincial partnerships. “It’s a concrete implementation of a commission of primates to provinces to get going on something.”

Participants and facilitators are writing a letter to communicate the group’s findings and recommendations for future collaboration to the six primates. Participants included bishops, priests, deans and development officials, who throughout the conference worked in small groups and shared their stories and experiences as they discussed nine topics that were established in advance of the conference. The nine topics were: sustainability, health/environment, human trafficking/migration, theological education/religious freedom, and finance/pension.

At the outset of the conference participants entered into a covenant with one another to be fully present, to listen and to share their stories. It was through a generous spirit and storytelling that commonalities and connections began to form.

“Relationships have been formed, we are in each other’s road now,” said Bishop David Rice of the Diocese of San Joaquin in Central California. “This will allow us to do something with that, travel that road together, carry each other’s burdens.”

Despite existing differences in the Anglican Communion, as the Galatians Conference has shown, the communion has far more in common than what it disagrees about, said Mathews.

“We are going to continue to reach out in partnership based on common mission. We continue to believe that what holds us together is much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “It’s time we focus on what holds us together. This is a concrete example of moving forward, and that’s why it’s significant. For such a long time we have allowed others to define what we mean by partnership.”

The Galatians Conference was just one example of the ways the Episcopal Church and its primate, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, remain in conversation with Anglican provinces in Africa. For example, Curry will travel to Accra, Ghana, in May for a meeting of the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, which began at the 2008 Lambeth Conference in response to differences over same-sex unions and larger questions of biblical interpretation.

The Galatians Conference took place a little more than a week in advance of the Anglican Consultative Council, which brings together up to three representatives of each province every three or four years, and is scheduled to meet April 8-19 in Zambia.

– Lynette Wilson is an editor/reporter for Episcopal News Service.

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Anglican Journal News, April 08, 2016

Anglican, Lutheran leaders echo call for ‘brave action’ on climate change

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Over a billion people in 193 countries are expected to celebrate Earth Day with calls for stronger action to “stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction,” according to organizers. Photo: Tinna Pong/Shutterstock


With Earth Day approaching Friday, April 22, the heads of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are echoing an appeal, made at an international church conference last fall, for urgent action against climate change.

“As we observe Earth Day…we commend to you the Storforsen Appeal,” write Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and National Anglican Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald in a jointly issued letter.

“The appeal calls on all of us ‘to take brave action and make bold decisions on promoting climate justice.’ It asks us to rededicate ourselves ‘to stand in solidarity and support the peoples in the North, who are now already survivors and leaders in responding to climate change,’ ” the bishops continue.

“We pray for the humility and discipline to use the earth’s resources wisely and responsibly; to take action with care for those who will come after us; and to continue to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth,” the letter concludes.

The Storforsen Appeal was issued jointly by participants in a The Future of the Arctic: the Impact of Climate Change, a conference of church and Indigenous leaders held in northern Sweden last October 5–8.

MacDonald and Johnson, as well as Henriette Thompson, the Anglican Church of Canada’s former director of public witness for social and ecological justice, were among those who attended the conference, organized by the Church of Sweden and the Canadian Council of Churches.

According to the appeal, “climate justice for the Arctic is a spiritual issue, and the power to change comes from spiritual sources.” The appeal refers to concerns many young people in the Arctic have for their future as rising temperatures threaten traditional ways of life. It argues that “the spiritual resources and traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic can serve to overcome the climate challenge we are all facing today,” and it cites, as an important guide to political action, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Anglican Journal News, April 21, 2016