The Anglican Communion: what it means to be “Church”
In my letter to you all last month I reflected on what it means to be Church. Since then, Lambeth, the decadal conference of Anglican Primates and Bishops from around the world, has come and gone. Excitingly, the conference has strengthened relationships within the Anglican Communion, and despite contentious issues around sexuality, the Communion is, it seems, stronger than ever. This is largely due to the nature of the Conference itself, a deeply spiritual event focused on listening, rather than debate and resolutions. There is a renewed understanding among bishops as to the challenges of mission and ministry in the multitude of different contexts in which they find themselves, and a renewed commitment to support the Archbishop of Canterbury as a symbol of our unity. The threat of schism, overplayed perhaps by the media, did not find light of day, and we thank God that we remain in fellowship with Anglicans around the world. In reflection, our Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, says in his Ad Laos communication: “… when I look back, I realise that most of all Lambeth was about relationships – with Jesus, with one another in Christ, and with the world.” This is something to celebrate!
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in a reflection to the Bishops post-Lambeth, notes: “First, there was an overwhelming unity around the need for the Church to play its full part in the worldwide struggle against poverty ignorance and disease. … Second, on the controversial issue of the day regarding human sexuality, there was a very widely-held conviction that premature or unilateral local change was risky and divisive, in spite of the diversity of opinion expressed on specific questions. … Third, there was a general desire to find better ways of managing our business as a Communion. Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury.” We have a lot to be proud of, as Anglicans!
Diocesan Family Day: Sunday 5 October 2008
10:00 at St Mary’s DSG
This is an important Diocesan occasion where we celebrate being part of the wider Diocesan Family. It is also our celebration of Bishop Jo’s 10th Year as Bishop of Pretoria, so an important day for us. It is likely that the preacher will be Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
As has become tradition there will be NO SERVICES at CORPUS CHRISTI on this Sunday. I am also aware of the temptation to play golf, visit neglected family, or generally do something other than be part of these BIG events, so my plea is that you breath deeply, put temptation behind you, and come join us at St Mary’s DSG (one of our Anglican Schools in Pretoria) in Duxbury Road, Hillcrest! These days are always fun once one gets there, so please make the effort to join us and be a participant in this event.
As we will be outside, you’ll need to bring a chair, a hat, maybe an umbrella (for the sun, hopefully not the rain) and a picnic for after the service.