May 11 Blog
We began today with the Eucharist celebrated by Stephen Andrews, our priest (within a month and a half of being a bishop) member from Canada. A good start to the day for sure, with a few Canadian Anglicanisms put into the liturgy for good measure!
Bible Study and the first session included at my table Elsie Aarons, a Jamaican from St. Andrew’s Parish Church here in Kingston. (It occurs to me that I’ve never shared who is in our little group…Christina Alvarez from Cuba, Turi Hollis from New Zealand, Bishop Ikechi Nwosu from Nigeria, Bishop John Gladstone from South India, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and Peter Koon from Hong Kong…a diverse collection of people who have really enriched my understanding of both the Gospel of Mark and how we can build friendships through the study of Scripture.)
In reflecting on the weekend, the small groups were asked to draw a verbal photograph of the experience we had, and then we had to come up with a common theme. Among the themes were several you might have gathered from my blog of last night…hospitality, concern about young people leaving the church (not just on this island, we all said!), lively music and ministry through music, significant outreach etc. Elsie raised for our group that there is a strong need to have concentrated listening processes going on in all of our local churches…listening to young people, seniors, different traditions, ideas…and then, responding to what we have listened to.
The Anglican Observer at the UN, Hellen Wangusa, reported on both the current work at the UN on our behalf, and the challenges that the work faces in the future. A compelling, blunt person, she has a huge portfolio and carries it well, along with the others who volunteer to support various responses to commissions and committees.
This afternoon we did some small bits of chatting about the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative (too little time to develop much of a significant response), and same goes for our time spent on the development of an Anglican Relief and Development Alliance. However, both of these initiatives gained support for their establishment, and we’ll look for improvements in our capacity to do work together. The Canadian proposal that we add a Sixth Mark of Mission (to do with peacemaking, conflict transformation, and reconciliation) met a lot of discussion. People wondered why we should add another one when a couple of the five others could be expanded to include this concept, why we didn’t have exact wording, etc. etc. While it eventually passed, I think we won’t come again with a resolution that has quite so many landmines within it. We have to learn to be much more precise, I guess.
We had the presentations on the Theological Education Network, and Anglican Liturgical Consultations. In the latter report, mention was made of the retirement in 2007 of the longstanding and highly appreciated work of Paul Gibson, Canada’s gift to this work over many years. Nice to hear those compliments for someone whose work I’ve appreciated for years.
Following Evensong, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave his Presidential Address. He spoke of our achievements, and the challenges ahead, and the n the things we have learned. While I could do a hop, skip and jump through his talk, I would rather suggest that you go to the Anglican Communion website tomorrow or the next day and read it as a piece of whole cloth. As usual, his articulate, sharply insightful, and down to earth comments framed a way for us to consider what we have experienced and created together. We were so moved that, at the end, there was no applause, just respectful silence. We are so gifted to have this man on the journey with us, both here and now and in the future.
Honour was given to Bishop Gregory Cameron who is leaving his significant post at the Communion Office to be a bishop in Wales, to George Koshy, the Vice Chair of ACC (who revealed that he was 78!!), and to Bishop John Paterson, Chair of the ACC, both of whom have completed their terms of office. While each has given so much, I will especially miss John, whose support to the Anglican church of Canada at and after the Nottingham meeting was courageous and essential.
Before heading off, let me share a website that should, if I’ve got it all correctly, give you pictures of much of what I’ve been describing, and a couple pictures of us Canadians in our glory at the opening service last week. There are also several shots of the big events, so if your curiosity has been peaked, take a look. Here goes:
Blessings, all. Maybe one more of these and then off home!
P.S. If there are misspellings here, please consider the fact that my computer has moved into a mode of taking away one or two letters if I try to edit and change one letter…so I’ve given up! Maybe even the laptop has become exhausted with this wordy woman!!