As I write this article for the September issue of the Highway, I am still on a high from today’s Sunday choral Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral: the opening service of the Lambeth conference; the experience of being part of around 700 Anglican bishops processing up the longest aisle I’ve ever walked; voices from 165 different countries singing music from around the globe by those gathered together for worship; hearing the Lord’s Prayer in such diverse tongues; the Zinafe (Zimbabwe) choir drumming and dancing the Gospel procession; the Scripture readings heard in Mandarin, Bengali, Spanish and many other tongues; the colourful diversity of the Anglican Communion, of which you are a part, made worship feel like it was a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. It was as we pray in Eucharistic Prayer #4 “That we, with all your people, of every language, race and nation, may share the banquet you have promised.”
Four days into the conference, I am finding it inspiring. Simply meeting bishops from such
diverse circumstances; being able to share the challenges facing the church; learning from
each other; praying for each other; all of this will be a continual source of strength for my
ministry as your bishop.
I sat beside one of the Bishops of Jamaica at my first meal here and asked what the challenges were in his diocese. He talked about having small rural parishes far apart, not having full time positions anymore, the growing
need to call non-stipendiary priests to serve, needing to equip lay leadership for new situations. Such familiar challenges! The Lambeth Conference “Calls” the issues we will be discussing together here, I will bring
back to the diocese to strengthen our own mission.
I hope you were able to watch the YouTube videos of the plenary sessions; the Bible expositions, and the addresses of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The prayer after communion at today’s service incorporated the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion: I commend it to you:
God of love, we thank you for feeding us with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ, who calls us to proclaim the good news of your kingdom; to teach, baptise, and nurture new believers, to respond to human need by loving service, to transform unjust structures of society, and to strive to safeguard the integrity of your creation. Empower us to fulfill this calling through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, with your Holy Spirit, inspires and equips us for mission and service, now and for ever. AMEN.