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African and North American bishops take reconciling walk along Slave Trail

African and North American bishops take reconciling walk along Slave Trail

From Anglican Communion News Service signs of new life in the Anglican Communion:

…almost 20 African and North American prelates met for the sixth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue in Richmond, May 27–31. In the meeting’s spirit of healing and reconciliation, the bishops took a sobering walk along the city’s Slave Trail, on which many thousands of slaves were driven from the docks to the blocks where they were sold and sent to the Deep South.

“At first, the African bishops were surprised to see how many black people there were in Richmond, and then they realized that the vast majority of them were the descendants of African slaves,” says Colin Johnson, archbishop of the dioceses of Toronto and Moosonee and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario.

Johnson was the driving force behind the founding of the consultation after Lambeth 2008, when emerging divisions on human sexuality and Scripture seemed poised to threaten the Anglican Communion. The first consultation took place in the U.K. at the Anglican Communion office in London in 2010 and the bishops have met yearly since then. Next year’s consultation is expected to take place in Ghana, a major point of slave export.

A core group of about six deeply committed bishops has attended every meeting, but each year new faces come on board as bishops retire or move on to new positions.

Among other issues, the 2015 consultation examined mission and ways new church plantings start up in different cultural contexts. “It’s surprising the number of similarities,” Johnson says. Another issue on the bishops’ agenda was how to deal with rising secularism, which is a growing problem even in Africa.

Bishops attending the 2015 consultation included those those pictured here: Joseph Wasonga, Maseno West, Kenya; Johannes Bondo, Kenya; Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, Asante Mampong, Ghana; Michael Bird, diocese of Niagara; Garth Counsell, Cape Town, South Africa; Colin Johnson, Toronto; Julius Kaluf Mombasa, Kenya; Daniel Mensah Torto Accra, Ghana; and John Chapman, Ottawa and with them was Canon Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, General Synod Office, Anglican Church of Canada. Also attending were bishops Shannon Johnston, Virginia; Archbishop Daniel Sarfo, diocese of Kumasi, Ghana and Michael Oulton, Ontario; Maimbo Mndolwa, diocese of Tanga, Tanzania and Dickson Chilongani, diocese of Central Tanganyika, Tanzania.

posted by Ann Fontaine


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