Support the Café
Search our site

African primates, TEC bishops issue communiqué

African primates, TEC bishops issue communiqué

Archbishops and Bishops of Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, Haiti, and the U.S. have issued a communiqué: Transformation through Friendship. From Episcopal News Service:

The following is a communiqué issued by Primates and Bishops of Africa and The Episcopal Church on a recent groundbreaking meeting.

A Communique: Transformation through Friendship

October 8-10, 2014

The General Theological Seminary, New York City

We speak as six Primates representing Burundi, Central Africa, Southern Africa, Tanzania, West Africa, and The Episcopal Church, and as four Bishops of The Episcopal Church representing both U.S. dioceses and Haiti. Two of us participated by Skype while attending another meeting in Bujumbura. We gathered together at the General Theological Seminary in New York City from October 8-10, 2014.

We are grateful for the hospitality of General Seminary, including its dean, faculty, and students. We are also grateful for the assistance of the staff of The Episcopal Church, specifically the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson (Canon to the Presiding Bishop), Samuel McDonald (Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission), the Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki Mukasa (Partnership Officer for Africa), Elizabeth Boe (Global Networking Officer), the Rev. Ranjit Mathews (Network Officer for Mission Personnel and Africa), Sharon Jones (Executive Assistant to the Presiding Bishop) and Su Hadden (Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and Operations Manager).

Our conversations grew out of the Fifth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, May 22-25, 2014, at Coventry, England (info here). We shared news from our churches, rejoiced in our renewed fellowship, and marveled at the gifts and diversity of creation God has provided. We prayed together, and we worshiped.

Our intention was to build missional partnerships among our churches, taking Jesus’ statement of his mission as our own—“to bring good news to the poor, . . . to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk. 4:18-19) We confessed that one thing we have in common is that we all have needs, not the least of which is our profound need for each other.

We also celebrated that each of our churches has gifts to offer the others. Framing our conversation in the context of human dignity and flourishing, the sustainability of our common ministry, and the care of the Earth, we found several subjects for fruitful collaboration that will allow us to share our gifts with each other. We committed ourselves to exploring pension schemes, stewardship of finances and other resources (management and investment), health services, mining and related environmental issues, advocacy, migration and statelessness, human trafficking, religious freedom, and theological education. We made commitments to explore these opportunities for partnership and report back to each other early in the new year.

Over our time together, we found ourselves referring repeatedly to the spirit of the Anglican Congress of 1963, which contributed greatly to the transformation of our understanding of mission in the Anglican Communion. It gave us the language of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ and helped lead us to understand ourselves as partners in mission rather than in categories of givers and receivers. In that same spirit, and with eagerness to share the blessings we have received in these days, we express our fervent and urgent hope that another Anglican Congress might be held in the next two years, and encourage the active leadership of all who might help to make it a reality for the good of God’s mission to heal and reconcile the world. We hope that representatives of all the baptized—bishops, priests, deacons, and laypeople—will be present and heard. We hope that the Communion’s strategy to address the next iteration of the United Nations Development Goals might be part of the agenda. Aware that Africa is now the demographic center of the Anglican Communion and has always been mother to us all, we deeply hope that our leaders will take this opportunity to call us home to Africa for such an important gathering of our Anglican family.

Two of us from Africa shared proverbs from their own cultures, which spoke authentically to our sense of the Spirit’s calling. One is Sesotho, lesale le tee ga le lle, meaning, “one bangle does not ring.” The music of our hearts can only be made together. The other is Ashanti, Bannu ye, meaning, “if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go with a team.” We have made a conscious decision to walk together in order to go the distance.

On the night before he died, Jesus saw his disciples in a transformed way and longed that they would see one another in the same way. “I do not call you servants any longer, because a servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father” (Jn. 15:15). In Christ we have been transformed into brothers and sisters fed at the Lord’s own table. But we also have been transformed into friends so that we might go from that table into the world to offer ourselves in its service.

Friends walk together. Friends go the distance together. Friends make music together. Friends of Jesus love each other just as he commanded (v. 14). Friends share their needs and their gifts, their burdens and their joys. Over the years in the Anglican Communion, we have had the experience of together reconciling the world to Christ in diverse and creative ways. It is what we call mission, which is grounded in the holy and transforming friendship that comes through our common life in Christ.

Finally, we are aware that in our small but intentional gathering, we engaged the practice of Indaba, and experienced the transformational reality that has characterized so much of the life of the Anglican Communion since our last Lambeth Conference. We are anxious to encourage this across the Communion and will be calling on our counterparts to do so in the days ahead.

The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi

Archbishop of Burundi

The Most Rev. Albert Chama

Archbishop of Central Africa

The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop of Southern Africa

The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya

Archbishop of Tanzania

The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo

Archbishop of West Africa

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls

Chief Operating Officer,

The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves

TEC Bishop of El Camino Real

The Rt. Rev. Ogé Beauvoir

Bishop Suffragan of Haiti

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, III

Bishop Provisional of PA

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jim Naughton

This is an exciting statement. Like Jesse, I am intrigued by the proposal for an Anglican Congress. But I was tangentially involved in exploring how to fund such an congress the last time it was proposed, and in that particular instance and at that particular time, it was a daunting tasks. So I am waiting to see who will point the way forward.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Jesse Zink

Both the bishops—and the headline writer at Episcopal News Service and on this post—bury their lead. Calling for an Anglican Congress is a significant proposal that addresses dissatisfaction with the "instruments of unity" and potentially raises up more voices (beyond those of bishops) in the conversation about the future of our life together. There is much in this idea that merits serious attention, as I have outlined at greater length in this post.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Robert Martin

This is a positive meeting...making plans with friends from around the world to move forward together on specific things of common interest to our churches.

I especially like the call for another Anglican Congress in Africa in the next few years.

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Michael Hartney

The Primates, and Bishops Jefferts Schori, Saul, Gray-Reeves, and Daniel met at General Theological Seminary in the midst of everything else going on at the Seminary? It conjures up an interesting sight: multiple purple-shirted prelates suddenly visiting a beleaguered Seminary. If some students didn't know what was going on they must have wondered. Just sayin'

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café