From Matt Gardner of the Anglican Church of Canada: a report of a meeting of Anglican Bishops to share their common life, their mission in various parts of the world and to support and learn about each other with respectful listening (Indaba).
“The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue initially grew out of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, prompted by recognition of the need for conversation in light of disagreements over issues such as same-sex marriage. As the next Lambeth gathering approaches, it is only fitting that bishops at the latest consultation found themselves increasingly focused on plans for Lambeth 2020 and beyond.
Now in its eighth year, the most recent Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue took place from June 14-18 in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of this year’s consultation was haraambe, a word originating in Kenya that means, “to pull up together”, or joining hands to build and work for the common good. The consultation itself pulled together bishops and archbishops from Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, England, Canada, and the United States.”
For the complete Communiqué: Read A Testimony of Mutual Commitment and Pulling Together—Haraambe. Quote:
We recognized much we have valued in the dialogues, which have changed our ministries and our lives:
• A new understanding of the Anglican Communion has led to renewed commitment to its flourishing.
• Myths and stereotypes, misunderstandings and propaganda have been broken down. It is clear we have so much more in common than the issues that divide us and threaten our unity at this time.
• It has been important to visit local church ministries and worship in local parishes. We have learned how others are engaged in the work of building up the church and in living the Gospel. We have learned new ways to engage mission.
There have been surprises:
• Listening first hand to someone is very different from reading about each other.
• In spite of our differences there has been mutual respect, deep friendship, hard won growth of trust and deep commitment to one another and to this dialogue.
• There is a personal cost in embracing the other, but much enrichment, and this has led to a fuller articulation of our own identity and stronger commitment to our common faith in Christ Jesus.
• In our roles as bishops, in very different contexts, we share many similar concerns.
• There is unity in the Anglican Communion’s diversity.
• God brings about our own transformation through loving relationships, and this has happened to us in the course of these dialogues.
We are intent on deeper dialogue through:
• Faithful courage to trust and share • Work in smaller groups for better sharing and greater personal contacts between meetings.
• Personal testimonies so a greater breadth and depth of beliefs and opinions are heard • Deeper exploration into our different contexts and how context shapes theology, leadership and ministry
• Engagement with local parishes and communities
We have committed to gather again next year in London, Ontario, Canada to continue the dialogue.
Photograph: Anglican Church of Canada