A statement from the Bishops of Kumasi (in Ghana), Virginia and Liverpool
Nairobi, Kenya; June 2017
As Diocesan bishops meeting in conference, we thank God for the friendship and mutual support we enjoy in Christ as colleagues within the Anglican Communion. We warmly welcome and commend the “Triangle of Hope” initiative in our three Dioceses.
Each one of our Dioceses was directly involved in the dreadful Slave Triangle. We remember and acknowledge with sorrow that human beings were captured and enslaved for financial gain with no regard for their dignity and humanity. We view this history with great pain and in penitence before God, the God who wills in Christ to bring freedom and justice for all.
We stand together, determined that the horror of slavery, and its memories of inhumanity, oppression and anguish, must not and will not be forgotten. We commit ourselves to learn from these memories and to ensure that the lessons are shared and embedded in our lives and in our Dioceses. We also stand together in opposing all forms of slavery today, and we are wholeheartedly committed to doing all we can to help those caught in its chains, and to advocate for justice and freedom and for an end to all modern slavery and human trafficking.
We are grateful to our colleagues in each Diocese whose hard work has laid the foundation for this new partnership of freedom and justice. We pray for those who will meet in Virginia in October to carry the work forward. We are particularly excited by the opportunities for developing our relationship through the engagement of young people as well as adults. For example, we would rejoice at the involvement of our Mothers’ Union/Episcopal Church Women members, and of our many young people’s groups and their leaders whose commitment to this work gives us hope for an ever-richer community of learning, justice and love across the world Church.
Specifically, we welcome and support the current emphases and initiatives of the Triangle of Hope as our colleagues have shaped them. These include:
- A commitment to sustained teaching and preaching in the Dioceses on the freedom and dignity of all human beings in Christ. (Our meditation and teaching will begin with a deep consideration of the story of Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, as found in the book Genesis, and, in particular, the narrative of forgiveness found in Genesis 50:15-21.)
- An explicit ownership and commitment by our Synods and Councils to the aims and tasks of the Triangle of Hope.
- Supporting and developing a number of specific projects, including the following:
- Expanding the existing Youth Pilgrimage, which currently involves Virginia and Liverpool, into a tri-partite Pilgrimage involving all our three Dioceses.
- Building an online presence so that the work, teaching and fruit of the Triangle of Hope may be readily available to all.
- Establishing a relationship of ongoing prayer, undergirded by shared resources and common liturgical and devotional texts.
- Exploring a number of exchange programs, for example, between parishes or theological education institutions.
As bishops united in faith within the worldwide Communion, we are delighted and proud to support and encourage all this. For us, it is an expression of the Christian hope for a future where all are saved and all are free — free from slavery and from all oppression. We commend this work to the grace of God and we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, confident that, by God’s grace, the work will prosper.
+Daniel Yinka Sarfo
Bishop of Kumasi and Archbishop Primate (The Church of the Province of West Africa)
+Shannon S. Johnston
Bishop of Virginia (The Episcopal Church)
Bishop of Liverpool (The Church of England)
The Triangle of Hope is a covenantal community dedicated to transforming the long history, ongoing effects, and continuing presence of slavery in our world through repentance, reconciliation, and mission.