Sunday, 14 March 2010

Canadian-African Dialogue

The Anglican Church of Canada has issued a Communiqué from the Dialogue of African and Canadian Bishops.

For a little over a year, five Canadian and six African dioceses have engaged in diocese-to-diocese theological dialogue on matters relating to human sexuality and to mission. With one exception, each diocese has established a theological working group to prepare papers and responses which were shared with their partner diocese on the opposite continent (see below for list of participants). Ontario and Botswana exchanged documents related to sustainability in the context of mission. These dialogues have emerged from, and are a deepening of, relationships established during the Indaba and Bible Study processes at the Lambeth Conference of 2008…

From February 24 to 26, the bishops of these dioceses met at the Anglican Communion Office, St. Andrew’s House in London, England. In a context grounded by common prayer and eucharistic celebration we reflected together on our local experiences of mission and the challenges facing the Church in our diverse contexts. Though the initial exchange of papers had been related in most cases to matters of human sexuality and homosexuality in particular, our face to face theological conversation necessarily deepened to explore the relationships between the Gospel and the many particular cultural realities in which the Church is called to mission…

There is a further report from ENS by Matthew Davies, see African, Canadian bishops engage in theological dialogue.

…The Rev. Canon Phil Groves, facilitator of the Anglican Communion Listening Process, told ENS he was “delighted” by the dialogue. “This initiative of the Anglican Church of Canada is a direct response to the call of ACC 13 for participation in mutual listening,” he said, referring to Resolution 12 passed by the 13th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policy-making body.

Speaking about the meeting of African and Canadian bishops, Groves said: “It was a privilege for me to be invited to participate in their final day and to hear of their common commitment to mission in the way of Christ. Such dialogues build up trust and are a source of hope for the future of the communion.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 8:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada
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"In spite of differences, we strongly affirm our commitment to each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ and as members in the Anglican Communion. As we continue to learn about each others' mission contexts, cultures, values and languages, each of us grows in deeper mutual understanding of theological and ethical positions - both our own and those of our partners."
- Canadian African Dialogue -

Interesting that there were no Bishops from Uganda or Nigeria among the signatories. This is not too surprising. However, the fact that there are African Bishops actually wanting to discuss the reality of different values in different mission contexts is at least, encouraging. This was the pledge of all Bishops at Lambeth 1998, but was not followed up by Nigeria and Uganda - among others.

May God richly bless these Canadian/African moves towards meaningful dialogue. If only other Provinces of the Communion were really open to what the Holy Spirit might be telling us in this new and exciting age of mission - about matters of human sexuality and gender roles in our different contexts - then we may not have had the problem of trying to find common ground through the implicit imposition of a Confessional Covenant, which most of us would rather do without.

Indaba may prove to have been a useful tool of communication after all - unless it becomes what the Papuans call just 'Tok-tok'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 10:15am GMT

An interesting group.

But Anglican Mainstream and their vassals will think this all "muddying the waters" - the thought Anglicans may be able to talk without several bishops having to be consecrated just isn't on their list.

The bonds of affection are not gone......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 9:32pm GMT

Father Ron, The Canadian General Synod is using indaba like conversations at its next meeting.If by "tok-tok" you mean "stalling for time", that would appear to be the intent. -chuck Inglis

Posted by: Chuck Inglis on Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 11:18pm GMT

Chuck, the Papuan meaning of 'Tok-tok' is, simply, talk-talk. In other words, if even the exercise of talking stops short of 'doing' something positive about it, then even Tok-tok can be a waste of time.

However, it seems it will take an eternity before Uganda and Nigeria are even willing to tok-tok. They seem to have reversed the normal human situation where we have two ears but only one mouth. They have more to say than they can bear to listen to - on a subject that they don't even want to hear about.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 15 March 2010 at 9:59am GMT
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