It is often difficult for one to imagine a world outside one’s own experiences. One tends to depend on pre-conceived ideas to inform the imagination. What then do we imagine the Anglican Communion to be? Seminarians and those in their early years of ordained ministry came together in Canterbury from across the Anglican Communion to partake in a conference where various experiences were shared.
In the early days of our two weeks together, we realised that perhaps the Church is far reaching than we could have thought. This could be easily picked up as we introduced ourselves and the countries from which we come from. Although the physical distance that divides us is great, we shared so much that brought us together. Daily, we became mindful of God, the Church and one another as we prayed together and for each other at the daily offices, shared the Holy Communion, and learnt to worship in each other’s languages. We shared the excitement of exploring Christian history, the Canterbury cathedral and taking a short trip to London to meet Archbishop Justin and Anglican Communion Office Team.
Things got interesting as the facilitators of the conference kept us engaged in dialogue with one another. Some stories were hard to hear as some of us discovered the pain that many ministers bear just to be Christian witnesses in the Anglican Communion. Issues like reconciliation and forgiveness, cultural norms such as the caste system, poverty, the place of women and children in society and the church, Christian persecution and political dissuasion.
Perhaps sharing our experiences was one of the key purposes of this conference. We learnt to listen to one another, therefore we acquired ideas that gave us a bigger picture of what we had imagined the Anglican Church to be. In Mark’s gospel, we are reminded to love one another, as we do self. This conference gave us the opportunity to recognise each other and where we are, and love each other as together we are a part of the Anglican Communion.
Seipati Mohutsiwa is currently a Seminarian doing my final year of study at the College of Transfiguration in South Africa.