(ACNS - David Hamid) The establishment of a Pan African Anglican-Lutheran commission to work toward a relationship of full communion as a stage along the way to full visible unity was discussed in a consultation held in Johannesburg, South Africa in December. The consultation brought together 10 Lutherans and 10 Anglicans, including bishops, pastors and lay people, from different parts of Africa.
An interim commission was established to be led by the current co-chairs of the Anglican-Lutheran dialogue in Africa, Bishop Ambrose Moyo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and Canon Sebastian Bakare of the University of Zimbabwe. Ecumenical officers Sven Oppegaard (LWF) and Canon David Hamid (ACC) will serve as co-secretaries. The interim committee will carry forward the preparatory work for the setting up of the Commission.
Specific to the Anglican-Lutheran dialogue in Africa is its emphasis on the pastoral and diaconal dimensions to the Church's life, which participants affirmed as being central to the life of a visibly united church in the African context, says David Hamid. The consultation reviewed the "Hanover Report" on the Diaconate as Ecumenical Opportunity, produced by the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission and welcomed the challenge to lift up the various and rich diaconal ministries which exist in Anglican and Lutheran churches in this continent. Regarding issues related to the understanding of the Church, sacraments and ministry, Canon Hamid says that the pan African dialogue will be able to harvest the fruit of the international Anglican-Lutheran dialogue as well as benefit from the considerable progress made Anglican-Lutheran relations in other regions of the world, such as Northern Europe, the United States and Canada. During the consultation, attended by Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Ishmael Noko and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) Secretary General, Canon John L. Peterson, reference was made to previous stages of the Anglican-Lutheran dialogue in Africa, particularly the consultation in Harare, 1992, and Johannesburg, 1993.