By ACNS staff
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift…”
That is how Helen Biggin, the Anglican Consultative Council member from Wales, conveyed the impact of her “mission encounter” experience. On Sunday November 4 the members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) spread out across New Zealand for an opportunity to worship with local congregations.
Some of the ACC members preached, others celebrated, but all participated in discussions after the service with the parishioners about the mission challenges that each faces in their own context.
This morning (Monday 5 November) the ACC members joined with people from some of these parishes at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral to share what they learned from their mission encounters. There had also been an exchange of gifts during the visits, and these were used as a way in to the discussion.
The Primate of The Episcopal Church of Sudan Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak visited Taranaki Cathedral. He said he had been moved to discover that the struggles for peace in his homeland resembled those that had been encountered by the Maori people.
He spoke of the generosity and hospitality of that Cathedral community as they presented him with a book detailing their efforts at peace; a string of paper hearts made by the children; and an episcopal ring with a local pounamu stone used by the Maori to denote spiritual significance and for making peace.
Some of the other African members were surprised by the small size of the congregations they visited and in conversation felt that the training that the African clergy get is more focused on mission that for ministry with those who are already in the pews.
Bishop Bill Godfrey the ACC member from the Southern Cone and Bishop of Peru visited the Cathedral in Nelson and the discussion there was on youth and whether they see adults living a different way of life because they are followers of Jesus.
One of the parishioners from Auckland also experienced a new appreciation of the vastness of Anglican Communion through their mission encounter yet she said, “When the preacher referred to last week’s readings and I knew we had used the same ones I realized how much we actually share.”
The experiences of the ACC members were marked by a wide variety of diversity but all agreed on the gracious hospitality of the people of New Zealand and the difference that face-to-face encounters make. They also expressed a commitment to continue the communication between ACC members and the parishes they had encountered.
Notes to Editors
1. The 15th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) is meeting in Auckland, New Zealand between 27 October and 7 November. This is an advisory body comprising lay and ordained delegates from all Provinces that consider the present and future life and work of the Anglican Communion.
2. The Anglican Communion Office serves the Anglican Communion, comprising around 85 million members in 38 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 165 countries. http://www.anglicancommunion.org/
3. For all the latest news, features, podcasts, videos, tweets and Facebook posts from the conference please visit http://www.aco.org/communion/acc/