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Secretary General briefs Bishops of Pakistan during three day retreat in England

Posted on: March 22, 2017 2:04 PM

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has told the Church of Pakistan it has something to offer to the Communion because of its experience of being a minority church in a Muslim Country.  The eight Bishops of Pakistan, during a 3 day retreat in England, were questioning how their Church and the Anglican Communion could co-operate. Archbishop Josiah said their experience “could be passed on: to help other countries like Sudan, the latest province of the Communion as well as northern parts of Nigeria, Egypt and other Arab speaking countries.”

A Pakistani cleric who is now based in Britain, Revd Rana Khan, assisted with the retreat. He described it as a very fruitful time during which the Bishops were able to reflect on their individual and collective ministries: “We talked about our problems at home, with security being one of the main issues, because of attacks on Christians. But we also discussed the importance of theological education in Pakistan, womens’ empowerment, encouraging young people into leadership roles and how the church in Pakistan can be more mission oriented.”

The Bishops of the eight dioceses of Pakistan also met with the Archbishop of Canterbury as well as his predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams.  One of the organisers, Bishop Emeritus Mano Rumalshah, explained how the gathering came about: “It was an invitation extended by the Archbishop of Canterbury on a visit to Pakistan when he was specifically meeting with people who had been persecuted or affected by violence. On leaving, he said he would host a retreat so leaders of the Church in Pakistan could reflect on their situation.”

The Church of Pakistan is a united church, embracing traditions other than Anglican, so as well as the keynote speakers, the participants also had the chance to meet  with representatives of the founding members of the Church of Pakistan, including Methodists and representatives of the Church of Scotland; “We decided to have small sessions with each of the founding members, asking them where we go from here” Bishop Mano said.”We looked at reconciliation amongst ourselves, as we are still struggling as a minority but also reconciliation with the world in which we live, where terrorism flourishes. – and how we can be messengers of reconciliation.”

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Archbishop Josiah described the retreat as an opportunity for him to explain the workings of the Communion to the Bishops: “I introduced them to the Anglican Communion and how we function. I introduced them to the four instruments – which came as a surprise to some of them, explaining the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ACC, the Primates meeting and the Lambeth Conference. I also seized the opportunity to invite them to the next Lambeth Conference in 2020.”

Archbishop Josiah : My job was to educate the visiting Bishops. I spoke about the Lambeth Conference and the importance of resolutions. I explained that Lambeth does not have the power to legislate but it has a moral responsibility to guide the Communion; though resolutions are not binding they tell non Anglicans where the Anglican Communion as a whole stands. We are a Communion of 39 churches and the Communion works on reconciliation. In the prayer of Jesus “that all of them may be one.” That’s the reconciling ministry of the Anglican church – that all believers may be one. The Communion that we are part of is the realisation of this prayer of Jesus Christ.”

Abp Justin _Pakistan Bps _Lam Pal

Pakistani Bishops who participated:

The Most Revd Samuel Azariah- Bishop of Raiwind & Moderator

The Rt Revd John Samuel- Bishop of Faisalabad

The Rt Revd Kaleem John- Bishop of Hyderabad

The Rt Revd Sadiq Daniel- Bishop of Karachi and Deputy Moderator

The Rt Revd Irfan Jamil- Bishop of Lahore

The Rt Revd Leo Roderick Paul- Bishop of Multan

The Rt Revd Humphrey Peters- Bishop of Peshawar

The Rt Revd Alwin John Samuel - Bishop of Sialkot