Recently ordained Anglicans and seminarians from fourteen countries have visited the Anglican Communion Office in London to learn about its work through a series of presentations by staff members. The guests came from Australia, Brazil, India, Ghana, Hong Kong, Kenya, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, USA and Zimbabwe.
Afterwards they travelled across London to Lambeth Palace for an address by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Pointing out that two of the three recent terrorist attacks in Britain had happened within one mile of Lambeth Palace, Archbishop Justin said the challenge for the Anglican Communion was “above all to demonstrate to the world the ability to disagree without hating each other...we are held together by the love of Jesus Christ.”
The day in London formed part of the Seminarians & New Clergy course, run by Canterbury Cathedral, which focuses on the rich traditions of cultures and contexts of mission and ministry in the Anglican Communion. The participants learned of the work that takes place at the Anglican Communion Office in the areas of : Unity, Faith and Order, Mission, Women in Church and Society and the Anglican Alliance.
For Beula Earla, it was her first visit outside India: “The ACO is clearly concerned with ministry around the world. I was very impressed and will make sure my Bishop has contact with the ACO. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts for the global Anglican Communion...our local mission work in South India, with tribal people, will be greatly helped by stronger links with the Anglican Communion Office.”
Revd Jordan Dos Santos of Brazil : “To be here is very important as I can take the information back to Brazil. The visit to the ACO is special to me because of the history and today is important as it gives a sense of unity in diversity.”
Revd Hlengiwe Mncwango of Zululand said she found the presentations very meaningful: “I’m from the deepest rural area and I am confident the Anglican Communion takes care of everyone – whether they’re from the city or the remotest place. I have a sense of being united with the Anglican Communion and this encourages me in terms of what it means to be the body of Christ.”
Seipati Mohutsiwa, in her final year at the College of the Transfiguration in South Africa, said the day had been a surprise: “It has been a learning experience for me. It’s a small office with a big scope. I enjoyed hearing about the sense of mission – I sense now that I am a part of this office.”
Revd Richard Hogue of New Jersey: "This has been a good learning curve and I will know who to reach out to in the future."
Revd Bancy Maina of Kenya said she found the meeting at the ACO a great source of support: "We have girls dropping out of school because of early pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. I am happy with the information I have received. The Anglican Communion will support me in my work with young women in my diocese.”
Revd Walter Lau of Hong Kong: “I feel the passion of the people here at the ACO. It feels like I am a member of a family and I hope we can have a deeper relationship and keep in closer contact in the future.”
Taking in the sights - Buckingham Palace:
Arriving at Lambeth Palace.