Photo Credit: The Church of Province of the Indian Ocean
By the Rt Rev P J Laurence, with additional reporting by ACNS
On the final leg of his visit to Primates in Southern and Central Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, travelled from South Africa to Mauritius.
Bishop of Mauritius is the Most Revd Ian Ernest, Archbishop and Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.
The Province, covering Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles, was founded in 1973. It comprises the dioceses of Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Mauritius, Seychelles, Toamasina and Toliara.
Prayer, reconciliation, witness
On Saturday morning, Archbishop Welby addressed a gathering of the clergy and their spouses at the Bishop’s house. He based his reflections on the theme of ‘fear’ using as his text Psalm 18 composed by King David who gave thanks and praise to God for delivering him from his enemies.
Out of this reflection the Archbishop brought out three important points for our spiritual guidance:
1. On prayer, devotion around the scripture and spending time in the presence of God: The Church exists not as an NGO to serve but to draw closer to Jesus and know Jesus better and follow him closer. The revival of the Church came through monasteries and the monastic life with much devotion to God and the knowledge of Jesus.
2. On the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciling with God and with those in our community, loving one another is very important.We may disagree with one another but must love and live in harmony with one another. We should uphold one another and support one another. Then we don't need to live in fear, but in love and peace.
3. On witness and evangelism. Sharing the Good News of Jesus to the world should be focus of the function of the Church. We should proclaim Jesus as the same yesterday, today and forever.
Therefore, following Jesus closely in prayer and devotion, living our communal life in a spirit of reconciliation and witnessing Jesus in the world should be our focus. Everyone present was blessed with the message of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
During a lunch hosted by Archbishop Ernest and his wife, Mrs Kamla Ernest, the director of the Anglican Training Centre Bishop P J Lawrence presented the Archbishop of Canterbury with a book on the "Asian face of Jesus".
Building an important partnership
After lunch, the Archbishop of Canterbury proceeded to the site of the proposed Haven Residential Care Home for people with mental disabilities. The project is a collaboration between the Anglican Diocese of Mauritius and an NGO Friends in Hope.
While laying a foundation stone the Archbishop of Canterbury said this was the first time he had done so and joked that he hoped the building would stand.
Archbishop Justin told those gathered for the ceremony that he celebrated the way Anglicans and the charity were partnering to serve the community.
The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Social Security also pledged the support of the government of Mauritius for the important project.
After this the Archbishop of Canterbury proceeded to St James Cathedral where His Grace inaugurated the exhibition of the Anglican diocese of Mauritius on the theme ' Faith Journey'.