Photo Credit: Church of Ireland
Provincial Secretaries from around the Anglican Communion met in Dublin from 27 August to 3 September at the generous invitation of the Church of Ireland. This was the eighth in a series of informal meetings started in the 1980s.
Representatives from 27 Provinces (see below) and from the Church of Ceylon attended and several others sent apologies because of prior commitments, illness or visa difficulties. Nearly half of those present had taken up their present roles since that last meeting in 2011.
The conference programme was designed to:
- Increase Provincial Secretaries’ understanding of the life of the Communion
- Contribute to their professional development
- Facilitate sharing of experience and information on issues of common concern
- Give an insight into the work and witness of the Church of Ireland
The main theme for the conference was Reconciliation. As well as being a key strand in the work of the Church of Ireland for many years, this is one of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal priorities for his ministry. The Archbishop, the Most Reverend & Right Honourable Justin Welby, addressed the conference, took questions and led a Bible study. He reflected on the present state of the Communion following his visits to all provinces in 2013 and 2014.
Other speakers at the conference included the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin (the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke and the Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson) , the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (the Most Reverend Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon), the Bishop of Derry & Raphoe (the Right Reverend Kenneth Good), the Dean of St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast (the Very Reverend John Mann), the Director for the Anglican Alliance-Development, Relief and Advocacy (the Reverend Rachel Carnegie) and Mrs Gillian Kingston, who has been Lay Leader of the Methodist Church in Ireland. Other members of the Anglican Communion Office also contributed significantly to the programme.
Exchanges on the distinctive mission challenges faced by each of the Provinces were lively, open and conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Current initiatives to address issues of common concern including inter-religious conflict, persecution of minorities, climate change, gender injustice, poverty and people trafficking were discussed. Possible issues for consideration at next May’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council were identified.
Provincial Secretaries were strengthened in the bonds of friendship through worship, Bible study and the opportunity to participate in local church services on the Sunday. They committed themselves to continue to uphold each other in prayer.
Provinces represented: Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia; Australia; Bangladesh; Brazil; Canada; Central Africa; Central America; England; Hong Kong; Indian Ocean; Ireland; Japan; Jerusalem and Middle East; Kenya; Korea; Mexico; Myanmar; North India; Pakistan; Scotland; South America; Sudan; Tanzania; TEC; Wales; West Africa; West Indies.