[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Some of the newest bishops in the Anglican family from around the world are spending the day in London as part of the Anglican Communion’s New Bishops’ course. Some 28 bishops from 17 countries across all five continents are spending the morning at the Anglican Communion Office before heading to Lambeth Palace for a meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The New Bishops course is an annual even held early in each year in Canterbury Cathedral and brings together a number of the Communion’s bishops for an opportunity to learn from each other, to learn from Anglican Communion staff and to build networks and friendships across cultural and geographical divides. The new bishops taking part in the course this year are from the Provinces of Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Central Africa, England, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Melanesia, North India, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania, and West Africa.
One of the Communion’s most remote dioceses is Banks and Torres in Vanuatu, part of the Province of Melanesia. Its bishop, the Rt Revd Patteson Alfred Worek, is one of those taking part in this year’s course, and said that despite the remoteness of his diocese, he felt connected to the worldwide family of Anglican churches.
“We are part of a major body and family; and we feel blessed to be part of that,” he said. “We recognise the differences we have in the Communion but in spite of that we feel very much a part of it.
“I’m here to share my story and to hear from other stories from around the Anglican Communion,” he added. “As new bishops we will be the leaders in the next decades so it is important that we hear from each other.”
The Rt Revd Julius Gicheru is bishop of one of the Communion’s youngest dioceses. Muranga South was carved out of Mount Kenya Central, part of the Anglican Church of Kenya, on 1 January 2014.
He described the New Bishops’ course as “great”, saying that it was an opportunity to hear “what other bishops do [in their dioceses] and what they can do for and to each other.”
Welcoming them to Saint Andrew’s House, the Anglican Communion Office in London, Canon Phil Groves, director for Continuing Indaba, told them that the building was “your home in London.”
The staff at the Anglican Communion Office were “not just concerned about administration,” he said, but were “passionate for mission, for evangelism, for tackling poverty and the struggle for clean water.”
“This is your office. We work for you and we want to know what you are doing because you are on the ground.”