Photo Credit: All photos: Victoria Escobar Reszczynski / Anglican Church of Chile
A delegation from the Anglican Consultative Council has concluded its fact-finding visit to the Diocese of Chile, with its Chair, Archbishop Paul Kwong of Hong Kong, expressing his hope that it will become the 40th Province of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church in Chile is currently a Diocese in the Province of the Church of South America; but has been moving towards becoming one of the Communion’s independent-but-interdependent autonomous Provinces. The delegation will report its findings to the ACC’s Standing Committee next month. If they give the go-ahead, and if that decision is ratified by a majority of the Communion’s Primates, the Province of Chile could be operational by the end of the year.
The delegation were in Chile from 7 to 13 August to investigate the current state of the Anglican Church in the country and to determine whether it is ready and meets the criteria to become an Anglican Province. They took part in an intense programme of meetings and visits to churches and institutions linked to the diocese; including its theological seminary and the Permanent Commission – a group made up of bishops, clergy and laity.
“What we have seen during these days, is that the Anglican Church in Chile is a church that is centred on Jesus and his mission, and develops a ministry that is completely centred on people and how to equip them in the Gospel,” Archbishop Paul Kwong, who led the delegation, said. We were here to learn, understand and experience through our eyes what the church is doing here, and it is something that I would love to apply to my own context.
“I think that if all goes well, Chile will be the 40th Province of the Communion and will enrich the church, the life of the Anglican Communion, and I really want to see it.”
The Bishop of Chile, Hector Zavala, will become the Primate of the new Province if it is given the go ahead. He said that the delegation was able to reflect and ask questions on aspects “such as the administrative system, the canons, status and financial projection, theological education, among others, and obtain a complete picture of what the future Anglican Province of Chile would be like.”
He said that an invitation had already been extended to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to consecrate the new Province if the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee and Primates provide a positive response.
In addition to Archbishop Paul, the international delegation comprised the ACC Vice Chair, Maggie Swinson; the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury; Bishop Jane Alexander from the Anglican Church of Canada; Jeroham Melendez from the Anglican Church of the Central America Region; the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon; and the Chief Operating Officer for the Anglican Communion Office, David White.