The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will this afternoon (Thursday) welcome nearly 30 new Anglican bishops from around the world to his official London residence Lambeth Palace. This morning, the bishops are at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) in west London. They are taking part in an annual 10-day course run by Canterbury Cathedral – the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion – to teach them about the role of a bishop and the Anglican Communion. This year’s cohort comes from Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Melanesia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the US, and Zimbabwe.
The annual event, affectionately nicknamed “the baby bishops course” by those who have taken part in previous years, includes a programme of talks, presentations and workshops and a chance to build networks and relationships with other new bishops across cultural and geographical divides.
Their time at the ACO including a briefing on the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, which will take place in Canterbury in August 2020, and discussions on different areas of work undertaken by staff at the ACO, including Unity, Faith and Order; Women in Church and Society; Mission; Advocacy with the UN; and the Anglican Alliance.
One of those on this year’s course is the Bishop of Toliara in Madagascar, part of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Bishop Samitiana Jhonson Razafindralambo. He told the Anglican Communion News Service that the course had enabled him to make new friends and meet new faces, saying: “It is very good for us to meet at the beginning of our ministries to share our challenges”.
He said that the course had enabled him to understand the wider context of ministry not just in the Anglican Communion but the wider Church, too. “Yesterday, it was really clear in my mind that we are serving within the Church of God, not just the Anglican Church”, he said. “We are bishops in the Church of God. For me that is clear. It is inspiring.”