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Looking forward 2020+

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Looking Forward 2020+

by The Most Reverend Kay Goldsworthy AO | Archbishop

This year as we welcome a new decade, the Archbishop of Canterbury will host the 15th meeting of Bishops from around the world at the Lambeth Conference.

The first Lambeth Conference was held in 1867 with 76 Bishops in attendance. The 2020 conference will see more than 1000 bishops as well as many bishop’s spouses gathering in Canterbury to pray, study, listen, confer, discuss, learn, and share together in Eucharist in the sure and certain hope that God’s love will be present, that God’s grace will be experienced and that the hospitable love of God will be received. Bishops from the 40 Provinces of the Anglican Communion, the five ‘extra Provincial’ areas and representatives of Churches which are in Communion with the churches of the Anglican Communion will take part under the banner and theme of Lambeth 2020 God’s Church for God’s World.

One of the Churches which will be represented will be the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. The Mar Thoma traces its history as an oriental orthodox church understood to be one of the oldest churches in Asia, claiming St Thomas as its founder in 52AD. In 2019, a Mar Thoma Church was consecrated in Perth, and I have been invited to attend the Mar Thoma church’s 125th Maramon Convention being held later this month in Kerala, India. This honour has been extended to a previous Archbishop of Perth, however, when that Archbishop is a woman, it’s particularly gracious of the Mar Thoma Christians to recognise me in that office.

Among the other engagements, this will mean that I will be speaking to the women at the gathering, presenting bible studies on John’s gospel. Hearing a woman Archbishop teaching the Bible may be a new experience for many. It will also be a new experience for me. Not perhaps the slower style of speaking with a translator to assist those who are listening.

This happens regularly when an English speaker is preaching in a Sudanese church community, or in a Chinese speaking congregation, and translation is needed, and is therefore part of the experience for many Perth Anglicans. This kind of experience means taking time to speak carefully and slowly and being alert to the nuances of certain words. No doubt in Kerala, just like in Malaga and Murdoch there will be moments of confusion and humour.

From my own perspective, this is one way in which Perth is able to send its Bishop as an ambassador for Christ, and also an ambassador for our Diocese with our values of being as inclusive as Jesus. Taking you along will be part of this journey, as I tell stories of faithfulness and mission in action in this beloved diocese. It will be a time of sharing how varied the ministry we have across the Diocese and how often I see people growing in confidence in the ways in which they serve in the love of Jesus’ gospel. This has been evident as people have responded in the National fire disaster in the midst of so much loss and mourning. Being with Christians from another culture and language will be an opportunity to speak and experience new ways of praying, new ways in which Christian service and care is lived out, new ways of being in Christ, in a community and a culture vastly different from that of Perth.

Please pray with me, for our Diocese to grow in all our ecumenical partnerships both around Perth and beyond, for our Mar Thoma brothers and sisters, for the scriptures and sacraments to strengthen all for the journey we make in Christ. I will also pray for home, for our parishes, for our people, ordained and lay, for our schools beginning a new academic year, for agencies adjusting to the changing demands being made on them as they seek to serve the people of our communities.

The bishops and senior leadership staff met over two days of strategic planning a couple of weeks ago. One outcome of our deliberations is the clear desire to be alongside the clergy and lay people of our parishes in their growing and flourishing. This is a top priority for the bishops this year. One of the key learnings for me has come from reflecting of the difference between our understanding of a what it means to be parish and what it means to be a worshipping community. In all our plans the Mission 2020+ will be a useful tool as we seek how best we can show forth Jesus’ transforming love, confidently, compassionately and courageously.

Peace and grace

Published in the February 2020 Messenger. Photo credit ©WWM

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