A month to remember
By Peter C. Moore
Our Third Anglican Leadership Institute is now history. Sixteen marvelous Anglican leaders have now rejoined their families and resumed their ministries. And what a great group they were. They spanned the full Anglican spectrum:
- from the rector of a comfortable downtown parish in a mid-sized Australian city to the general secretary of the Anglican Church of Burundi where tribal strife looms on the horizon;
- from a rector in Brunei where Sharia Law prevents him from even having a Christmas tree outside the Church to a leader of young adults in a large Brazilian church who rides the waves and surfs in his spare time;
- from a bishop in northern Nigeria where the custom is that unless a man “steals” another man’s wife his own wife might accuse him of “not really being a man” to the assistant rector of a booming Northern Ireland church where evangelism brings reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics;
- from a former “Lost Boy” of South Sudan who runs a diocese that cannot afford him any salary and whose family must live in exile to an Australian who is an administrative assistant to the former president of GAFCON.
And on it goes. 16 marvelous people — all Anglicans from 12 enormously different socio-economic situations living in cultures vastly different from each other. Yet they were united in Jesus Christ and experiencing the joy of becoming a family. Our closing dinner was a time of deep prayer followed by hugs all around. Those Africans love to hug. We spent nearly four weeks learning, laughing and listening to one another’s experiences. Afternoon trips to Goodwill where bags of clothing would be purchased for just a few dollars, to meeting with the Mayor of Charleston, and a Medal of Honor winner — each day involved study, prayer, discussion, and eating — yes, eating Western food that despite hesitation they devoured thanks to our wonderful hostess/cook, Darlene McNeill.
We visited local churches including St. Michael’s where we had a fascinating lecture reflecting on the meaning of BREXIT and the U.S. presidential election and the challenges they bring to Christian discipleship.
Our week-long teachers came from Vancouver, Philadelphia and London and Charleston. Each shared their expertise on post-modernism, Biblical counseling, historical leaders who brought renewal to the church through the ages and the spirituality and family life of a leader. The last was led by our own Jeanne Lyles. Their lectures will soon be on our website. Visits from accomplished C.E.O’s. and input from bishops all rounded out a month that was rich in content but left time for great fun together.
Each morning a local priest became our “chaplain-of-the-day” and led in worship and sharing thoughts from the daily lectionary. They were then interviewed about the distinctives of their ministries. We were privileged to have Al Zadig with us one morning.
Our trustees and local friends put on a Lowcountry boil, an oyster roast, an 18th-century luncheon, an English tea and provided warm coats and sweaters to insulate them against our January breezes.
There was so much more. But I am especially grateful to St. Michael’s for all your encouragement and prayer. Our next A.L.I. will be September 2017 and then again January 2018. September I’m happy to say is nearly full, but January 2018 has a few places left.
Epiphany is a season when we reflect on the global mission of the church. What a great way to spend it — in the company of men and women from all over the globe who love our Lord Jesus Christ and are spreading His word in places we have just heard of. To God be the glory.