To be a Covenant for All Peoples - GSE4 Day 2 Report, 20th April

To be a Covenant for All Peoples - GSE4  Day 2 Report, 20th April

1st Row, L-R: (GSPSC members) Bishop Albert Chama, Abp Mouneer Anis, Abp Peter Akinola, President Nathan, Abp John Chew, Abp Stephen Than, Abp Kolini, Abp Greg Venables
2nd Row: Bishop Anba Suriel, Bishop Johannes Seoka, Abp Eliud Wabukala, Abp Daniel Deng, Abp Nicholas Okoh, Bishop Stephen Kaziimba, Abp Valentini Mokiwa
3rd Row: Elder Fu XianWei, Abp Bernard Ntahoturi, Abp Ian Ernest, Abp Dabvid Vunagi, Mr Gu Mengfei, Bp Howard Gregory
Last row: Abp Jeffrey Driver, Bp Sunil Singh, Abp Bob Duncan, Abp Henri Isingoma, Bp John Howe, Bp Richard Ellena

(Photo: Primates and other leaders at the Istana with the President of Singapore during the afternoon courtesy call. Click on photo in the article to view the full image)

Day 2 of the 4th Anglican Global South-to-South Encounter was a time for all present to listen, meditate and share on the richness of the covenantal idea. As Archbishop John Chew reminded us, to allow the covenant effected by Jesus to “challenge and engage us… to reflect it in our lives.”

The day started off with the Holy Communion, led be participants from Asia, with the Archbishop of Melanesia, David Vanugi serving as the celebrant. Then the morning Bible Study followed, led by the Bishop Rennis Ponniah, the Assistant Bishop of Singapore. Sharing from Isaiah 6: 1-13, he exhorted us to be like the contrite prophet who was “undone by the stunning holiness of God, amazed by the sheer grace of God, and captivated by the salvation purpose of God.” It was a call to repentance and humility, that God cannot use us as His servants unless we are totally broken before Him.   

In the Encounter’s second Thematic  Address, Abp John Chew shared on being a “Covenant for All Peoples.” He took us back on a biblical and theological journey examining the covenant relationship between Israel and God. Focused on Jesus, we are able to recover the lost vocation that Israel could not live up to and be a Covenant for all peoples. He challenge all present to build our Covenantal relationships on a deeper biblical and historical basis.

In the subsequent plenary session, Archbishops Mouneer Anis and Emmanuel Kolini shared on some proposals for Global South Structures. Abp Mouneer touched on the “ecclesial deficit” and the need for new structures which will better support the work of Global South. “We are not forming a new Communion, because we are the communion”, he reminded us.  He challenged all involved to truly own the movement, making every effort to keep the unity and be financially committed to it.

Abp Kolini introduced the idea of the Global South Anglicans as a new ‘Sinai,’ with an imperative, like Moses, to hear the Lord speak and be ready for bold action.

The delegates at the Encounter were also able to hear greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, via a recorded video message. In the message, Abp Williams expressed his desire for the Anglican Covenant to trace a path for the future, one of careful listening and discerning, as well as mutual respect and obedience to one another. Abp Williams also shared his thoughts on the covenantal idea, noting how “covenant makes us aware of our new status, and the basis of our mission; the promise of being adopted and the promise of glory.”

In the afternoon, 25 primates and associates went to the Istana to pay a courtesy call to the President of Singapore, S.R. Nathan. Bishop Anba Suriel from the Coptic Orthodox Church and Elder Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman, National Committee of the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) of China Christian Church were also amongst the guests.  The President greeted this multi-national group with enthusiasm. Abp Peter Akinola spoke on behalf of the group and thanked the President for the inspiring example of Singapore as a harmonious society. Many nations around the world can learn from and be inspired by this peaceful, clean and beautiful city. The President responded by asking all present to do their best where they are to help societies find peace and avoid the pains of recent times.

Meanwhile, back at the Encounter, delegates gathered in small groups to share their reflections on the morning’s addresses and presentations.

The day ended with a reflective evensong led by Western Associates. Bishop Mark Lawrence shared a brief homily on Ephesians 1:15-end, encouraging us to look to Christ for wisdom and strength.  

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