The Anglican Encounter in the South
A Pastoral Letter
Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus
The love, mercy and peace of God the Father, the grace of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord and the ceaseless energy and comfort of the Holy Spirit be yours in abundance. Amen.
Seventy-two of us male and female, young and old, Bishops, clergy and laity, representing 23 Provinces from 22 nations of the South, meeting here at Limuru in Kenya, the venue of the first meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 1971, for the Anglican Encounter in the South, send you warm greetings.
We give all glory and praise to our God and Father for this wonderful opportunity that has brought us together as the Southern wing of the Anglican Communion.
Our immeasurable gratitude goes to the Archbishop of Kenya. The Most Revd Manassess Kuria, and the whole Church of the Province of Kenya for their welcome. We congratulate them also on their 150th Anniversary of the introduction of the Gospel to Kenya which coincided with our meeting.
At this Encounter, we feel exceedingly grateful to all who gave so sacrificially out of their substance and those who were engaged in earnest prayers to see that this event did take place.
It gives us great joy to report that their gifts and prayers have not been in vain. On the contrary, the outcome of the Encounter has exceeded our wildest imaginations and dreams. We have come up with some aspirations and concerns which are embodied in the ‘Trumpet from the South’ which we commend to your prayerful consideration.
Our varied experiences from different cultures and contextual settings have brought home to us the need to proclaim, with a loud voice, the ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation: reconciliation between husband and wife, parents and children within the whole family of the Church – at parish, diocesan and Provincial levels and throughout the whole Communion.
It is significant that we are meeting in this way, in ‘The International Year of the Family.’ It is also true that we have agonized over the sad and painful impacts of the colonial period and in some cases still suffering under the harsh and callous realities of economic imperialism. Yet, there could not have been a better time for God to call to our mind again this central message of the Christian Gospel: ‘that God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself not imputing their trespasses on them; and has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.’ It is not easy to learn or accept this message of forgiveness especially when we are still hurting and those who cause us pain seem indifferent to our feelings. Nevertheless, God calls us to be the sign and instrument of his kingdom in his world.
It is also our calling, individually and collectively to be the ‘Servant Church’ as well as ‘the Body of Christ.’ We are to be true to our ‘Head’ who ‘came not to be served but to serve, and to give himself a ransom for many.’
We have learnt as a community of faith, that it is our duty to demonstrate the virtues of love and compassion towards those who humiliate or marginalize us, and to work for peace and reconciliation between peoples and nations as we anticipate his kingdom. With equal courage we should seek the empowerment and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to stand up prophetically against any forces and institutions that dehumanize people or deny them their economic or political freedom and justice.
This could be a costly mission. But we know it cost Jesus everything to procure our redemption. This cross of Christ, we must remember, preceded his resurrection. And as the risen Lord he has promised to be with us no matter where we are or what we go through. His mandate was, ‘as the Father has sent me so send I you.’
On another note, we implore the whole Communion to pray for our youth as they prepare to have a South Anglican Youth Encounter in East Asia, sometime next year.
May Christ our Redeemer, renew the Communion and the whole Church, in love and in the power of the Holy Spirit, that she may be true to her life and witness and thus hasten the coming of the kingdom of God in reality.
God bless you all.
The Most Revd Joseph A Adetiloye
The Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria
Chairman of the Encounter
5 February 1994