(Photo: Elder Fu Xianwei presented gifts to Abp Kolini and Abp Chew)
The reflecting and meditating has largely been done; day 4 of the 4th Anglican Global South-to-South Encounter was a time for action.
The day opened with the African delegates leading the Holy Communion Service, with Archbishop Ian Ernest in his homily urging the Global South participants to take up the challenge of the calling while being sensitive to God’s way. Bishop Rennis Ponniah followed with a bible study on Isaiah 50:4-9, calling for a fresh vision of leadership – a leadership that flows from intimate communion, that expresses costly obedience, and which reflects holy confidence. He encouraged us that such leaders, though facing great shame, can overcome because of our God who vindicates us.
Before the start of the final plenary session, Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of the TSPM of China Christian Church, gave his farewell greetings to the Global South delegates. He noted a commonality of experience between the China Christian Church and the Anglican Global South. Elder Fu expressed his hope for future chances to work together with the Global South and invited all present to visit the Church in China. Before he left, Elder Fu presented two gifts – one to the Global South and one to the Diocese of Singapore (see photo).
Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, outgoing Vice-Chairman of the Global South Primates Steering Committee (GSPSC) then unveiled the new GSPSC to the participants. The new committee consists of Archbishop John Chew (South East Asia) as Chairman, Archbishop Henry Orombi (Uganda) as Vice-Chairman, Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem & Middle East) as the General Secretary, and Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria) as the Treasurer. Other members include Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo (Myanmar) and Bishop Albert Chama (Central Africa). The Encounter Chaplain, retired Archbishop Yong Ping Chung, prayed for the new committee.
Invited by Abp Kolini to make a few remarks, Abp Chew thanked the delegates and spoke of how the team coveted their prayers. He also expressed his hope that the “Lord would bless us as we close ranks and move on together.”
For the plenary proper, Bp Chama and Mr Keith Chua presented a joint paper on Challenges and Networking for Capacity Building, dealing with issues regarding economic empowerment. Mr Chua started by reminding delegates of the dreams and goals of previous meetings and expressed his hopes that dreams had begun turning into reality. He outlined three spiritual principles that accompany economic empowerment: the need to fully tithe(Lev 27:30), to keep the Greatest Commandment (Matt 22:37-38) always in mind, and generosity from whoever has plenty (2 Cor 8:14).
Drawing on the lessons learnt from Kenya and Zambia, Bp Chama noted the need of a spirit of bearing one another’s burden and the laity’s important role in enabling economic empowerment. He also shared the importance of and practical advice on networking and capacity-building, which he described as the “two key concepts for economic empowerment.”
Concluding the presentation, drawing from Lord Brian Griffith’s words, Mr Chua spoke of the potential of the Global South churches to combat world poverty, being in closer touch with the poor than any other institution, with a stable administrative infrastructure and a highly respectable leadership. The challenge now is to find opportunities to fulfill this potential.
Following small-group discussions of the above plenary sessions and lunch, a draft reading of the communiqué was presented to the delegates.
The long day ended off on a lighter note; after evensong, the delegates were treated to social and cultural evening featuring some performances representing the cultural variety and context in which the Gospel has flourished in Singapore.