The fruit of several days of reflection, prayer, sharing and seeking the Lord was seen on the final day of the 4th Anglican Global South-to-South Encounter, as the will of God in leading His church in the Global South continues to be worked out.
Archbishop John Chew invited the Western Associates of the Global South to share their reflections from the Encounter. His Grace, Bishop Anba Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church, expressed how the week had been a great learning experience for him to understand the struggle and pain of the orthodox Anglicans of the Global South. He shared with the delegates how they were martyrs even without the shedding of blood because of how they stand firm for the truth of the Gospel. He urged the Global South Anglicans to make a strong stand, declaring that “there is no room here for political correctness and niceties”, calling for a strong message to the Anglican community for repentance and to holiness.
From New Zealand, Revd Dr Tim Harris shared how the Global South has to be of the same mind, the mind of Christ. Dr Harris noted how the problem we have in the Anglican church is theological, and called for theological education grounded in the Word of God, guided by the Holy Spirit, as our positive vision and heritage for the future. Bishop Richard Ellena followed up by expressing his deep concern at the great problem facing the church – a spirit of consumerism and individualism, with a lack of an understanding of sacrifice or a servant heart.
Sharing next were the Australian Western Associates, represented by Archbishop Jeffrey Driver and Archbishop Peter Jensen. Abp Driver encouraged delegates to treasure, nurture and grow the informal links made over food, transport, and in other informal settings, reminding us that Our God is the God of relationship. He encouraged delegates, “lions” and “sheep” together to be led by the Lamb – the Lamb of God.
Abp Jensen praised the conference for being “consistently and remorselessly Scriptural”. Noting how “the heart of secularism is censorship”, he urged delegates to resist the urge to censorship and to continue proclaiming Christ boldly. Finally, he stressed the need for Anglicans to find out what Anglicanism means to them in a local context, noting that the Global South is leading the way in working this out.
The ACNA and Communion Partners from the United States, stood in solidarity on stage as they rounded off the reflections. Archbishop Robert Duncan noted that they represent “two groups, but the same mind in Christ." "We understand our gospel and we understand our mission to reach our land for the Gospel.” He exhorted the Global South not to build an association based on geography or history but an association based on a faith once delivered. Bishop John Howe told the Global South delegates that the Communion Partners of the TEC were committed to remaining faithful and orthodox within the Episcopal Church while remaining in communion with the rest of the Anglican Communion, expressing his sincere desire to remain partners with the Global South for the sake of Christ.
Following the reflections, the final reading of the Communiqué was held. With that, the Fourth Trumpet sounded.
The Encounter ended with Holy Communion and a closing service, where Abp John Chew shared on how the hand of the Lord was over the Fourth Global South Encounter. He revealed some insights on the difficulties in organizing this Fourth Encounter. He challenged all on the need for 'gracious consistency and integrity' in all we do. We need a 'big and long' picture. We need to stay focus, given our different contexts and limited resources and differences. And most of all, we need to be credible. He drew attention to the complilation of past statements. "Will we do what we say? Will we deliver?" He encouraged all delegates to close ranks and stand together. From Hebrews 10:7, he challenged us to again follow the example of Christ and say to God, “I have come to do your will.”
The delegates had some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Singapore. Delegates were taken to see the Singapore City Gallery, a city exhibition reflecting the efforts and vision of planning urban Singapore.
With plans put forward, relationships forged, and spirits encouraged, the 4th Anglican Global South-to-South Encounter drew to a close.
In everything that was said and done - To God be the Glory!