Wednesday 13 April 2016

What does 'gleaning' mean today? - Blogging from ACC-16

At our Tuesday Bible study, on Ruth chapter 2, we spent time looking at “gleaning” and the modern-day equivalents of collecting and using the leftover grain after the harvest. We discussed church feeding schemes, government social grants, cooperative social responsibility and city planning that is sensitive to parks and open spaces. Without discounting any of these, we considered how such schemes can be corrupted.
ACSA at ACC-16: Louisa Mojela, Abp Thabo, Abp Welby, Jerome Francis

In following the return of Ruth and Naomi to Naomi's homeland, we also discussed and shared the experiences of “returnees” from exile, or from failed ventures, and how it is often difficult emotionally, spiritually and psychologically to return and start life all over again.

In other sessions we received messages from the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and also met in small groups around our tables.

What I took away from the Pontifical Council's message is that living in communion is about care and concern for the well being of each other: that there is no such thing as the Anglican Communion for Anglicans; we all belong to Christ by virtue of our baptism and our decisions or lack thereof have broader consequences for all.

The ACC's financial report reminded me that mission and belonging is costly, that the staff reports I applauded must be funded and that the Communion and provinces, as well as dioceses and parishes, need to prioritise. The Compass Rose Society, the international group of Anglicans who help the Communion, needs to be complimented for its financial support of the Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury's ministry and, as some of you know, our E-Reader project and the Diocese of the Highveld. Those from our Province who can join the Compass Rose Society, please do so and help our beloved Communion. We have our own financial challenges but I invite you also to contribute to something bigger than ourselves.

The small groups gathered for further discussion of the theme of ACC-16, “intentional discipleship”. Based on the staff reports, the groups are generating resolutions for possible adoption next week.

After the last Lambeth Conference's group photo, which involves hundreds of participants, the photos we took here – of the whole ACC-16 group, and of each Province's reps with Archbishop Justin – were no longer daunting, and went smoothly.

After a glitch – as a result of me getting times wrong after a siesta! – the ACSA team had time with South Africa's High Commissioner in Zambia, Ms Sikose Mji, and she will take me on Friday to the graves of South African exiles, for which I am grateful.

Last night we were hosted by parishes in the Diocese of Lusaka, joined by churchwardens of the parishes around the diocese. We were treated to local food, such as mopani worm, cassava, morogo, pap, fish heads and many other delicacies. It was a relaxed evening, with a choir entertaining us and a few mozzies feasting on my legs.

As I end this reflection, the fate of the miners trapped at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga is piercing my heart. I pray that by God's grace they, just like the miners trapped in Chile some years ago, might still be alive. I am not only lamenting them, but writing to those on my staff who handle public policy, the media and my socio-economic vocation, to assist me in taking this up at the highest possible level. Finally, I focus on the murder on the Wild Coast of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe, the activist who was trying to stop the mining of titanium on the coastal dunes at Xolobeni. May God's abundant mercy and care continue to protect us even as we care for his earth and each other.


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