The Partnership for World Mission Conference, or PWM as we always called it, is an annual gathering of folks around the Church of England and around the world to network and learn about some of the latest news regarding mission in the Anglican Communion. The Tsedaqah Community, shepherded by Mal and joined by a few others, served as the Conference Choir. Both Jen and I had a solo during a Taize piece during one Evening Prayer liturgy that was well received.
I learned so much while at the PWM conference. Particularly interesting was a presentation by one of the leaders of the World Christianity Center at the University of Cambridge. This organization encourages students to spend time studying abroad in the global south—where Christianity is growing—and to learn from the theology and life of what it means to be Anglican in the Southern Hemisphere. As the global north always seems to face a more secular reality, there is much to be learned from the faith of our often forgotten friends in the global south.
The theme of the Conference was Walking Together—which is a wonderful definition of mission in the 21st Century world. Past missionary activity brought not only Christianity but a colonial power and a colonial culture—supported by the religious establishment to many parts of the world. The colonized lost language, culture, and lives at the hands of Christians—Christians who are our forbearers.
What does, or rather, what could, Reconciliation look like after such sin?
We’re only now beginning a path toward reconciliation, as we are only beginning to be honest about the horrors of the past. The grave deeds need to be named and acknowledged before anything like real reconciliation can occur. Books like The Two Triangles, by Ken Pye and our own Malcolm Rogers begin this conversation by setting before us part of the picture of the Slave Trade that tool place in Liverpool. As the Slavery Museum here declares, “This story has been neglected by too many for far too long.” To begin a response to the past, then, we must first recall it. “We will remember,” as the museum also says, is both a promise and a prayer: a promise to those whose lives haven been extinguished, and a prayer to God at whose bidding and by whose guidance we have hope for the future.
It was so cool to assist in welcoming YASC Officers Elizabeth Boe and Jenny Grant from the Church Center in NYC (known as “815”) and a small but mighty film crew, and Canon Stephanie, the Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Reconciliation all visited us in Liverpool, and toured many parts of the city. We also had the Facebook-famous Father Kessie, our Triangle of Hope link in Ghana visiting us. As a Triangle, we visited the Slavery Museum, and toured the city—which was funded in large part by slavery. It was a humbling and holy experience to make a start at taking in and naming the past—and doing it together.
Hope was very much present in our group, and especially at Evensong at the Cathedral on the Friday of the visit, at which Elizabeth and Father Kessie were made Anglican Communion Fellows of the Diocese of Liverpool and the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool. It was such a joy to be present at the liturgy that day, and to celebrate to only the great work of Elizabeth and Fr. Kessie but the work of the Church in general—-to feel a sense of accomplishment that somehow, we’ve taken a step towards reconciliation with the past, each other, ourselves, and ultimately, with God.
Thanks for reading this update on my missionary blog! I’m a missionary of The Episcopal Church, serving in Liverpool, UK. Make sure to subscribe at the bottom of the home page to get an email when I next post an update. God bless, and thank you!
Eager to read more? Check out the “Meet the YASCers” page of the website of the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) of the Episcopal Church to find the blogs of my missionary colleagues: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/YASC/meet-yascers.