I had been invited to preach at their ordination of priests, a service which lasted four hours – and not because of my sermon! I’ve never been to Africa before and this short visit turned out to be one of those life-changing events which I shall never forget.
I was struck by three main things. Firstly how much the Christian faith is alive and well and how the Anglican community is growing and enthusiastic. We could learn a great deal from the joy of our brothers and sisters and their commitment to prayer and their confidence and Jesus Christ. Secondly, the warmth of their welcome and hospitality was humbling, especially from those who have so little material wealth compared to their visitor! Again, we can learn from those who have so little and yet share so much in the name of their faith. Thirdly, I reflected that we in the West have so much power, economic and political, compared to those with whom we are linked. Important as our problems here most certainly are, the ways in which we can have positive influence through our support for those who share our faith is far greater than we might believe.
We live in one world. As Christians, wherever we are, we belong to one Church. The more we live this out, the more Jesus Christ is proclaimed and glorified.
The Very Revd Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester