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Rivals to Anglicanism in Africa

02 November 2006


From the Revd Roger Bowen

Sir, — Bishop Michael Doe’s otherwise illuminating report of the African Bishops Conference ( News, 5 November ) contained a perplexing comment about their desire to "establish centres of theological training . . . [to] make their Church . . . more able to confront the Pentecostalists and the Muslims, more able to keep their young people".

Did they really bracket Pentecostals with Muslims, or was this a misprint or misunderstanding? It is true that they are already losing their young people to the Pentecostals, and young Anglican priests are wisely adopting Pentecostal forms of worship. But if they propose to establish some sort of Anglican empire in rivalry to African-initiated and Pentecostal Churches, then the future of Anglicanism in Africa is less rosy than some of them imagine.

Fortunately, the wiser bishops are already closely collaborating with non-Anglicans in ministry and mission. This needs to extend to theological training, too. This area is currently in decline all over Africa, as Anglicans have neither the human nor the financial resources to do it alone. They don’t need to: the others are waiting.

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Cambridge CB4 3HW

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