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Bishops from across the Anglican Communion gather for bilingual conference

28 July 2023

Anglican Communion

The bishops gathered in Maputo, Mozambique

The bishops gathered in Maputo, Mozambique

BISHOPS from 24 Anglican dioceses in 11 countries have gathered for the Communion’s first bilingual leadership conference, which is being held in Mozambique this week.

The ten-day peer-learning exercise in “leadership orientation” is part of a new initiative — devised at the Lambeth Conference 2022 — to support the induction and professional development of bishops in the Anglican Communion. This first event is being led by the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), with the support of the Anglican Communion Office.

Contributing to the programme, which is being delivered in both English and Portuguese, are CAPA’s general secretary, the Ven. Kofi deGraft-Johnson; the Communion’s secretary-general, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo; the Primate of Central Africa, who chairs CAPA, the Most Revd Albert Chama; and the Communion’s Bishop for Episcopal Ministry, Dr Jo Bailey Wells (News, 21 October 2022).

Other contributors are the Bishops of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, and Portugal (Lusitanian Catholic Church), the Rt Revd Jorge Pina Cabral.

Participating bishops are from dioceses in Angola, Brazil, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

Bishop Poggo said that “occasional training and development events” had been organised in the past, but that “There is now a growing desire to work together to develop ways of not just teaching new bishops, but also to provide opportunities for bishops to learn from each other about how they build their ministries in their different local contexts.”

The host for the event in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, is the Bishop of Lebombo, the Most Revd Carlos Simao Matsinhe, currently Acting Presiding Bishop of Mozambique and Angola. He said: “My feeling is excitement. I already have a sense of fulfilment of this training because everyone is now here, and I think we have got a lot to receive and a lot to give of the bishops and one another. Already God is working on this; so we look forward that everyone will leave this place very much strengthened and excited ready to face the challenges and opportunities that they meet in their ministry.”

Archdeacon deGraft-Johnson agreed that it was “exciting to have the opportunity for CAPA to continue in a ministry that it has been doing since 1984 — a ministry that provides the opportunity for cross-cultural experiential learning and accompaniment of new bishops and their spouses as they assume their new roles in the ministries and services to the Church. The uniqueness of this year’s training is the breadth of participation and the first ever bilingual process and gathering of such a mixture of bishops and spouses.”

Dr Wells said: “Leadership can often feel lonely. It is such a gift for bishops and their spouses to come away and spend time together, and especially to do so cross-provincially. The more varied our contexts, the more we recognise a common call and a common vision — and discover how we can empower one another with the challenges. I anticipate this meeting to involve deep engagement and hard work — and yet to overflow with joy.”

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