Like many of you, I have a little ceramic bowl full of lapel pins. They represent the Anglican Church of Canada and all of our dioceses, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, the Anglican Foundation of Canada, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I try to wear one of these pins appropriate to the context in which I find myself through my travels.
There is one other pin in my bowl that I cherish. It’s the Compass Rose, the symbol of our worldwide Anglican Communion. It serves as a reminder to me that we are 85 million people, in 165 countries, in 44 churches, all believing in the one Lord Jesus Christ, all endeavouring to be faithful to his gospel. I will wear this lapel pin from April 8-19 in honour of the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia. Unlike the other three instruments of communion—the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meeting—this one is representative of all the orders of the church: laity, clergy and bishops. Our Canadian members are Ms. Suzanne Lawson, Archdeacon Michael Thompson and Bishop Jane Alexander. Archdeacon Paul Feheley has been seconded to head the communication team.
ACC-16 gathers with the theme “Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences.” One of the preparatory papers for the meeting reads, “Discipleship can never be about a single aspect of our lives; it is by definition about the whole of our life…It will place demands upon ourselves, on family relationships, the way we handle money, our attitude toward work and leisure, our political choices, our exploitation or care of the environment.” In many respects, this understanding of discipleship is shaping the agenda of this meeting. For those privileged to attend, it is a wonderful opportunity to hear first-hand of the work co-ordinated throughout the world by the staff of the Anglican Communion Office and a host of others, including many Canadians who provide leadership in Communion-wide commissions, dialogues and networks.
For these 12 days I will don my Compass Rose pin and hold this meeting in my prayers. Please join me:
“Draw your Church together, O Lord, into one great company of disciples, together following our Lord Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving him in his mission to the world, and together witnessing to his love on every continent and island. We ask this in his name and for his sake. Amen” (Book of Alternative Services, p. 676).