The world keeps turning

I got home to Argentina exactly 30 days after starting my trip round the world. I was just getting over jet lag when I was off again, this time to Lima.
This was our twice yearly meeting of the house of bishops, to which two of the suffragans also came (Mateo and Duarte). This time in addition to our normal business, we had agenda’d in a wider consultation about the church’s response to Climate Change in our region. For this we were joined by an excellent group of mostly lay people from several countries in Latin America, with some expertise or interest in the subject.

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2018/06/south-american-anglicans-meet-to-discuss-joint-action-on-climate-change.aspx
A declaration appears below… meanwhile some photos

Statement by the South American bishops on Climate Change and the Role of the Church

In the light of God’s commandment in Genesis (Gen 2:15) to be stewards who love the Creation that He loves (Mt 6:25-30), a Creation made for the glory of God and not for man’s, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations: we the Anglican bishops of the Province of South America, at our meeting of the “First Conference on Climate Change and the Role of the Church”, 25th to 27th May 2018 in Lima, Peru,  and in the same spirit as other Evangelical and Roman Catholic churches, and secular entities that share similar concerns, make the following statement:

At this time of proven global environmental crisis, characterized by climate change, we in our churches unite in lamenting profoundly and denouncing firmly the plundering of the earth, which is created in the love of God, and we commit ourselves in prayer, solidarity, and action – personal, local, municipal and national – in order to achieve its renewal and transformation.

This action is in accord with the fifth of the Marks of Mission[1] proposed in 1984 by the Anglican Consultative Council, and which we lay out below:

  1. Proclaim the Good News of Salvation
  2. Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  3. Respond to human need through loving service
  4. Strive to transform unjust structures in society, oppose violence in all its forms, and seek peace and reconciliation; and
  5. Struggle to protect the integrity of Creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

Our perspective transcends capitalist politics and economics, sustained by the conviction of the sanctity of Creation, acquired in the service of the indigenous peoples of the Southern Cone. They knew how to welcome us with generosity, allowing us not only to develop our lives amongst them, but also to learn from their perspectives and world views about the earth and our relationship to her.

From the Gospel of Christ we find the basis of the right to human life, healthy environment and social development which is ecologically sustainable and socially just.

Considering the critical situation of our planet we announce and warn of the necessity of immediate action in relation to the 17 SDGs established by UN, (see appendix), adopting them at a Provincial level as the orienting framework for concrete actions that we as the body of Christ can take to care for Creation, as we were commanded to do (Gen 1.26, 2.15).

Within the wide spectrum of possible action we recommend:

To our church members:

  • Become aware of the origin and environmental impact of the processes of production and distribution of the food we consume. Within our possibilities reduce the consumption of food which has high environmental impact. For example not to eat meat one day a week.

 

  • Adopt practices designed to reduce our environmental impact, amongst others not waste water, recycle, manage rubbish responsibly. For example convert organic waste into compost in order to renew the earth.

To our congregations:

  • Include in our liturgies and acts of worship reference to the care of Creation, as well as adhering to global initiatives such as the Season of Creation.[2]
  • Plant trees to commemorate special events, such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals. Since not all churches have land or sufficient space, these trees may be planted anywhere, as long as the congregation is aware of such actions.
  • Reduce the use of disposable plastic as well as paper. Promote the practice of recycling. Conduct clean-up campaigns in the community surrounding the church.

To our Dioceses:

  • Delegate to a person or group of people the responsibility for generating actions aimed at the care of Creation, who will act as a point of contact within the diocese and with other dioceses.
  • Recognise, promote and strengthen the central role of women. The importance of women’s voices in the Anglican Communion cannot be overemphasized, especially wherever and whenever the aim is to strengthen relationships within the community.
  • Within our possibilities and abilities help vulnerable people groups, especially indigenous peoples and families in situations of extreme poverty to put into effect their rights to a healthy environment within the framework of national and international law, including Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
  • Report to government authorities in public and concrete ways the violation of environmental norms and the corruption linked to the destruction and contamination of the environment.
  • Develop our ability to influence government authorities with the aim of having an impact on the development of and respect for environmental norms.

To our Province:

  • Within what is practical and possible avoid financial investments in activities or businesses which harm the environment.
  • Reduce air travel to a minimum, choosing where possible the use of video-conferencing. Include the practice of mitigation of carbon emissions for all flights related to Provincial business.
  • Include in the agenda of Provincial synods an annual report on action carried out at diocesan level in favour of Creation Care.
  • Promote actions between dioceses, especially neighbouring ones, which are affected by similar or shared environmental problems (such as, for example, in the case of Argentina and Paraguay, who share the Pilcomayo river basin, today affected by extensive deforestation)
  • Promote ecumenical actions, seeking to join forces with other churches at a regional level

In conclusion, we reiterate our recognition that God’s Creation is loved and sustained by Him (He cares for the birds and the flowers – Mt 6:25-30) and nevertheless it requires the love, care and sustenance of humans, placed by God as His agents and stewards on earth. Therefore we include Creation Care as an integral part of our expression of the preaching of the Good News of Salvation, which includes a constant proclamation of the sustenance and renewal of the earth. May God help us to be faithful to Him in areas where we have been indifferent, careless and sinful in the past! “Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth!” (Ps 104:30)

Signatories:  Rt Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of the Province of South America, Diocesan Bishop of Argentina

Rt Rev Nicholas Drayson, Diocesan Bishop, Northern Argentina

Rt Rev Mateo Alto, Suffragan Bishop, Northern Argentina

Rt Rev Urbano Duarte, Suffragan Bishop, Northern Argentina

Rt Rev Crisanto Rojas, Suffragan Bishop, Northern Argentina

Rt Rev Raphael Samuel, Diocesan Bishop, Bolivia

Rt Rev Héctor Zavala, Diocesan Bishop, Chile

Rt Rev Abelino Apeleo, Suffragan Bishop, Chile

Rt Rev Nelson Ojeda, Suffragan Bishop, Chile

Rt Rev Alfredo Cooper, Suffragan Bishop, Chile

Rt Rev Peter Bartlett, Diocesan Bishop, Paraguay

Rt Rev Jorge Aguilar, Diocesan Bishop, Peru

 

 

Appendix:  We give notice and warning of the need for immediate action in the following areas, choosing among the 17 SDGs the 7 most urgent and relevant in our context:

  1. End hunger (2); confronting the waste of food, inefficient and predatory methods of agriculture, and the degradation of the environment.
  2. Life on earth15); seeking to prevent deforestation, desertification and the loss of animal and plant species.
  3. Climate action (13); overturning the well-known and principal threat to global development through renewable energies, clean technologies and decisive action
  4. Peace, justice and robust institutions (16); calling for the creation of a peaceful world, the reduction of violence, exploitation, torture, arms trafficking, and slavery and proposing peace, justice and reconciliation
  5. Good quality education (4); assuring free access to good quality education for all, especially young girls, who have been discriminated against in the past and who are instrumental in the growth, education and quality of life of future generations in their turn.
  6. Life under the water (14); overturning marine pollution the length of our immense coasts and in our abundant rivers and lakes, since the waters provide food, medicine and work for millions of people.
  7. Responsible consumption and production (12) considering more responsibly the environmental impact of the bad use of the earth’s resources.

 

[1] http://www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/marks-of-mission.aspx

[2] http://es.seasonofcreation.org/

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Neo-monastic mission

P1040443imageI didn’t stay to hear the end of the synod debate on same sex blessings, as I was keen to visit some of those who are pioneering mission and discipleship in the Wellington diocese.

It was totally inspiring to meet young leaders living in community in Wanganui, and engaging with “the last, the lost and the least”.

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Ngatiawa river monastery sprang from Urban Vision, a youth movement engaging in community involvement on the margins of society, including daily rhythms of prayer and eating together. Its leader (Justin, with dreadlocks and bare feet) has now become bishop of Wellington and brought this vision to the heart of the church, and communities are springing up in several empty vicarages.

Meanwhile the assistant bishop, Ellie, has pioneered a dynamic discipleship programme, 3DM- more on the New Wine end of the spectrum. I went to a weekend in Waikanae to understand the dynamic.

The combination is a real sign of hope in a dwindling church.

For my final day before flying on round the world back to Buenos Aires I drive the length of North Island, through rolling hills not unlike the Shire!

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Three tikanga

One of the highlights of visiting Aotearoa/New Zealand has been the opportunity (not afforded to most visitors) of experiencing first hand the unique relationship between the three cultures present in this area which the Anglican Church has fostered over the past 25 years.

Tikanga roughly means culture and this practice has been a way of giving space and respect to the different ways of working of the Maori, Pacific Islanders, and European settlers (pakeha) who make up the church. Each one has its own parallel organization, leadership, worship etc within the one church, and when they come together at synod, or theological college, their identity is maintained.

I was able to observe this working out, and ask people’s opinions on how well it works. Over the years several people have suggested it might be a model for us in Argentina. The impression I got is that it affords a much needed equality – which is of vital importance given the history of conflict, and the church’s part in that – but that there is still distance when it comes to relationships and resources.

However, a huge step was taken by having an important delegation of the three tikanga at the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Maori monarchy (kiingitanga) – see below.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/watch-thousands-turn-support-kingitanga-movement-160th-anniversary

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Family (2)

 

Finally New Zealand! Hard to believe Stef and Rhys have been making their lives here for a year now. Good to accompany them to church and many of the places they know, as well as doing a road trip to the west Coast (in pouring rain) to sample some of the amazing scenery. It is potentially LOTR round every corner, very wild and empty, and especially beautiful when it stops raining!

We got soaked looking at blowholes on the coast, and glow worms in the dark, and warmed up soaking in hot springs in stunning settings.

 

 

 

Christchurch is recovering from the 2011 earthquake. Some parts still resemble a ghost town, but there are new developments and a new shape is taking place. The Anglican Cathedral was destroyed and a “cardboard” transitional one put up. A whole neighbourhood where containers were used as shops is now being redeveloped as a “box” design tribute.

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Kiwis are very friendly, although many of the people I have met are English. We had two trips to the east coast: Akoroa and Kaikoura, not only beautiful settings combining mountains and sea, but also havens for bird life. The list of land birds is limited,  but sea birds are numerous – we took a boat trip and saw albatross, petrels and shearwaters, as well as fur seals and dolphins. (Psalm 104.24-26)

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A final treat before going to North Island was a visit to Oxford (Canterbury) where our friends Richard and Jan Hines live. It is 28 years since we last saw each other in South America. Our godson David and his wife Kelby were  also there. Lots of catching up!

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The final treat was being on the touch line for a top level game of rugby, featuring Rhys’ team, who won 36-26, but sadly not Rhys who was injured.

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Sad to say goodbye to the family. It won’t be long before they return to England (once  the rugby season is over) and a new stage in their lives.

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First time in Asia

 

 

Kuala Lumpur capital of Malaysia. Once it would have been unique to come here, but in the past few months no less than 14 of our family members have visited South East Asia!

As the flight map showed our route over Eastern Europe, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Iran, Pakistan, India and the Indian Ocean, it all became more real. I am halfway round the world now.
It is a fascinating experience. The local language, Bahasa, is called a unifying language and includes loan words from many of the languages that have passed through this land. But most people speak English, Tamil or Chinese. There is a mixture of races and religions too, with Muslim the firm majority, which affects lifestyle, even in the hotel. Covered heads, swimming attire, no pork or alcohol etc.
Traditionally moderate now the main Muslim party is a serious contender in next week’s elections although most Christians hope the opposition coalition will defeat the corrupt ruling party.
We spent most of the week meeting in the hotel, but went out by train a couple of evenings to eat and meet local church people. The closest I got to the Petronas Towers was this (but they reminded me of scenes fromEntrapment!):

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Delicious food, not totally strange but some interesting combinations. But the most notable was the Durian fruit. Hard, prickly and very smelly the flesh is unbelievably like cream cheese and rather sweet. Very nutritious but not to everyone’s taste!
We were so well looked after by our hosts in Malaysia and freed up to do our work as Core Group on Intentional Discipleship for the Anglican Communion. A wonderful
group of clergy (including 4 bishops) from 12 countries with loads of experience, ideas and commitment to helping the culture of the Anglican family become more geared to making disciples.
We will keep in touch and continue to work on this.
Meanwhile: day 14 off to the Land of the Long White Cloud. So excited to be seeing Rhys and Stefi, who left UK exactly a year ago.

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Family (1)

Day 8 and tomorrow I leave for Asia. The stop in Europe was mainly to see family.

I enjoyed three nights with Sam and Sally, and met my grandson for the first time (he is nearly one year old). What a delight! I had quality time with each one separately and together, got a good idea of their lives, and enjoyed a few films.

Goodbye Christopher Robin highlights the important father-son relationship, and I value that, as Sam does.

Two of my nieces, Carolyn and Anna, reaching 40 was the excuse for a Drayson family get together on a lovely day, with three generations happily having fun together.

D0FBE8EC-D58B-4FD7-9743-F3099F8D3E55And since I had a meeting in Central London, I enjoyed walking in the sunshine and riding the tube, as well as a stop on the river train, to visit Tate Modern and Temple Gardens. Picasso in 1932 was the main exhibition: some his best art, ranging from women in armchairs, nudes and sea creatures, sculptures and sketches, to variations on Crucifixion. Both physical and spiritual senses stirred.

 

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Latin Americas

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Last time I came to Costa Rica was ten years ago, and it was in this region that I received the call to come back and work here again. Looking back it has been an amazing time, and I feel I know the continent much better now – especially in the past year or so meeting leaders from other parts of Latin America.

When I say “here” I mean Argentina, which is a very long way away from Costa Rica, but I have been struck again on this visit that there is a huge similarity in all the continent despite the variety.

Within hours of arriving on Monday I was leading a series of workshops on Intentional Discipleship with the women’s organisations from the 5 countries’ Anglican churches that make up the Province of Central America. In many ways it could have been Argentina and AMARE, except that the majority were black, not Amerindian, and their preferred language English, although business was conducted in Spanish.

A visit to the national museum showed me that in their history the themes of conquest and colonisation, church and state, independence and development, also have similarities.

So now, after talking to the bishops, we face together the challenge of how Latin American anglicans can respond to common challenges and make our contribution to the “change of culture” needed for the church to make real disciples today in this context.

Day 4 of my journey. Today I leave for the Old World.

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