As the International Consultation in Fiji draws to a close, the Revd Adrian Smith reflects on an air of optimism and fresh urgency as delegates seek to put words into action…
Our final time of Bible study saw Jonah come under close consideration. More specifically, delegates were asked to consider why Jonah goes in the opposite direction to that of the path he is called to follow; points of transformation in the text; and how one might judge when things are said to be ‘going well’.
Once again, this time offered a forum for rich and lengthy discussion, with individual context and fresh insight being freely offered and received.
A major task for the day would be the analysis of points of priority and possible further exploration. Specific areas were graded according to perspective and priority, and we will await further news on these deliberations from the consultation with great interest.
Over the past two days, some of those attending the consultation had kindly agreed to record short videos in which they offered reflections on their time at this gathering, points of personal and corporate learning, and possible responses around the Anglican Communion. Indeed, The Most Revd & The Hon. Dr John Holder, Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies, described the event as a great learning experience, and stated that the Anglican Communion, and USPG in particular, can learn a lot from the experience of this past week. “For example, we realise that we are all connected in this world,” he said. “We all face the same problems in terms of climate, [and] in terms of the abuse of people. And I think what we have done in this gathering is to commit ourselves to make USPG stronger and make our world and our church far better.”
These words seemed appropriate and timely as we made our way to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Suva for a closing service of worship alongside people of the Diocese of Polynesia. The service began with words of greeting from the Archbishop of Canterbury, shared by the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, the Bishop of Lincoln, and this service of Eucharist was a time of great joy and celebration as we worshipped with our new friends and colleagues in the mission of God in the wider world.
After the service, The Most Revd Dr Winston Halapua, Bishop of Polynesia and Primate and Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, captured the atmosphere perfectly when he said: “In the last few days, issues were brought forward from all the different contexts, we shared them, and in the midst of them we tried to find where is God’s will, where is Jesus in our whole engagement in God’s mission. We have completed it and we all gathered in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Suva. It’s so wonderful as we are here as members of the Anglican Communion… We continue with the rest of our programmes. Thank you for the prayers for us. We are no longer the same people as when we started. When we gather together in Christ we move together. When we leave this place we are renewed people for the mission of God. And love from Suva.”