We kept Sunday as All Saints in Rotorua. The gospel reading was about the Raising of Lazarus from the dead. So inevitably I said some things about death and life.
I felt that it was important to give people a flavour of the wider life of the Anglican Communion. I am a believer in what I think we represent – the aspiration to grow into a global Communion without a centralised structure of authority – closer to God and to one another.
So this is part of what I said
‘For us in Scotland, the Anglican Communion matters greatly. To be part of something bigger is really important. It is a one of the privileges of my life that I have the opportunity of exploring the life of the Anglican Communion in my travels. During this year, I will have seen England, Ireland, Canada, America, Hong Kong, New Zealand. Next month i shall be in Uganda and after Christmas in India. Everywhere there is welcome. Everywhere I find churches which are Anglican in ways which we in Scotland can recognise – recognisable in worship, in polity and governance, in culture and friendship. People say that the Communion is in difficulties and that it is finished. New Zealand and Scotland have both decided not to adopt the Covenant and that may leave us feeling slightly uncertain about where we are with the Anglican Communion.
But I am a passionate believer in the Anglican Communion. I believe that rumours of its death have been exaggerated – although there is some dying to do. By that I mean particularly the legacy of history which makes some relationships difficult – the word we sometimes use is colonialism. It means that people take into themselves bad history – you know all about that in New Zealand – so that it threatens the present and destroys the future. It speaks of death.
Let me introduce you to the Bible Study Group with which I have begun each day for the last week. Yesterday the passage was introduced to the whole conference by the Acting Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, Very Rev Lynda Patterson, who comes from Northern Ireland and tells me that she is a regular reader of my blog on the Internet. She speaks of the death of a cathedral and of how new life may come. Sitting around the table with me were Dickson – Provincial Secretary of the Church in Tanzania; Maria Christina – a Spanish speaking priest from Cuba; Humphrey – Bishop of Peshawar in Northern Pakistan; Josephine from the USA; Dick – bishop of Old Catholic Church from Netherlands. We sit and wait. We share and pray. We minister to one another. We are in a sense the Anglican Communion rising to new life. We are the saints of God – as you are the saints of God.’