The ninth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, hosted by the Diocese of Huron, opened on July 18 in London, Ontario.
A group of about twenty-five Canadian, African, US and English bishops will be gathering at the Ivey Spencer Centre from July 18 through July 22 to continue their annual dialogue that began in 2010.
“It is our privilege to host the consultation in the Diocese of Huron over the next four days”, says the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls, Bishop of Huron explaining that the dialogue brings together bishops from different parts of the Anglican Communion to “engage in conversations that deepen our understanding of the context of our mission and ministry”.
“The conversations seek to maintain our unity in Christ in the face of diversity that at times threatens to divide”, says Bishop Nicholls as she invites Anglicans in Huron to support the dialogue with their prayer:
“Pray for our meetings – both formal and informal – as we gather in London for discussions, have a visit to Oneida to explore our indigenous relationship and worship at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday at 10 a.m. with Archbishop Nyaboho of Burundi as the preacher.”
The dialogue was initiated by Archbishop Colin Johnson of Toronto and the Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, a Ugandan-Canadian now on staff with General Synod, at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, when the Anglican Communion was split over issues of same-sex unions and larger questions of Scriptural interpretation. This initiative led to the first meeting in 2010 in London, UK.
Both Archbishop Johnson and Rev. Canon Mukasa are attending this year’s dialogue.
“Initially, we started with one meeting of 11 bishops for one time, to see if it would actually produce anything, and out of that has grown a group that over a period of time has had the engagement of over 50 bishops from 12 different provincies of the Anglican Church”, recalls Archbishop Johnson. The meetings have been transformative for everybody who has been taking part in it, says the Archbishop noting that this is something the bishops bring back into the life of their dioceses: “Stories that I have heard and experiences that I have had in the dialogue I brought back into my own docese and used them in my sermons. At the time when there is a sense of despair and disunity, these are really the words of hope.”
The ninth Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue wraps up with worship at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Ontario on Sunday, July 22 at 10 a.m.