Pray for the welfare and integrity of all involved in the Lambeth Conference.
That was the request made by General Secretary Gerard Granado to the heads of member churches and presidents and chairs of National Council of Churches in a memorandum dated July 8.
Following is the full text
My Dear Friends in Christ:
Greetings once again from the General Secretariat of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC).
As most of us are aware, the Lambeth Conference – consisting of the diocesan bishops of the worldwide Anglican/Episcopalian Communion – is scheduled to take place this year from July 16 – August 4 at the University of Kent, U.K.
The Lambeth Conference is held every ten (10) years and is one of the instruments of unity in the Communion. Chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, it has the responsibility to determine and enunciate the mind of the Communion with respect to important theological and moral matters.
It is also public knowledge that at this particular Conference, the major issues to be addressed by the bishops are issues which, in a very real way, threaten to be deeply divisive of the Communion.
In view of this prospect, I am writing to request that we all, as member churches of the Caribbean Conference of Churches, join in prayer within the coming weeks for the welfare and integrity of the worldwide communion to which one of our founding members – the (Anglican) Church in the Province of the West Indies [CPWI] – belongs.
It is my deep conviction that a most important responsibility to one another as churches in ecumenical covenant, is to pray for one another. Of course, this responsibility becomes even more urgent in situations as critical as the one being faced by the bishops of the Lambeth Conference. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul, on the basis of ‘the one hope of our calling’(4:4), exhorts us to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (4:3).
As a practical measure in terms of our “effort”, I am suggesting that we offer prayers of intercession in our own churches for the following at Lambeth:
- Openness and obedience to the Holy Spirit at Lambeth,
- A spirit of genuine dialogue in seeking God’s will
- A conciliatory disposition of all involved
In this regard, I would like to share with you a brief reflection/quotation on the profound meaning and implications of praying for one another. This is taken from the writings of Henri Nouwen, the celebrated spiritual writer and teacher of the 20th century. Nouwen writes:
“To pray for one another is, first of all, to acknowledge, in the presence of God, that we belong to each other as children of the same God. Without this acknowledgement of human solidarity, what we do for one another does not flow from who we truly are.
We are brothers and sisters, not competitors or rivals. We are children of one God, not partisans of different gods.
To pray, that is, to listen to the voice of the One who calls us the “Beloved,” is to learn that that voice excludes no one.”
Hopefully, praying for one another will become for us as a Conference of Churches a more regular practice – one that is not limited merely to situations of crisis.
I think that in closing it would be important for us to savour of the words of St. Paul allowing them to linger with us and, as it were, seep into our souls. Paul reminds us emphatically:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”(Ephesians 4:4-6)
Gerard A.J. Granado
Caribbean Conference of Churches
July 08, 2008