Yesterday (Tuesday 27th) Archbishop Richard Clarke and myself spent the day teaching in St John’s Anglican Seminary in Kitwe. CMSI Mission Partners Lyn and Keith Scott are on the staff at the seminary and an in-depth visit to St John’s is a central part of our programme here.
As I’m staying on campus, I’ve been able to join the ordinands for their Morning Worship each day this week. Yesterday, I delivered a class on constructing liturgies, talking the ordinands through the ‘A Service of the Word’ from the Church of Ireland’s Book of Common Prayer. This is the sort of training I deliver for readers in the Diocese of Down and Dromore as part of my membership of the Liturgical Advisory Committee.
Archbishop Richard delivered the second class of the day, in which he spoke about worldwide Anglicanism. He emphasised its roots in the early Church, the circumstances that led to the formation of the Church of England, its missionary endeavour, the eventual formation of provinces across the globe and the development of the Anglican Communion as it is today.
Perhaps the most valuable part of the day was spent in the afternoon, where Archbishop Richard and I meet with the students in a more informal setting. This was a chance to find out more about the similarities and differences between the Church in Zambia and Ireland, and hear some of the personal reflections and stories of the ordinands.
One of the real challenges facing the Church in Zambia is to the resourcing of leadership training – the students at the seminary are there a
t significant cost to both them and their families, and the archbishop was both challenged and encouraged by their deep commitment to their vocation.
Between the classes, Archbishop Clarke also blessed a number of bibles that had been brought to Zambia by the team as a gift from The Book Well a Christian bookshop in Belfast run by Richard Ryan (formerly manager of The Good Bookshop based in Church of Ireland House in Belfast). These are really important resources for the college as the NRSV texts will provide consistency in Biblical Studies (students do have their own Bibles, but it is good that they now will have access to the same version) and will also be useful in examinations as well.
Richard sent the Bibles with this message:
“When I attended the CMSI 'Ignite' Conference last September, I spent some time in the prayer room. At one of the stations, I read through some newsletters from the various Mission Partners. I was drawn in particular to the one from Keith and Lyn... As I left the prayer room, I felt prompted to get in contact with Keith to ask if there was anything in particular he needed. His response took me by surprise. There was a need, and it was for a couple of dozen plain Bibles that the students could use at the college.”