- Michael Kenning
One body, one Spirit
On the 26th April I had the privilege of visiting two churches in the refugee camps of Sherkole and Tsore; St John’s and Holy Emmanuel. The camps are located an hour’s drive outside Assosa in the far west of Ethiopia, next to the Sudanese border.
I was accompanying Bishop Anthony Ball, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Egypt, who was visiting to confirm 100 candidates, and license twelve new South Sudanese Lay Ministers to work in the camps. Both camps are very large, stretching over a kilometre in each direction from the road and the living conditions are very basic. Those living in the camps are reliant on intermittent food handouts or are exploited for their labour in a nearby open-cast goldmine.
And yet it is in these unpromising conditions that the Holy Spirit is at work. Membership of the churches in the camps is growing, overseen by the energetic work of the Area Dean, Revd Deng Mark. There are now 12 Anglican churches, cared for by three priests and two deacons. The newly licensed Lay Ministers will greatly enhance the development of these and new congregations. To participate in the joyful worship of both churches with Bishop Anthony, who in less than two weeks will be part of the Coronation procession as a Canon at Westminster Abbey, was to realise afresh that we are all one global church through the connectivity of the Spirit. God is as much at work amongst the refugees of Sherkole or Tsore as he is in great state events of international importance. “There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all’ (Ephesians 4:4 ESV).