Anglican Primates, bishops, clergy and laity from provinces in East Asia this week heard the Archbishop of Canterbury give a powerful vision for the ministry of the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Justin Welby made the comments during an address at the triennial Full Assembly meeting of the Council of the Church in East Asia (CCEA), which is taking place in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia. In his address, Archbishop Justin spoke of the potential and capacity of the Anglican Communion to work for transformation in the world.
The CCEA brings together Anglican churches in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam; as well as Australia and Japan.
At the opening Eucharist service, the host Primate, Archbishop Moon Hing – Bishop of West Malaysia, Archbishop of South East Asia, and Chairman of CCEA spoke about the growth CCEA’s member churches.
During the conference, Archbishop Justin Welby preached at a the Thanksgiving Service, at All Saints’ Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu; and also gave keynote addresses to conference delegates on the nature of the Anglican Communion and the opportunities provided by the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, which will take place in Canterbury, England, in 2020.
“Think for a second, about this incredible thing, the Anglican Communion,” he said. “Just remember: 165 countries, nearly 1,000 dioceses, goodness knows how many parish churches, local churches. How near to full capacity are we working at? How close are we as a Communion to doing all that God wants us to do? He has given us this beautiful, beautiful diverse gathering of people.”
He went on to talk about a collaboration between the global Anglican mission agency the Mothers’ Union with the Gates Foundation. With a membership of five million members, the Mothers’ Union has been able to activate an important distribution network ensuring that much needed medicines funded by the Gates Foundation can actually be accessed by local people in areas that need them most.
Archbishop Justin welcomed the way Anglican Churches in East Asia work closely together. “What can’t we do as Anglicans in the Lord by the power of the Spirit?,” he asked. “Is there any limit?
“My vision for the Anglican Communion is that we are . . . full of love for one another. Caught up with the power of Christ, and changing, transforming, the world around us in the power of Christ.
“With the Bible in one hand and with whatever people need locally in the other – reconciling, healing, strengthening, teaching – doing all the things we know we can do.”
The Archbishop urged everyone to continue to “dream of doing it together, as brothers and sisters in Christ”.
CCEA delegates elected the Prime Bishop of the Philippines, Joel Pachao, to be their new chairman, to succeed Archbishop Moon Hing who is stepping down as Primate of South East Asia in February 2020; and as Bishop of West Malaysia in November 2020.