• June

    More than a Royal Wedding

    Rose Hudson-Wilkin, CACS Fellow
    This month, the Anglican Commentary is written by the Rev. Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a 2018 CACS Fellow in Public Theology, and Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen.

    It was about a month ago that I had a call inviting me to take part in the royal wedding. It was a very surreal moment. I remember thinking that perhaps they had made a mistake. Since the wedding was announced, many who knew that I was one of Her Majesty’s Chaplains, would ask if I was going to be involved. I would explain that there is a resident staff at Windsor and they would be the ones who would automatically be present at services being held in that venue. I actually continued to think that it was an error so only mentioned it to my immediate family. About a week later, the Dean contacted me. Later, someone from Windsor Castle got in touch about the service. A day later someone else from Buckingham Palace was also in touch regarding travel arrangements. I was to travel in convoy with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Episcopal Presiding Bishop who was preaching, the Orthodox Archbishop, an artist commissioned by Prince Charles and the Cellist, supported by 5 police outriders! I finally believed it was real.

    As we approached Windsor Castle on the day of the wedding, the sun shining, the crowds already in their positions; the place awash with security, the media and the arrival of the celebrity guests mingled with people representing various charities, one could almost forget the very sacramental nature of the marriage we were gathering to witness. By clockwork, the groom and his brother, the junior members of the royal family, the bride’s mother and then the senior royals followed by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived and were escorted to their places. The clergy took their place in the procession behind the choir and no sooner were we in place, than the bride arrived with her little bridesmaids and pageboys.

    The rest is now history. That service in that moment, became a great advertisement for the Anglican Church. It reflected a rich tradition and modernity in words and music; the officiants and the congregation were diverse. The 1.9 billion people who watched around the world could recognise someone who looked like them in attendance at that service. And then there was the sermon. Wow. The sermon delivered by the Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church was unapologetically all about the Good News of the love of God in Christ Jesus; the sacrificial love that set the standards for the love that we should pattern in marriage and in all our relationships.

    The sermon was delivered with great passion and joy. The chapel at Windsor and its regular attendees would have never seen or heard anything like this before! At the reception numerous people approached me to say how much they were stirred by the sermon. They also said that if the churches where they lived reflected this kind of service and this kind of passionate sermon, they would be there. As I write this, some 5 days later, I am still being approached by people on the streets and those here in parliament where I work, all commenting on the sermon. Would it not be amazing if when we gather for worship, those who attend, go out and tell others about what they have heard? This was unashamedly gospel. This is what I believe the church should be about.
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  • May

    Farewell to Graduating International Students

    Molly O'Brien
    May in Northern Virginia means the weather is warm, trees and grass are a vibrant green, and the air is filled with bird songs. It also means that our 20th Anniversary year is coming to a close, and the time has come to bid farewell to the graduating class of 2018, as they go out into the world to begin new chapters in their ministry.

    For the Center for Anglican Communion Studies, this also means we are celebrating and saying goodbye to five international students. The Rev. Norbert Ayeebo, Ms. Flamel Duran Svelti and the Rev. Pearson Nhayo will graduate from the MA program. The Rev. Halim Shukair and Ms. Mary Matthews will graduate from the MDiv. program.

    One of the requirements of the MA degree is to write a Summative Capstone Project. It would be impossible to fully convey the depth of work that goes into these projects in a relatively short amount of time, but to give you a sample of the range of topics our international MA students have engaged with, here are their titles:
    Norbert Ayeebo: "In search for a holistic curriculum for youth Ministry: The case of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale, Ghana"
    Pearson Nhayo: "Cross-cultural Ministry and the Response of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Ruaha."
    Flamel Duran: "Environmental Ethics in Light of a Conversation on the Doctrine of Redemption in C.S. Lewis and Jurgen Moltman”

    After graduation Flamel will return to the Dominican Republic and will work on Christian education and social justice, in addition to pursuing additional avenues of theological formation.

    Pearson is planning to return to Tanzania to specialize in training/teaching Christians in Cross-cultural Ministry and communication in and beyond East Africa.

    Norbert will be going back to continue his ministry in the Diocese of Tamale, Ghana. He would love to continue to serve as the Diocesan Youth Director or teach but will serve where the diocese needs him.

    Halim will be a curate at Christ Church in Dearborn, MI and working at the Diocese of Michigan as missionary for outreach for the Arab/ Eastern Rite Christians in Detroit and Dearborn.

    Mary will be starting a Ph.D. at the University of Warwick in the UK in September 2018 in gender, sexuality and reconciliation in the Episcopal Church. She will continue here association with VTS working to create a LGBTI resource and education hub for the Church.

    Each one of these individuals has blessed VTS with their presence and enriched our understanding of global Anglicanism as they shared perspectives from their own context. Through them, we got a glimpse of the life of the Church in Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Australia, and Lebanon. Each has engaged in serious theological study, made friends across cultures, worshipped, struggled, played, and broken bread with us and they have left their mark on this community. The Center for Anglican Communion Studies sends these students forth with our prayers and we hope they know that, as Dean Markham is fond of saying, “once you’re a part of VTS, you’re always a part of VTS.”
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  • April

    John Kafwanka Visits VTS

    Molly O'Brien
    This month, CACS was honored to host the Rev. Canon John Kafwanka for a Communion Sabbatical. Canon Kafwanka is the Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion office in London. His visit coincided with the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) conference, which took place at VTS and was co-hosted by CACS. Canon Kafwanka and CACS Director Robert Heaney each gave a keynote address at the conference, and each of them acted as a respondent to each other’s presentation. Dr. Heaney set the tone of the conference with the opening keynote, “Mission Connects Us-I: Without a Theology of Mission We Perish.” Canon Kafwanka closed the conference on a similar note, with a presentation titled, “Mission Connects Us-II: Without Partnership in Mission, We Perish.” These two addresses and the way Kafwanka and Heaney responded to each other’s’ work provided a rich symmetry to three days of thinking and talking about God’s mission and how we participate in it.

    Dr. Heaney’s keynote, with summary reflection by Canon Kafwanka, is available here. Canon Kafwanka’s keynote, with Dr. Heaney’s summary remarks, is available here.

    On Monday, April 16, Canon Kafwanka preached at the morning Eucharist and then presented a lunchtime forum on “Formation in the Anglican Communion: The Season of Intentional Discipleship.” The conversation was streamed vis Facebook Live, and can still be viewed on the CACS Facebook page. For more information on the Season of Intentional Discipleship, an initiative of the Anglican Communion, please visit this link.

    Lest you think all these presentations do not sound like they honor the element of rest and reflection that should be inherent in a sabbatical, we promise we did also allow Canon Kafwanka time to work on his own writing. In fact, one project he is working on is a book he is co-authoring with Dr. Heaney, “God’s Church for God’s World.” The two authors diligently shut their doors and bent to the computer keys, and we are looking forward to the results, which they aim to publish in time for the Lambeth Conference in 2020.

    Canon John Kafwanka was the third and final Communion Sabbatical visitor of CACS’s 20th Anniversary Year. (The other sabbatical visitors were Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogo- Kenya, and Rev. Canon Dr. Yossa Way- Dem. Republic of Congo.) These sabbaticals are one of the important ways that CACS facilitates global connections, promotes Anglican scholarship, and celebrates the diversity of the Communion. CAC’s theme for 2018-19 is “The Communion in the Middle East,” so we would especially welcome applicants for Communion sabbaticals from that region to visit VTS next year.
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  • March

    March 2018

    Molly O'Brien
    One might think that after a large signature event like hosting a visit of the Presiding Bishop, the Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS) would take it easy for a few weeks. However, there are far too many impressive Communion leaders to connect with! For the whole month of February, CACS was hosting the Rev. Canon Dr. Rosemary Mbogo for a Communion Sabbatical. Then, as the rest of VTS was preparing for Spring Visit Weekend, CACS was also preparing for the visit of a second sabbatical guest, the Rt. Rev. Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, UK. Bp. Paul will be with us through the middle of March.

    During her visit, Canon Rosemary preached at a morning eucharist, held a lunchtime forum about the Anglican Church of Kenya, joined Bp. Paul Bayes for a joint forum on “Being World Anglicans.” In between these public appearances, she also connected with the Kenyan community in the greater DC area, preached at the church of VTS graduate Peter Gachira ’17, conversed with the VTS community over meals, and made time for her own research (it was a sabbatical, after all!).

    In addition to the joint forum with Canon Rosemary, Bp. Paul has preached at a morning eucharist, is scheduled to present at a lunch forum for students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, March 7, and then gather with a smaller group for a dinner at the home of Robert and Sharon Heaney. Bp. Paul’s sabbatical is also dedicated to a book he is writing, and at the lunch forum on March 7, the VTS community will get a preview of one of the chapters.

    It is truly an honor for CACS to host these renowned Anglican scholars and practitioners during our 20th anniversary year. They have widened our understanding of the richness of the Anglican Communion and brought a lively spark to campus in this Lenten season when we’re all a little tired of winter and eagerly awaiting the signs of spring. Please join us in giving thanks for the presence and ministry of Canon Rosemary and Bishop Paul, and bless them on their journeys when they leave VTS and return to their communities.
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  • February

    February 2018

    Molly O'Brien
    The Center for Anglican Communion Studies is continuing our year-long celebration of our 20th anniversary. Our impact and our outlook are global, so it seemed fitting that the celebration should be as well. To that end, we have created a series of Communion Greetings videos in which we have invited our international students, alumni, friends, and partners to record a greeting and share a few words about what the Anglican Communion means to them. Those of you who attended the Mollegen Forum with the Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, had a chance to see the debut of the Communion Greetings video.

    As we welcome Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to campus on February 1 to speak about “Why the Episcopal Church Needs World Anglicanism,” (watch the lecture and panel discussion here), we invite you to watch the Communion Greetings video and ponder the question for yourselves, what does the Anglican Communion mean to you? If you want to engage others in that question, you have multiple opportunities to do so this month and throughout the semester! Have coffee with a classmate who spent all or part of January in another part of the world on a Cross Cultural Education Program (CCEP), sit down with an international student who brings their own rich experience of global Anglicanism, or sign up for the next of several Lunchtime Conversations with respected Communion leaders.

    In fact, one such leader is in our midst all month long. The Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogo, Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Kenya, is here on a Communion Sabbatical hosted by CACS. Some of you may recognize her from when she was here in October to receive an honorary degree at Convocation, and we are blessed that she has been able to return to VTS for a longer stay.

    From mid-February to mid-March, we will also welcome Rt. Rev. Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, courtesy of a partnership between the Diocese of Liverpool and the Diocese of Virginia. Canon Rosemary and Bishop Paul’s visits will overlap, which means that we are able to bring both of their voices of experience together in a special Lunchtime Forum on February 20 on “Becoming World Anglicans.” (12:30-2:00, Gibbs Room). Please email CACS if you’d like to attend this event.

    In summary, we have many ways to reflect on and celebrate our role in the Anglican Communion this month, and we hope you will join us! Stay tuned for event announcements, and, if you haven’t already, “like” us on Facebook so we can get to 2,000 likes for our 20th anniversary!
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  • January

    January 2018

    Molly O'Brien
    Happy New Year from the Center for Anglican Communion Studies!

    The month of January always starts off with a great sense of anticipation of what is to come. For the seniors at Virginia Theological Seminary and other seminaries across the country, this comes in the form of the General Ordination Exams and facing the realization that they are almost done with seminary and will need to prepare for the next adventure into which God is calling them.

    For 25 other students, the start of the new year brings with it a different sort of adventure in the form of Cross-Cultural Educational Programs (CCEPs) that will send VTS seminarians and faculty to many corners of the globe to experience in a new way what God is up to in the world. Fourteen members of our community will take part in a Study Tour to the Holy Land hosted by St. George’s College, Jerusalem. Four students will embark on a CCEP that explores theologies and practices of reconciliation in the United Kingdom. They will visit Coventry Cathedral, the Corrymeela Center in Northern Ireland, the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace, and other sites. One student and one faculty member are traveling to the Dominican Republic, and nine students are immersing themselves in urban ministry in Washington, DC.

    These cross-cultural education programs are an important part of seminary formation and are meaningful far beyond the adventure of traveling or simply being in an unfamiliar context. These programs are important because they exemplify the type of experiential learning that cannot happen in a classroom alone, because we believe that through such experiences students can gain a deeper sense of what it means to discern the presence and mission of God in the world.

    So, this month, please join the Center for Anglican Communion Studies in praying for all members of the VTS community who are participating in Cross-Cultural Education Programs, whether they are across the Potomac River in Washington, DC, or across the ocean in the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and Latin America. May they be enriched by the experience and energized for future adventures in ministry.
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