New bishops schooled by Hambidge
August 18, 2004
|The retired Archbishop of New Westminster, Douglas Hambidge, in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania, with new bishops from six African countries|
This was my third time as a facilitator for the "school" for new bishops sponsored by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, (CAPA). It was held in the Roman Catholic Mbagala Spiritual Centre on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the month of June. Eighteen bishops attended, coming from various countries of Africa, including Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Congo, Indian Ocean and Angola. While many languages were represented, our common language was English - although from time to time we did try out our smattering of Swahili!
The daily programme began early in the morning with the Eucharist, and I led eighteen thirty minute biblical reflections on St. Luke's Gospel.
There were four main sessions each day, and subjects covered included a day-long study of the HIV/AIDS pandemic raging throughout the African continent. Strategic planning was another excellent session led by William Agora, who is one of the overseas partners on the PWRDF Board.
My subjects related directly to the day to day life and work of a bishop in relation to the province, the synod and the clergy. We examined the shape and theology of the Anglican Communion, as well as themes such as bishop as leader; bishop as servant; bishop as pastor, preacher, teacher and liturgist. We had some fun sessions on conflict resolution, stress & burnout, and did some work on things like position descriptions, evaluations and time management.
Each Sunday we were all "farmed out" to neighbouring parishes in the Diocese of Dar es Salaam. I had some very interesting times, but most interesting were the reflections of the bishops when they returned from their "missions". The Anglo-Catholic tradition is very strong in Dar es Salaam, and most of the attending bishops were of a very different tradition. They had a good deal to talk about, and it was an opportunity to examine the breadth of the worship expressions to be found in Anglicanism.
This is an excellent programme that CAPA has organised for a number of years. It has the unanimous support of the African Primates, and new bishops are required to attend. As far as I know this programme is one of a kind in the Anglican Communion... and certainly there is nothing approaching it in Canada.
It has been my privilege to be part of the programme, which has been at least as enriching for me as for anyone else attending.