Today, we heard from Archbishop Ndungane, who articulated the vision for this conference. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reflected dynamically on the Biblical foundations of our work together --- reconciling the world to God and one another through Christ. Focusing on the Prophet Jeremiah --- humanity’s efforts to know God must be connected to doing justice for the poor. Rowan Williams also continued the theme from last night’s sermon in the township in which he reminded us that we are called to see things from God’s perspective, and God forgets no one, no one is invisible to God.
This afternoon --- after an amazing lunch ---- we heard from three people each who shared provocative stories about life in the Anglican Communion. Jenny te Paa, Abigail Nelson, and Bishop Munawar Rumalshah of Pakistan shared heartbreaking stories about the ongoing work of the Communion in various parts of the world. I was particularly moved by Abigail Nelson’s reflections on the work of Episcopal Relief and Development. One got the sense from her passionate voice, that the involvement and commitment of people throughout the Episcopal Church is making a difference though the challenges feel so overwhelming. The Pilgrimage for Peace group gathered in the afternoon for an awesome discussion in which we wrestled with what our response to the keynote addresses might be --- and how we might begin to carry this message of hope and responsibility home.
After evening prayer --- in which readings came from a meditation by the Mother’s Union --- we had another delicious meal. I had the opportunity to speak with Bonnie Anderson, the President of the House of Deputies, who conveyed to me that no matter what happens in the midst of contemporary challenges that the Episcopal Church will continue to be focused on seeking justice and peace among all people.
On the way to the evening program, I passed by a large fire pit in which musicians, dancers and people from throughout the Anglican Communion, young and old were celebrating joyfully together. The Pilgrimage for Peace participants --- about 40 of us altogether --- discussed the complex issue of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. As was true of the entire day, I was deeply moved by the earnest concern, and compassionate voices.
Then tonight --- the Pilgrimage for Peace participants from Mozambique --- Mércio Lamya, Arthur Matsinne, and Hilàrio Raul --- played guitar and led us in some amazing songs of their country and community.
Soon there will be new photos and a blog from fellow pilgrims over at http://bishopmarc.vox.com/