|Dr Carey calls Church to
by David Skidmore
Archbishop George Carey brought the Lambeth Conference to its feet with a call for ``a more radical discipleship shaped by God's transforming power'' in his presidential address Monday before over 1,000 bishops and spouses. In his hour-long address, Carey stressed the need for renewal in the communion's vision; its faith and order; its mission; and in the bishops' understanding of their vocation as church leaders. It is a daunting call, he admitted, in an era assailed by political persecution and social traumas. But when the church stays true to its mission, it prevails. In the wake of the last Lambeth Conference, the Berlin wall came down, apartheid was dismantled, and the Anglican Communion launched the Decade of Evangelism bringing millions of new Christians into the church, he said.
But with blessings come more challenges, he noted, such as in Rwanda where civil war spawned a genocide claiming 800,000 lives, and in Sudan where continuing civil war has displaced hundreds of thousands, and sown a new crop of widows and orphans.AIDS has become a pandemic in Africa, and mounting debt has bequeathed a lifetime of poverty to millions in the Third World. Despite these problems, ``this is our world,'' said Carey.``This is the world in which we live and work; the world in which we are called to serve and witness.'' While it is important to share the stories of our struggles as a communion and seek solace with each other, it falls short of what the conference is about as a witnessing community, stressed Carey. ``Even when evil seems to prevail in so many places, and in so many ways, the challenge before us is to bring to the world an authoritative vision of the God of love and justice who is the beginning and end of all things.''
The vision of the Anglican church as a witnessing community should be driven not by the issues on its plate but by an Irenaean theology that stresses God's goodness and generosity. Solutions to the host of issues before the communion ``will only emerge from a real encounter in gratitude with our living God.''