For a little over a year, five Canadian and six African dioceses have engaged in diocese-to-diocese theological dialogue on matters relating to human sexuality and to mission.
Ours was an experience of holy listening as we engaged together in prayerful attentiveness to God and to each other in Christ. There is much that we celebrate from this experience of dialogue-in-community. In spite of differences, we strongly affirm our commitment to each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ and as members in the Anglican Communion. As we continue to learn about each other’s mission contexts, cultures, values and languages, each of us grows in deeper mutual understanding of theological and ethical positions — both our own and those of our partners.
We affirm together that dialogue cannot be about trying to make someone change their position, but is about working together better to understand the fullness of our stories, affirmations and commitments. To do so requires that we meet, that we converse, that we commit to this holy listening and honest, respectful speech with openness and prayerful thanksgiving for the gift that is the other. This is the gift of communion we share in Christ: that we are one, in his body. We are empowered by our mutual listening and learning to carry on, to deepen our existing bonds of affection, and to serve God’s mission with renewed hope.
It is the desire of this group to continue to meet again, and to plan other ways in which our dioceses might deepen relationship one with another. It is our hope that the process and the fruits of our theological discernment may link with the Continuing Indaba process of the Anglican Communion.
The New Anglican: I’m OK, you’re OK; what’s right for you may not be right for me; let me affirm you; holy listening; respectful speech; openness; context; telling stories; deeper mutual understanding.
What a load of old bollocks.