The meeting of the St. Augustine Seminar took place at Lambeth Palace this past week, 21-23 November 2018.
The St. Augustine Seminar gathered people from all over the world to assist the Archbishop of Canterbury in preparation of the Bible studies and homilies that will be part of the Lambeth Conference in 2020. The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of bishops and their spouses from throughout the Anglican Communion. The theme for the Lambeth Conference is God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together, and 1 Peter will be the Scripture focus.
The 35 Seminar participants came from Churches of the Anglican Communion as well as other denominations, including Methodist, Presbyterian, Uniting Churches of Australia, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, and Armenian Orthodox Churches. We came from Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Egypt, India, Ireland, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. We are clergy and lay people, scholars, and pastors who have been engaged in the study of 1 Peter. We were addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and convened by the Rev. Dr. Jenn Strawbridge. Members of the design team for the Lambeth Conference also engaged in the meeting, listening and assisting in the conversations of our small groups, each assigned to discuss a chapter of the epistle. I was assigned to Chapter 1.
Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, a major holy day in the Episcopal Church, as well as a national holiday in the United States. The collect for Thanksgiving Day has us give thanks to God for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. We ask that we may be faithful stewards of God’s great bounty that provides for our own necessities and we pray for the relief of all who are in need (Book of Common Prayer, 246). It’s a day for gathering with family and for being mindful of and caring for those who are separated from family or for other reasons are alone.
Joe and I are far away from biological family, but are very aware of being connected with the family of God throughout the world, including our church family in the Episcopal Church and new friends in Makhanda/Grahamstown.
This Thanksgiving Day, as part of the St. Augustine Seminar, I had the blessing of being with members of God’s church throughout the world, discussing Scripture and getting to know one another. Here are some of the family members with whom I spent Thanksgiving Day:
The Chapter One Group, from left to right: Kwok Pui Lan, Maurice Elliott, Samy Shehata, Chris Chivers, Markus Bockmuehl, and I. Below, Kwok Pui Lan and I.
One of the great blessings of being church: being with family wherever you go.
The featured image is Psalm 100 by Laura James. See LauraJamesart.com.