Today was Mission and Evangelism Day. We heard an excellent and amusing talk from Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York (pictured left). ‘We make disciples and disciples make peace.’ Evangelism needn’t be seen as something scary. After all, it has the word ‘angel’ in the middle and, like angels, we’re called to be messengers for God.
In the afternoon we got our first experience of the ‘Call’ process, working together on a document that offered commitments to Mission and Evangelism. Comments were invited from the floor and feedback sent in from all the groups, which will be considered in a further redraft of the document in Phase 3 of the Conference, which comes when we all return home. Hmm, I know, it is a little confusing – I hope this confusion will be cleared up in the next couple of days.
We began meeting in bible study groups today. Mine includes members from Africa, Asia, North and South America and Europe; lots of potential for profound discussion across cultural and language differences. I hope that, as we get to know each other better, we shall open out more.
There’s something strangely reassuring about seeing the Bishops in all their confusing diversity. It presents in microcosm the full range of human shapes and, no doubt, personality types too. Men are still in the majority, but there are vastly more women this time around which can only be a good thing for the church. Very few Provinces now have no women bishops. Suddenly, what we once feared was impossible now seems completely normal.