Bishop Duncan speaks to the African leadership
Bishop Bob Duncan's Greeting to the CAPA Meeting
Your Grace and my Lords, Guests, Spouses, Brothers and Sisters.
I greet you in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Saviour (and yours). I am here because I met Jesus in my teen years and gave myself to Him at University.
I greet you as a brother who knows what you know: “that there is no other foundations that anyone can lay, except that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor 3:11)
I greet you as a fellow apostle: “who seeks only to know Christ Jesus – and him crucified – with ourselves as your servant for Jesus’ sake.”
I greet you as Bishop of Pittsburgh: That great missionary diocese, home to the greatest concentration of missionary organizations in the United States, home to Trinity School (of which some of you are graduates); from them and from my clergy and people I bring you greeting.
I also greet you as Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network – and it is chiefly because of this office that I am here. I must acknowledge the kindness and support of His grace, the Chairman of CAPA, the Archbishop of All Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Jasper Akinola, in his generous invitation which brings me to this First African Anglican Bishops’ Conference.
The Anglican Communion Network represents 10 dioceses, 1000 parishes, and 1200 clergy across the Unites States – orthodox and faithful Anglicans all.
We also stand with orthodox allies of the Anglican Diaspora in the States. I want to say to you that – with the three young men of Daniel, Chapter 3 – “We will not bow down.” “We know that our God can save us. But if not, be it known to you (O king) that we will not bow down….”
I know it is hard for you in Africa to understand that a Primate would not speak for all his people. I tell you clearly that the Primate in the United States and the Primate in Canada do not speak for all their people. There are tens of thousands for whom I speak, who are at one with you in Africa, for whom our North American Primates do not speak.
I come not only to greet you, but also to thank you:
To thank you for myself, and for the tens of thousands I lead.
I come to thank you for your steadfastness, for your courage, for your perseverance, for your suffering.
I come to thank you for your right hand of fellowship.
I come also to ask for forgiveness:
For the trouble we in the West – especially in the US – have caused you.
I come to ask your forgiveness for the distraction from your work that we have been. You have faced wars, refugees, soaring debt, poverty, famine, disease, HIV-AIDS – and we have distracted you from your gospel ministry.
I have come to ask your forgiveness for our complicity – the complicity of the orthodox – in the West’s unfaithfulness. For too long we were far too silent, made too many compromises.
Forgive us too, for our “ease in Zion”, while the poor have suffered, while justice has gone undone – forgive us we ask you and ask the Lord.
I have also come to ask your forgiveness for the evils of our culture, now a global culture – exported to you daily electronically.
Forgive us, for our part in it all.
I have come to work and to weep and to rejoice with you.
Of St Paul in the 12th Chapter of 1st Corinthians (v. 26) says that “when one weeps all should weep, and when one is honoured all should rejoice.”
I am here – and those who have come with me either physically or by greeting and intercession – to listen to you and to Africa’s concerns. (This Conference is not about North America. Thank God it is about Africa – at last, Africa comes of age). I have come to worship and to listen and to learn. I - and our Network – have come to seek to be your partner in the gospel (as you have already been ours).
Above all, I have come to thank God in this historic moment. To thank Him that the day of this 1st African Anglican Bishop Conference has finally come.
To thank God that Africa has finally come of age – and with that coming of age – there is a new and better future ahead for Anglicanism, as well.
To God be the glory that African Anglicanism has come of age and that an extraordinary new day is dawning for all.
God bless you all in your work this week.
–The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan is Bishop of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network