This week I have been in London for the amazing Alpha Leadership Week. As my previous post said I was privileged to be able to speak at the conference! What an amazing joy that was. I am so thankful for that rare and undeserved privilege!
If you are interested in receiving a copy of the slides of my talk then please download them using this link.
We have over 200 African delegates among the 6000 registered guests that attended the conference this week. Among them are about 70 African Church leaders, overseers of denominations, Bishops and Cardinals.
I was overjoyed when I heard that Archbishop Justin Welby, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, was willing to host a reception for these Church leaders at Lambeth Palace. The Archbishop and Nicky Gumbel are firm friends for many years and he was pleased to spend some time with our guests speaking about the renewal of the Church, our collective mission in the world, and his own experience of the Alpha Course in his life and ministry.
It was a most inspiring time as we spent almost 2 hours in Lambeth Palace, of which about half of it was spent in the ancient Chapel.
I had a chance to meet Archbishop Welby personally and speak with him for a few minutes about the ministry of Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption. We also spoke about my family, my ministry, and the teaching that I do at the University of Stellenbosch. He is such a wonderfully warm and affirming man.
In his address to the Bishops he encouraged us to seek a deepened faith life through prayer and spiritual discipline, and to encourage that same life for our sisters and brothers in the clergy and among all disciples of Christ. He also spoke of the important role of the Church to be an instrument of justice and peace in the world - not only is this an act of obedience to God's will in the world, it is also a strong witness of God's love at work in the world. Then, he spoke about the importance of evangelization. It is the task of Christians and the Church to be good news in the world, as well as proclaim good news to the world. We are to do this with love, courage and creativity - he spoke particularly strongly of the Alpha Course as a tool that achieves this task through fellowship, hospitality, and creating the space for questions around faith (rather than giving concrete answers).
It was a most memorable event!
There have been many equally significant encounters with equally important people - the ordinary people like me who come from all over the world - that I would like to write about. I'll do that as soon as I find a few minutes to write. The worship, fellowship, teaching and learning have been just wonderful. I have not experienced anything like it in some years!
Tomorrow I have the joy of sharing in an event for EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption at the Houses of Commons with Dr Tony Campolo. That is set to be another highlight for Christian justice this week!