Delegates at the Lusophone Network meeting in Porto have set out plans to focus on four key areas as they seek to develop the group. And they want to create a Lusophone Network Day of Prayer across the Communion – on the last Sunday of the Church year, the Feast of Christ the King.
The Network is to concentrate on strengthening its work in theological education; development/care for creation; work with women and young people and communication.
Network co-ordinator, Bishop Jorge Pina Cabral, said: “We are now an established network and it is time for us to cement our work in these areas and move forwards. There are many opportunities for mission for us. Together we can be more prophetic and be a strong voice for our people. We now need to develop our work in theological education to help our Churches cope with the challenges of their contexts.”
During the six-day conference, delegates heard presentations from various dioceses across Angola, Brazil, Mozambique and Portugal and details of work carried out by agencies such as ALMA, MANNA, USPG and the Anglican Alliance. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs, Bishop Anthony Poggo, spoke to delegates about the Communion and there was also a presentation from the Revd Rachel Mash of the Green Anglicans.
Bishop Jorge said he had been encouraged by the gathering: “We have learned more about our stories and become friends. We have realised the diversity of the contexts in which we live but also celebrated how we united we are in Christ. I would like to thank everyone who came for the part they played in making the event a success.”
In its presentation, the Brazilian delegation spoke about how it was strengthening teaching about Anglicanism for the clergy and non-ordained people through a distance learning scheme run by Junet – the National Joint Committee on Theological Education. But it also noted its struggles with lack of finance and other resources – echoing the situation facing the Church in other parts of the Communion as reported by ACNS last week.
Delegates also had the opportunity to visit some of the social work the Church is carrying out in parts of the city of Porto – in particular its work with children and elderly people. A number spoke afterwards about how touched and inspired they had been by what they saw. They also had the opportunity to visit parishes across for their services and share worship with local people on Sunday.
The next meeting of the Network will take place in 2021 or 2022. The venue is yet to be confirmed but will be in Africa.
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