Dr Carey tells spouses of Communion `anchored in real life'
by Sally Hastings
The use of violence to enforce religious beliefs was denounced by the Archbishop of Canterbury in an address to the Spouses' Programme yesterday. Giving a keynote presentation--``Together in God's Mission:The Vocation of the Anglican Communion in the 21st Century''--Dr Carey said: ``We are often told that `religion is a cause of the problems. Just look at what is going on in the world today between religious groups, whether in Northern Ireland, the Sudan or the Middle East.' ``But I reply: you will not find true believers killing people or blowing up houses or injuring others. ``The Gospel is about peace, and Anglicans have made a fine contribution to making peace and building bridges between communities.'' Dr Carey added that the Anglican Church is a rich, international world Church on its way to becoming `a Communion.' ``But we shall only become a real `Communion' when we learn the lessons of sharing the suffering, the pain and the distress of one another; the poverty and the denial of justice; along with the sharing of our riches and resources.''
After visiting the Sudan Dr Carey returned home burdened by what he had seen but frustrated that there was so little he could offer immediately. He called for the setting up of a crisis fund. ``I began an appeal and raised £400,000 within a few weeks and sent money to the Church.But I should not have to do that, even though I was glad to do so. If we really are a Communion we should have structures to assist one another,'' he said. He spoke of his initiative, the Anglican Investment Agency, which he described as a simple but imaginative way the Communion can use the huge funds of the developed churches to help the developing churches. He also referred to the ``scandal'' that so few provinces of the Communion pay their full contribution to the Anglican Communion of Churches budget. ``Should we not return home from this Conference to our provinces and say that our dues to the ACC budget must be paid because we weaken the Communion by our reluctance to give?'' he urged.
Focusing on the vocation of the Anglican Communion in the 21st century, he said the Church was already learning that we must welcome people, care for them, ensure that they feel at home in our worship, and relate our faith to the needs of people outside. The presentation included Peter Williams' video footage of Dr Carey in Mozambique and spot-photos by Jim Rosenthal of Anglican World. Growing churches are welcoming, with lively worship. ``Services can be a lot brighter and more interesting than they often are.They need to be culturally relevant to the people we minister to,'' Dr Carey said.
He also encouraged Anglicans, particularly in the West, to be less apologetic about being spiritual.``The world wants us to speak of God; to speak of our faith, our love of God and the meaning of life and death.'' Posing the question `What is distinctive about the Anglican Communion?' Dr Carey said: ``We have never claimed that we are the final form of Christianity or that we are a perfect Communion.What we have claimed is that we are both `catholic' and `'reformed.'' Anglicans also are ``anchored in real life.'' He argued that Anglicans have never been comfortable with just preaching the Gospel, but have always endeavoured to live it and put it to work.
As examples he listed the five particular forms of ministry in which the Church has been active:
"By their fruits you will know them,' said our Lord to all who follow him. We are there among the poorest of the world, and we are glad to be,'' Dr Carey said.
He spoke of the importance of young people.``Let us be affirmers of young people; let us use their gifts, use them in God's service, be good role models for them.'' Dr Carey also paid tribute to the role of women.``Women are the natural `priests' of the home; they are at the epicentre of family life; indeed the family swivels around the mother. ``But women can also be natural evangelists and the transformers of society with their gifts of relationships and their connections in the community. ``I want to encourage these gifts for the sake of the kingdom,'' Dr Carey said.
A video featuring work by women in India brought to life Dr Carey's praise for women's ministry. He added his thanks ``for the support you give your bishop partners; thank you for the sacrifices you have made, and for the way you support and help us.''
is communications officer for the Spouses' Programme.