Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Toronto Accord Third International Conference on Afro-Anglicanism July 20-27, 2005 Toronto, Canada

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Toronto Accord Third International Conference on Afro-Anglicanism July 20-27, 2005 Toronto, Canada

Article excerpt

Introduction

For eight thiys of prayer, listening, reflection and fellowship, over 275 Afro-Anglicans gathered in Toronto, Ontario, to give support, among other things, to a conference objective of providing increased visibility to people of the African Diaspora in Canada. The participants hailed from eleven provinces of the Anglican Communion-the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, the Provinces of Central America, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Southern Africa, West Africa, West Indies, and the Episcopal Church of the United States. The conference welcomed non-Afro-Anglicans who came to share our faith journey.

As we gathered to explore our current realities, our theme"Celebrating the Gifts of Afro-Anglicanism," helped us to explore current issues while charting a course for the future.

We reflected that each time we have gathered, Barbados in 1985 and Cape Town in 1995, we have made a fresh connection to our African roots. The vision, of the two in whose names we come together. Robert Spencer Chester Powell and Walter Decoster Dennis, has remained a vital and important historical legacy.

We were blessed by the contribution of great insight from our keynoters, plenary speakers, panelists, preachers, reflectors and the generous number of younger members of the community. We have been blessed by the warmth and hospitality extended by all, and have valued and appreciated the work of the International Planning Committee. Program Committee and Local Host Committee and the many contributors and financial benefactors.

We cannot help noting that similar to our past two gatherings, we met at a time of great turmoil and unrest in civil society, and in the Anglican Communion.

Our Common Heritage

In the city of Toronto, we appreciated the historical fact that Anglicanism, in the form of a European subculture, has communicated with a variety of African cultures on the continent of Africa and in the Diaspora. Out of that, Afro-Anglicanism was horn. At the dawn of this third millennium, where the world is aggressively becoming a global village, and where there is a risk of losing our God-given diversity through globalixation, we felt the need to reflect on the virtues, vibrancy and vitality of our common heritage.

Afro-Anglican identity may not mean that we all have a set of shared values, but it definitely means that we share common human concerns. The IIIV/AIDS pandemic is a matter of concern for all of us, whether we live in Africa, in the UK, in the Caribbean, or in North America. People in our communities who are infected, do not have access to adequate health care, and those who are affected are getting poorer. Our children have less access to good schools. All of us are struggling with the integration of our young people into the current structures of the church. The vast majority of our people live in abject poverty. Today, experiences of marginalisation and exclusion are yet not unknown to all of us.

Afro-Anglicanism is an ideal context not only for cultural interaction, but also for profound discussion and discernment on how to make our world a better place in which to live. We should continue to value and celebrate our differences, and avoid temptations of divisivencss by enforcing patterns of uniformity. Our Anglican Communion needs to be a listening church based on the solidarity of compassionate love.

Afro-Anglican Spirituality

We have been richly blessed by the celebration of the Word of God through the corporate study of Holy Scripture. We have realized in our time together the wealth of common experiences and the depth of spiritual fervor and inspiration, which this common sharing has afforded us. Our commitment to read, hear, and share has been reinforced. We wish to commend the regular weekly practice of Bible Study in every Afro-Anglican congregation.

Our young people in attendance have expressed their yearning for the church to more boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. …

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