International, ecumenical, interreligious guests broaden convention’s outlook

By Matthew Davies
Posted Jun 23, 2015

[Episcopal News Service] Global dimensions are set to resonate throughout The Episcopal Church’s General Convention as international guests representing many of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces will travel to Salt Lake City.

Guests attending the June 25-July 3 convention will also include several ecumenical and interreligious partners who will look to gain a deeper understanding of The Episcopal Church’s polity and legislative processes and celebrate their common mission.

At past conventions, the visitors program has been described as “mutually enriching.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said that including international guests is a “wonderful reminder of how we are connected across boundaries. When we learn from one another, we seek ways of working that we might not have expected.”

The Rev. Chuck Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop, who has coordinated much of the international visitors program in collaboration with staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Global Partnerships Office, said “It is important to help leaders from the other parts of the Anglican Communion, as well as our ecumenical and interreligious partners, to understand who we are as a church and how we come to decisions. But it’s also important for us to learn from them.”

International guests are invited by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Episcopal Relief & Development, Church Pension Group, and various dioceses that share companion relationships with other dioceses throughout the Anglican Communion.

Representatives from The Episcopal Church’s covenant partners – such as the Anglican Episcopal churches in Brazil, Liberia, Philippines, Central America and Mexico – will also attend General Convention and are invited to join the houses of bishops and deputies with seat and voice.

The Rev. Margaret Rose said that the presence of ecumenical and interreligious guests “helps us to see ourselves better.”

Rose, ecumenical and interreligious officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, said, “We are so aware that these guests are not outsiders but partners in the work of the common mission. Outside General Convention we work together on everything from conversations around doctrine and common worship to engagement in common advocacy and projects.  With our ecumenical and interreligious partners we seek unity in peace building as we look beyond ourselves to a world in so much need.”

Another important reason to welcome the guests “is the realization that we are not alone as we look to the future of our institutions,” said Rose. “We are all dealing with many of the same issues and it is good to share both the joys and the struggles.”

International guests include:

  • The Most Rev. Francisco de Assis da Silva, primate of Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
  • The Rev. Arthur Cavalcante, general secretary of Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
  • The Most Rev. Francisco Moreno, primate of the Anglican Church of Mexico
  • The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Hart, bishop of the Diocese of Liberia
  • Floyd Lalwet, provincial secretary of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines
  • The Most Rev. Renato Abibico, prime bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines
  • The Most Rev. Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan
  • The Most Rev. David Chillingworth, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
  • The Most Rev. Paul Kim, primate of the Anglican Church of Korea
  • The Rev. Ibrahim Faltas, a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
  • Archdeacon Paul Feheley, national director of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer Canada and principal secretary to the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
  • The Rev. Canon Phil Groves, facilitator of the Continuing Indaba program of the Anglican Communion
  • The Rev. Canon Michael Rusk, a priest in the Church of England
  • Stephen Lyon, coordinator of the Anglican Communion’s Bible in the Life of the Church project
  • The Rev. Peter Koon, provincial secretary of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Church in Hong Kong)
  • Canon David Porter, director of reconciliation for the archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo, primate of the Anglican Church of West Africa
  • The Very Rev. Graham Smith, dean of St. George’s College, Jerusalem
  • Walid Issa and Lior Frankiensztajn of the Shades Negotiation Program
  • The Rev. Andy Bowerman, co-director of the Anglican Alliance
  • The Most Rev. Albert Chama, primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa
  • The Rev. John Deane, executive director of the Anglican Board of Mission in Australia
  • Adele Finney of the Primates Fund for World Relief of the Anglican Church of Canada
  • The Most Rev. Nathaniel Uematsu, primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan)

Ecumenical guests include:

  • Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Church of America
  • Rabbi Neal Borovitz of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs
  • The Rev. Melissa Garrett Davis, ecumenical officer of the Presbyterian Church USA
  • The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • The Most Rev. Ephraim Fajutagana, obispo maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church)
  • Natasha Klukach, program executive for church and ecumenical Relations at the World Council of Churches
  • Kathryn Lohre, executive for ecumenical and interreligious relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • The Rev. Christopher Meakin, chief ecumenical secretary of the Church of Sweden
  • The Rev. Betsy Miller, president of the Provincial Elders’ Conference of the Moravian Church Northern Province
  • The Rev. Ron Roberson of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • The Rev. Stephen J. Sidorak of the United Methodist Church
  • Emily D. Soloff, national associate director of interreligious and intergroup relations of the American Jewish Committee
  • The Rt. Rev. Raul Tobias, a bishop of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente
  • Anders Wejryd, archbishop emeritus of the Church of Sweden

— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter of the Episcopal News Service.