[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Anglican Church of Southern Africa will launch a Decade of Intentional Discipleship at its biennial renewal conference, Anglicans Ablaze, later this year. It follows the call from the Anglican Consultative Council, at their meeting in Lusaka in April (ACC-16), for “every province, diocese and parish” in the Anglican Communion to “adopt a clear focus on intentional discipleship” as part of a “season of intentional discipleship” to run for the next nine-or-so years.
The launch of the Decade of Intentional Discipleship will “signal the start of a season of vision sharing and preparation ahead of mobilisation,” the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, said.
In a letter to the archbishops of neighbouring provinces, inviting them and their bishops to bring or send young people to the event, Archbishop Thabo said: “The aim in this conference is to involve young people fully, and to expose, inspire, equip, and encourage participants to return to their communities and engage in holistic mission, evangelism, discipleship and service in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
A range of speakers has been lined up to take part in the conference, including Advocate Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s Public Protector, who was recently named by Time magazine as one of the hundred most influential women in the world.
Around 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference. Some dioceses in the north of South Africa are negotiating to have special “Anglicans Ablaze” train carriages to take the young people to the event.
“That should be fun,” Archbishop Thabo said. “They will already be ‘blazing’ by the time they get to Cape Town!”
The last Anglicans Ablaze conference was held in 2014 and was attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. He brought tears to participants when, in an impromptu gesture, he washed the feet of 12 young people in reference to Jesus’ teaching that whoever wants to become a leader must become the servant of all.
“The 2014 Anglicans Ablaze conference was an apt place of unity, grace and rich Encounter,” Archbishop Thabo said. “It was a ‘wow moment’ as we encountered Christ as we engaged with each other!
“Everyone was there – all races, varied languages and different ages. High-Church and Low-Church, Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals and Charismatics, that is, if these artificial divides matter to you.
“God’s ever present presence was among us in a special way. Our common life was enriched by our diversity – even if some of us found some of the expressions of worship different to what we are used to!
“It was an amazing celebration of God’s love pouring through us, transforming us into a holistic life of evangelism, discipleship, integral mission and social justice. This breath-taking aesthetic of Anglicanism shone through as we allowed God’s inspiring love to weave gloriously into our different threads and enveloped us.”
Anglicans Ablaze 2016 will be held from 5 to 8 October at Bishops’ College, Rondebosch, Cape Town. The theme is “Vulindlela – Open the Way!”