Solidarity and Global Mission in the Age of Covid

Solidarity and Global Mission in the Age of Covid

For Such A Time As This, USPG’s 2021 conference, began with a session focused on the theme of solidarity between mission partners in the Covid-19 era.

The Rev’d Duncan Dormor, General Secretary of USPG, opened Solidarity and Global Mission in the Age of Covid by asking: “What sort of time are we living in? What is God calling us to at this time? How do we, as sisters and brothers in Christ, express solidarity with each other across continents?”

Attendees then heard from the Venerable Christopher Futcher and the Rev’d Anne Futcher from the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, who led us in worship. Canon Fuad Dagher provided musical accompaniment and George Vidyakin read from Romans 12 whilst Dr Angel Alofabi and Canon Stephen Thanapaul led us in prayer as part of this opening act of worship.

The Rev’d Angela Bosfield Palacious provided an insightful bible study, using the story of Esther as an inspiration for the USPG Conference. Rev’d Palacious said: “Like Queen Esther, we have been born for such a time as this, to make a difference with our gifts. She was faced with a formidable foe, and took to prayer and fasting in response. Just as she needed wisdom and strength to persevere, so do we”. In addition to this, Rev’d Palacious also meditated on the messages of hope found in 2 Corinthians 4:7, Peter 2:7, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, John 4: 1-42 and more. Rev’d Palacious spoke from her own experience of working as a “contact tracer” during the pandemic, offering spiritual support to Covid-19 patients as part of this, and her reactions to the devastation caused by climate change. She also said: “Let us be the watch-people on the wall, warning of the approach of climate change. With regard to racism, we must rise up individually and collectively to show more love”.

The Rev’d Duncan Dormor’s keynote speech likewise reflected on Esther, prompting him to ask attendees, “What are we being called to as Christians in our global present? How are we to proclaim afresh the Gospel at this time? How do we sing to the Lord a new song, of hope and reconciliation? I believe the key to mission at such a time as this lies in solidarity with each other”. Rev’d Dormor’s contribution also highlighted the importance of mutual understanding, deep listening and difficult conversations in fostering and developing relationships across the Anglican Communion. He called the pandemic “a Kairos moment, a moment pregnant with opportunities that need to be taken, so that as brothers and sisters together we might renew our solidarity across borders of identity and nationality. It’s time to act on climate change, racial injustice and vaccine inequity - the clock is ticking for many of our brothers and sisters”.

The Rev’d Dormor then answered questions from attendees on creating new forms of solidarity, how USPG should deal with its own imperial history, gender injustice during the Covid-19 pandemic and other topics.

Rachel Parry, Director of Global Relations at USPG, provided updates on the work of mission partners over the past year. Particular highlights included seminars run by the Asian Theological Academy and gathering with the Churches of North and South India for a Covid-19 response roundtable. The Rev’d Canon Richard Bartlett, Director of Mission Engagement at USPG, showcased the work that USPG has been doing in Britain and Ireland. Rev’d Canon Bartlett focused on the monthly sermons USPG produces, the Make COP26 Count programme, Lent courses over Zoom and the many webinars that USPG has hosted over the last twelve months.

The Rev’d Paul Gurnham, the host of this year’s USPG conference, closed the session in prayer.


Speakers included: The Rev’d Angela Bosfield Palacious, Associate Priest at Christ Church Cathedral, Nassau in the Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, The Rev’d Duncan Dormor, General Secretary of USPG, and various representatives from the Episcopal Church in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

 

To read more about the other conference sessions and to watch the recordings visit the links below.

Prayer, Presence and Provision in the Pandemic

Racial Justice: Recovering Spiritualities, Restoring Justice

The Cry of Creation: Creativity in the Church