The 16th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) opened in Lusaka with over 120 Anglican leaders from Botwana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe (Province of Central Africa) being part of the over 500 congregants attending the ceremony graced by Zambia’s Republican President Edgar Lungu.
The service celebrated in splendid style was characterized by song and dance by various groups which included women’s choirs, brass band , soloists and mass choirs that later saw the President and several clergy join in the dancing at the much publicized ACC 16 hosted by the Province of Central Africa.
The meeting under the theme “Intentional Discipleship in a World of differences” which ends on 19th April 2016 will offer an opportunity for the Anglicans to pray , study and plan for the next three years.
In his sermon, Head of the 85 million Anglicans worldwide Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Portal Welby explained that in the Central Province, whether in Malawi, in Zimbabwe, in Botswana and in Zambia, history matters; and in the nation of Zambia the story of Independence, the challenge of tribalism, the capacity to change governments peacefully matter most.
“Those stories need telling, but they need telling in the way of Deuteronomy. They need telling with God at the centre of them. And more than that, because we are what the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church calls ‘a Jesus people’, we must tell the stories with the risen, living Jesus Christ at the centre of them,” he said.
Archbishop Welby added that every country which has a Christian heritage must have a Christian centre to nourish that heritage, and thus it must speak of liberation and reconciliation, of peace and human development. “But it must always speak of them as the gift of a gracious God. In recognizing our dependence on God, whether as individuals, as a church, as the ACC or as a nation, we find our true freedom,” he stated.
The Archbishop also noted that the way we tell the story is set for us in Psalm 1. As it describes righteousness as something which is sustainable, and evil as something which carries the promise of its own destruction, and so when we speak of the story of the church, of the story of the nation, of the story of society, we must speak of both righteousness and wickedness.
And speaking at the same function Republican President Edgar Lungu described being part of the service as an extraordinary honour to be at a rare occasion which marks a historic landmark in Africa, bringing together the diversity of Anglican Communion to Africa, and Zambia in particular.
President Lungu said the occasion has not only given impetus to Zambia’s peace and unity status but was also a reminder of the inevitable need for the people of Zambia to nurture what we have as a nation by continuing to live in harmony as one family, making it each and everyone’s responsibility to uphold this exceptional record.
“My government continues to appreciate the role that the church plays in national affairs and wishes to pay glowing tribute to the Anglican Church in Zambia for being developmental partners in the country’s growth throughout these decades.