Theological Education Group meets in Harare, Zimbabwe

Signposting the Anglican Way: Theological Education Group meets in Harare, Zimbabwe
 Posted On : March 29, 2011 10:27 AM | Posted By : Webmaster
Related Categories: ACO – Theological
The second meeting of the Steering Group of TEAC 2 (Theological Education in the Anglican Communion) took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, February 17 – 24 2011, at the invitation of Bishop Chad Gandiya, Anglican Bishop of Harare and a member of the Steering Group. It was chaired by Archbishop Colin Johnson of Toronto, Canada.
Although problems with obtaining a visa for Zimbabwe had prevented several members of the Steering Group from getting to Harare, and their input was missed, the fidelity and witness amidst persecution of Bishop Chad and his clergy and people offered a vital context for TEAC’s work.
The Group offered two days of ‘Continuing Ministerial Education’ to about 80 clergy from the Diocese of Harare and other Dioceses of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. The training developed themes explored in the Signposts statement  which seeks to set out the essentials of the Anglican Way, ‘Formed by Scripture’, ‘Shaped through Worship’, ‘Ordered for Communion’, ‘Directed by God’s Mission’. Members of the Steering Group gained as well as gave, honoured to meet with the courageous clergy of the diocese and learn of their experiences. The powerful Shona song, “Namata urinde” “Watch and pray” (which can be heard in the audio player below) marked the beginning and end of the teaching sessions and seemed an extraordinarily apt watchword for these Christians standing firm in their faith in spite of difficulties and dangers.
All the members of the Steering Group were also privileged to take part in Sunday services in the Diocese. Almost all the churches of the Diocese are not currently accessible to the priests and people, so congregations meet in a variety of locations, halls, schools, even a racing club! But the harassment and persecution that has been experienced over recent years has, if anything, made the Church even stronger, with worship locations being packed out and over-spilling, and worship itself marked both with great dignity and great joy.
Over the following three days  the Steering Group planned the priorities of TEAC for the coming year. TEAC is committed both to encouraging a greater understanding of the ‘Anglican Way’ in theological education, and to the support and equipping of theological educators.
They agreed on the aims, programme and hoped-for outcomes for the forthcoming consultation for Anglican theological college Principals to be held in Canterbury, England, in May 2011.
The Group also committed itself to working throughout 2011-2012 to develop the Signposts series of booklets (linked to the Signposts statement) of which the first two, No 1 a general introduction to the statement and No 2 ‘An Anglican theology of Mission and Evangelism’ appeared in 2008[1]. We intend to produce four more over the coming year, on the Bible, Word and Sacrament, the role of Bishops, and the question of culture.
There was also initial discussion of a major project to create an e-course (online learning) on the Anglican Way that would also take its structure from the Signposts statement. This work will begin shortly after the Principals consultation.
The story of the encounter of Jesus with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24.13-35) was like a thread that ran through the meeting. This powerful account of the resurrection experienced by disciples in the midst of difficulty and danger spoke to the situation the Group found itself in during their time in Harare. The biblical text also resonates deeply with the Signposts’ themes: the disciples are ‘Formed by Scripture’ as their hearts burn while listening to Jesus expounding ‘Moses and the prophets’; they are ‘Shaped by worship’ as they recognise the resurrected Jesus during the breaking of the bread; they are ‘Ordered for Communion’ as they return to Jerusalem realising the need for engagement with the apostles; and in their joyous sharing of what had happened on the way, they were totally ‘Directed by and for God’s Mission’.
For more information about the work of TEAC (Theological Education in the Anglican Communion) contact its secretary Clare Amos, Director for Theological Studies, at
[1] Copies of both booklets are available via the Anglican Communion online shop. Signposts No 1 is available for £2.00 + postage; Signposts No 2 is available for £1.50 + postage. Signposts No 1 is available in Spanish and Chinese as well as English.

I have only just picked up this report from ACNS on the  Meeting of the ‘Theological Education in the Anglican Communion’ (TEAC) Group in Harare, Zimbabwe, in February of this year.In the circumstance surrounding this meeting, one cannot but contrast them with the protestations by the ex ABC,  George Carey, about what he sees as a process of ‘Persecution’ of the Church in England. Here, in Zimbabwe, we have concrete evidence of what it really means to be a Persecuted Church. The difference in situation makes Bishop Carey’s claims seem ridiculous in the extreme.

 Zimabawe has long been an arena of persecution of the Anglican Church there – from the machinations of President Mugabe and his corp of militant henchmen, who – supported by a former schismatic Bishop of the Church – have continued to  lock clergy and congregations out of their church buildings in Harare and in other places – where opposition to the Dictator and his iniquitous regime has been firmly but quietly enunciated.

The fact that various Church Leaders from other countries have been refused visas to attend this important education conference bespeaks the regimie’s determination to continue it’s regin of terror against the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. However, despite this obvious deterrent, one must praise the initiative of the organisers of the Conference – especially the present Bishop of Harare, The Right Reverend Chad Gandiya, whose cotinuing leadership of the Church in Zimbabwe is a great strength to those trying to minister in that dangerous and difficult situation – for their clear insight into the real needs of  the Church and people in Africa and elsewhere in the Communion, in proposing further means of education, through the work of TEAC throughout the Anglican Communion. Special thanks are also due to Clare Amos and the members of her committee for this report.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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