By Fr. Malcolm Reid
|My insufficiently guarded lips have been known to say that when there is trouble in the church it too often begins with bishops! Well, they are sinners like the rest of us, and yes, they do on occasions lead the church into troubled waters. But I must now gladly confess that this has not been my experience in working closely Archbishop Bob Duncan and then Archbishop Foley Beach as Chairman of the US Trustees of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. |
The archbishops serve as Presidents of ARDF by virtue of office and they appoint the Chairman upon the recommendation of the Trustees.It has been my privilege and joy to sit next to these chief overseers (episcopos, see I Timothy 3:1-7) of our church in chairing the meetings of ARDF-US for the past six years. As St Paul says, bishops are to be “…temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, and an apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money.” (vv.2-3) In my personal relations with them, they fulfilled all these requirements and more. They are humble men who were always supporting and encouraging me- a sometimes fearful and uncertain chairman.
This past year, ARDF Egypt and Kenya were added to the list alongside the US, Australia and Canada. I mention this because it shows that other Anglican Provinces have taken note of the sound organizational and financial work of ARDF and want to emulate it. They also rely on the great staff of ARDF-US in Pittsburg to administer their projects. I have visited Flora Galbraith (Office Manager) Christine Jones (Director of Mobilization) and Kellii Hemple (Development Associate) at the ARDF office in Swickley and seen them hard at work. They welcomed me warmly and were eager to help me understand their complex and often difficult work better.
|Egypt and Kenya joining ARDF has allowed Bill Diess (US Executive Director of ARDF) and me to get to know the new Archbishop of Kenya- Jackson Ole Sapit and the Archbishop of Egypt- The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis– the most respected Anglican Archbishop worldwide.The Global Council of ARDF is composed of seven archbishops from around the world. The best part of the three Global Council meetings I attended were the personal testimonies of faith in Jesus shared by the seven archbishops, and the often agonizing assessment of the political, economic and spiritual needs of their countries.|
I end with a story that I hope will help you to sympathetically understand and pray for these godly leaders of our church worldwide: At the second of these meetings I had gone through the breakfast line and was looking around for a place to sit. I saw an Archbishop sitting by himself (I withhold his name to protect his privacy). I introduced myself and he thanked me for ARDF’s work he much admired. He then shared that he wanted my prayers because a few years ago he had lost his greatly loved wife. He went on to say he had married again, and his new wife was a very good woman, but all these years later he still missed his first wife so much.The archbishops leading ARDF have needs in their personal lives just like the rest of us, in addition to the needs of the countries they represent.
The ministry of ARDF is a beautiful testament to the power of Christ enabling normal people around the world to join together and serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, even in the midst of many challenges. Please join me in praying for these archbishops, as well as the other leaders of ARDF.
– Fr. Malcolm