An African archbishop who’s concerned to keep the Anglican Communion together through tense times has taken a leadership role in the Anglican Alliance.
The Most Rev. Albert Chama of Zambia, archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, became chairman of the alliance’s global board of trustees in April. In coming months, he plans to shepherd a new program for the international charity’s development, advocacy, and relief work, according to an Anglican Alliance news release.
“The Anglican Alliance can be a catalyst for change, bringing people together across the Communion in our shared mission to build a world free of poverty and injustice,” he said.
For Archbishop Chama, the moment is ripe to harness the potential of an organization that brings together Anglicans from developed and developing nations in a common cause. In 2012, he spoke of the need for Anglicans to work side by side even though their cultural contexts influence what sexual behavior they find acceptable.
“What could happen in Canada cannot be in Africa,” he said about same-sex blessings last year. “What can happen in Africa is not possible in Canada. It’s up to the individual people now to accept that we can work together, but we are different.”
At the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, which he attended in Toronto last year, Archbishop Chama said he was learning about the important role mission has to play in holding the Communion together.
Chama said that in his new role as chairman he will draw on his experience in Africa, which he noted has long grapped with poverty, sheltering refugees, and caring for children orphaned by HIV and AIDS.
The region is also home to inspiring examples, he says, of Anglican churches and agencies working for change through microfinance, livelihood training for vulnerable children, and advocacy to urge governments to promote equality for women.
“It falls to us to take forward the alliance,” Chama said, “to realize the potential of the vision, to support and build on the good practice, to network, build capacity, share expertise, harness resources and skills for mutual support, and use the leverage of the worldwide Communion to benefit the dispossessed.”
G. Jeffrey MacDonald