Anglican bishops and others have been participating in a series of monthly “bishop’s conversations” in preparation for next year’s Lambeth Conference, where bishops from around the world meet every 10 or 14 years or so. The theme for December is “Leadership,” and conversations took place on December 7 and 9. The conversations are private, but each month some of the participants share their thoughts about the topic on the Lambeth Conference website.
“So, as a leader you are called to mobilize people around vision, around resources and around sustainability. You are called to serve. You are present, and you cry, and you share, and you celebrate with people. The ministry of presence is very, very important as a leader. So, for me, those are the three words that come to my mind when we think about the bishop, as the leader – their stewardship, service and mobilization.
“We are called to go and make disciples, and Jesus commissions the Church to do that. I think the first priority should be mission, winning souls for Christ, evangelizing so that we may continue expanding the Kingdom of God.”
– Paul Korir
Bishop of Kapsabet, Kenya
“I don’t think leadership is a particularly Christian concept. It’s not really present as a word in the New Testament, and it’s a concept that has become quite popular today. When I think about leadership from a Christian perspective, I think about things like service. It’s really another word for the ministry and I play out my ministry through my role as a leader.
“We’re all in this together. I don’t have all the answers. I think it’s really important for us as Christian leaders to acknowledge we don’t have all the answers.”
– Guli Francis-Dehqani
Bishop of Chelmsford, England
“On the subject of leadership, and particularly as a bishop, the phrase that comes to mind is ‘scan the horizon’.
“If COVID did nothing else, it disabused us of the notion that we know what’s coming or can plan for it. And so it’s a great lesson in humility that we don’t actually know what’s next. But I do think that it’s also been a lesson in interdependence. Viruses don’t care about borders, and they don’t care where you come from. So, in one way, it’s been a summons to flexibility.”
Sumner is a member of The Living Church Foundation.
– George Sumner
Bishop of Dallas, United States
“It is exciting to be a leader at this level because the scope for imagination and creativity is very wide. So, it’s exciting in that regard, that you have so much to do, but perhaps frustrating that there is very little time to be doing those things.
“In my context, I always want those who work with me, and also those that we work amongst, to be able to look at the issues of food production. For me, food security is key in this part of the world, and especially with this whole climate change issue. … I say to people, we can’t destroy the environment that God created. But if God is in us and is with us, we can still save the planet.”
– Cleophas Lunga
Bishop of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
“At the heart of Anglicanism, is the incarnation, a sense that we follow a Lord who came to earth and lived a fully human life. And that means that we have to respect the very different contexts, the different earth that different Anglicans walk on in different parts of the world. For me, that’s about building relationship and I often say to people here, God so loved the world he didn’t send a zoom invitation, he came in person. And so we need to meet in person, to be in relationship.”
– David Walker
Bishop of Manchester, England