Minimum price 50p Dec 2017 - Jan 2018 Issue 4 number 3
God’s church touches every tribe and nation The Right Revd Henry Scriven
I The Editors
Alexandra Green Louise Heffernan Sheila Hills
Silvia Joinson David Pope
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bumped into someone in the corridor recently. She’s called Anastasia and she has just started working at Church Mission Society. I leave my employment with CMS after almost nine years in early December, but I am delighted that we
are still very international in our home staff; we probably have about 10 different nationalities working in our office. Anastasia is from Hungary but she speaks Roma- nian, English and German and she works in our finance team. Of course, our work is about God’s mission around the world in 49 countries including the UK, so it is vital that our home staff remind us of the multi-national nature of the church.
My most recent trip in October, and indeed the last before I retire, was to Northern Argentina and Chile. In Argentina I was at a meeting of the bishops of the Province of South America. Some of them are British, who were sent by the South American Mission Society, but others are nationals and one is a mission partner from Singa- pore. For me the most significant people were the three indigenous Amerindian bishops from the Chaco region of Argentina. They are from the Wichi and Toba tribes and are well respected in their communities which comprise 150 churches which worship in their own languages and with the Scriptures and liturgy in Wichi and Toba. They receive no salary and are hoping for a little help with mobility to visit their parishes. They shared of their experiences after just over a year of Episco- pal ministry and it was fascinating for me, knowing a bit about their cultural context, to hear about what God is doing in the Chaco and to know that we here in Oxford play a small part in their ministry by prayer and giving.
Abingdon is not really very cosmopolitan, but I was surprised to learn that the Chi- nese church in Oxford is opening a house group here; and it would be interesting to know how many different nationalities are in our streets on an average Saturday morning.
On All Saints’ Day (which we celebrated on Sunday 5th November) one of the read- ings is from Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
God’s church touches every tribe and nation, and we are immeasurably enriched to the extent that our experience of God the Trinity is shared with those of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Maybe we should seek more people out who are not like us and invite them to share with us, so that we will be blessed by their perspectives and insights; and so that we can all look forward to gathering round the throne together.
The Right Revd Henry Scriven is an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the diocese of Oxford and preaches and presides in the parish
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