The second international Anglicans Ablaze Conference was held in Johannesburg from July 2nd-4th 2014. Some 2000 people from 43 dioceses and 18 countries gathered, with their bishops, to focus together on the theme of ‘Hope is Rising’.
The conference was organised by Growing the Church, (GtC) the growth institute for the Province of Southern Africa which also oversees Rooted in Jesus, and opened by Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of South Africa. The keynote address on the first full day was given by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, who spoke of his three ministry priorities of prayer, reconciliation and witness and then led a special session for the youth. His visit had a huge impact – “The Bishop of Canterbury washed our feet! He washed our feet! His humility has really shown us who Christ is!”- one young woman said, summing up the general feeling.
++Justin was followed by Oscar Muriu who spoke on ‘Growing Leaders’, and then by Alison Morgan who spoke on ‘Living as Disciples of Jesus – the Tools of Transformation.’ We also ran a Rooted in Jesus workshop, attended by some 350 people, that same afternoon, presented by Alison Morgan, Estelle Adams (the Provincial Coordinator for RinJ and a member of the GtC team), Bishop Martin Breytenbach of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, the first diocese in South Africa to adopt RinJ, and Nicole Corlew, Coordinator for RinJ Junior and also a member of the GtC team. Other speakers from the UK were Bishop Graham Cray (Fresh Expressions) and Lucy Moore (Messy Church).
It was very encouraging to meet with many people who had been using Rooted in Jesus, and with others interested in introducing it, not just within Southern Africa but also from outside the Province, in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The worship, led by +Martin Breytenbach and the ‘Blazing Band’ was uplifting and beautiful. Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland (Africa’s only woman bishop) delivered an inspiring prophetic charge to close the conference. Plenary feedback was vibrant and encouraging; one young man, Joel, from Uganda, testified:
- “Are you serious, the archbishop with the youth? And a bishop here playing the music; the humility here has really challenged me. Alison preached about God’s word and it really touched my heart a lot because God was speaking to me and saying my word is power, and whenever I speak a word it turns into an action. And I think, I have spoken so many words in my life that have gone out without power. And God was saying to me, every word that comes out of your mouth should go out with power – and that really challenged me… I am leaving this conference tomorrow with a totally new thinking, a totally new attitude. I am completely changed.”
If you would like to listen to Alison’s talk on the Tools of Discipleship, or to any of the speakers at the Rooted in Jesus workshop, you can do so by visiting the RinJ website videos page or by logging straight into youtube here.
News from other parts of Africa where RinJ is in use is also encouraging:
- Coordinator Stephane Mkata has visited 22 groups in just 4 parishes in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, all established following the first RinJ conferences in the Diocese of Katanga last February. He reports that “Groups include non church members (one is composed entirely of non church members), and some are held on church premises, some in the city. The group leaders and pastors pray for the group members, and members are enjoying reading the Bible and praying together. One woman testifies that since she has been in the group her life has changed, and her prayers are now being answered.” A Lubumbashi University student leading a group in his parish writes “With RinJ, the parish of Kolwezi has just experienced exponential growth – within just one month a parish with 20 church members increased to 50, all of them committed”
For more recent feedback visit the news page on the Rooted in Jesus website.
“Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”