CA 2020 ANNUAL CONFERENCE REPORT
One God. One Humanity. A challenge to people of faith to unite within, with others, with the environment and with God.’
At the annual conference this year we heard the story of the orange tree. The oranges on the tree are a gift from the tree to the people.
As the fruits grow and ripen, the branches of the tree bow down heavily, laden with the fruit.
When the oranges are picked the people who eat them are nourished. tree also benefits as it is relieved of the heavy fruits and its branches
spring back into place.
The storyteller at the conference was Josiah Idowu Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council. He was formerly
Bishop and then Archbishop of Kaduna in Nigeria.
Kaduna is in Central Nigeria and has been a place of turmoil and suffering as Christians and Muslims fought and killed each other. At the
conference the archbishop spoke of forty years of suffering with a total breakdown of trust. His work in Kaduna was to seek to repair
divisions, empowered by his understanding that Christians and Muslims worship the same God and that listening is the key to peace and
shared work. From this base he was able to address issues of poverty and ill health.
Alan Race, whose paper will be included in the summer magazine, also emphasized encounter as the only way forward in any situation
where diversity has become a blockage instead of a gift from God. Alan spoke of the wonder of diversity,’ and said that ‘Truth emerges
from encounter.’ No-one should fear developing a relationship with people of another religion. This is a very enriching experience when
entered into sincerely and with trust.
The Middle East is one of the most difficult places on earth to bring interfaith understanding, working together and the prospect of peace.
Bill Schwartz has lived in the region for many years and is now the archdeacon of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. He is the author of
a book published by Christians Aware.
Bill has spent much of his ministry working to break down misunderstandings between the people of faiths in the Middle East. He will write
for future magazines and has invited another Christians Aware group to visit his diocese.
The presentations and seminar groups at the conference helped us all to understand that there is ‘One God and One Humanity’. We can all
work for a spiritual unity in situations of religious diversity and nothing is more important for the future of the earth.
The bible study at the conference was given by Joshua Raja, who works with the Oxford Centre for Mission. Joshua’s bible study will be
included in a future magazine. He spoke of one race, the human race, and emphasised that God’s promise is for every person. He
remembered the tsunami in India, when the people of different religions came together to help the victims. We don’t need a tsunami to
meet, listen, learn and work together.
Seminar groups included India, Pakistan, Sikhism, and interfaith work for healing and well-being. Geoff Weaver led the music and singing at
the conference. We are always grateful to Geoff and particularly this year. The Saturday evening anthology od singing and reading was
We heard poetry from George Herbert, R.S. Thomas, T.S. Eliot and others.
One of the readings was from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
‘Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them.’
‘We are not simply to bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.’