Last week, Gusour Cultural Center and the Diocese of Egypt were honored to host Archbishop John Chew, who gave lectures and led some incredible dialogue. Archbishop John was the third Metropolitan Archbishop and Primate of the Province of South East Asia, as well as Bishop of Singapore. ++John remains a crucial voice and perspective on the growth of Christianity in the Global South, and the beauty and importance of Christians across the world listening to and learning from one another’s rich theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural traditions. It was truly a joy and a privilege to have ++John in our Diocese!
Gusour and the Diocese hosted two public lectures in the evenings. Tuesday evening, we thought through the Abrahamic tradition and the “mandate” for the children of Abraham (Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike) to be a blessing to the nations. He challenged us, asking how and if we are fulfilling our purpose to be a blessing to all nations. Especially in conversation with people from other (ancient) faiths, he has found it helpful to start with the ancient foundations of our faith and the beautiful history of the people of God. Thursday evening focused on the life of Joseph, who lived much of his life in Egypt! We looked at Psalms 77, 78, and 80, historical Psalms which recount God’s faithfulness to his people through their trials and struggles. Even when we are not faithful, God always is!
On Wednesday, our clergy and lay ministers had the opportunity to have a more intimate conversation with ++John. The Archbishop emphasized the need to “build bridges” with the Church in Asia not by dialoguing around Western theologians like Martin Luther or John Calvin, but by going back to our shared heritage as children of Abraham. He also suggested we pay more attention to biblical figures like Jeremiah, who lived just before the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius!
As always, Archbishop John brought a crucial perspective and greatly expanded our minds and our thoughts. We are so thankful for his willingness to come and to share with us!
Please pray for the ongoing ministry of ++John as he continues to teach from and about the Bible. Please also pray for the growing church in South East Asia! Pray that God would raise up indigenous leaders and local theological education for the this strong and important part of the body of Christ and the Anglican Communion.