6,000 celebrate with the ACC

ENS reports more than 6,000 attended the Anglican Consultative Council opening eucharist:

The opening Eucharist May 3 was hosted at the National Arena in Kingston by the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and the Province of the West Indies and featured Jamaican drummers and dancers, and combined reggae music with incense-laced Anglican high-church liturgy. Deacon Garfield Campbell chanted the gospel and the congregation sang Jamaica reggae legend Bob Marley’s “One Love” during the passing of the peace.

A hymn, “Lord of our diversity,” was commissioned for the gathering. Poet Mervyn Morris and composer Noel Dexter of Jamaica used music that recalled Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” to ask that God would “sanctify our listening and help us get the sense of perplexing arguments before we take offense.” Another verse prays that God would “teach us that opinions which at first may seem quite strange may reflect the glory of your great creative range.”

All of the Anglican churches in Jamaica were closed May 3 so that their members could attend the service. Between 6,000 and 7,000 people worshipped with the ACC, including ecumenical and interfaith leaders as well as representatives of the Jamaican government and the diplomatic corps. The Eucharist was broadcast live on Jamaican television, complete with color commentary from the back of the hall.

The Anglican Journal’s report is here.

ENS has also provided video of the sermon delivered by Rowan Williams. From the ENS report:

Williams’ message reiterated remarks he made to ACC the day before when he called for a “proper focus on theology and our mission” and called mission “one of the elements that most securely and profoundly binds us together as a communion, not just an assembly of local enterprises.”

The ACC has both a chair (Bishop John Paterson) and a president (The Archbishop of Canterbury) and their brief opening remarks for the ACC’s first plenary on May 2nd are presented in this podcast provided by ACO.

Colin Coward has more photos, text of the hymn and commentary here. In a post he wrote yesterday he comments:

If the Listening Process were being implemented in Jamaica with people like those I encountered this afternoon, it might genuinely be possible to open people’s hearts and minds and come to a deeper understanding of the mystery of human sexuality in its infinite, holy variety. I suspect there are many bishops who would be willing to take the risk but don’t because their Primate has issued an edict against it.

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