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SULLIVANS ISLAND, SC: Global Institute Draws Biblical Anglican Leaders for 21st Century

SULLIVANS ISLAND, SC: Global Institute Draws Biblical Anglican Leaders for 21st Century
I interview the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore, the first Director of the Anglican Leadership Institute

By David W. Virtue DD
February 13, 2016

VOL:The realignment of the Anglican Communion is fully underway. We see new and emerging ministries opening and beginning to flourish across the globe and in the US. The latest is the Anglican Leadership Institute. Who and what is ALI?

MOORE:The Anglican Leadership Institute is an outgrowth of the very successful Mere Anglicanism conferences that have taken place in Charleston, South Carolina for years. It is aimed to help produce "biblical Anglican leaders for the 21st. Century Church."

VOL: You are the first director of this "aspen style" institute, but I gather the idea came from South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence. What prompted him to start ALI? What vision did he have to get this going?

MOORE:Bishop Lawrence began to dream of Charleston becoming a place where emerging leaders from around the world, including North America, could come for periods of rest, reflection, study, and grounding in sound, biblical leadership principles. It was birthed in March, 2015, and our first Institute took place during the four weeks of January, 2016.

VOL:You are on record as saying that leadership is the No. 1 need in the global church today. Please expand on that.

MOORE:: In 1959 I stood in Hyde Park in London and chatted with a bright African who assured me that "Christianity was finished in Africa." I suppose he thought it would die with the end of colonialism. How wrong he was. Since then, there has been both exponential growth in the number of Christian believers in Africa, especially sub-Sahara Africa, and a significant Africanization of the church itself. With these burgeoning numbers has come the cry for more leaders who will take the enthusiasm of converts and ground it in solid theology and consistent lifestyle. A.L.I. aims to come alongside emerging leaders and help them fulfill this immense task.

VOL:You had the first gathering of fellows in Sullivan's Island, SC last month. Who were these men and women and from what countries did they come? What is their rank in the provinces they came from?

MOORE: Each of our Institutes can take 14 participants. For our inaugural Institute we had exactly 14 from 11 different countries. We welcomed one ordained woman from Uganda, the head chaplain at Uganda Christian University, Dr. Rebecca Nyegenye. The rest were men from across the globe: Two bishops from Tanzania, Stanley Hotay (Mt. Kilimjaro) and Sadock Makaya (Western Tanganyika). There were three other bishops: Joseph Mutungi (Machakos, Kenya); Jacob Kwashi (Zonkwa, Nigeria) and Cyril Smith (Asante Mampong, Ghana).

In addition there were three seminary deans: Drs. Paul Htinya (Holy Cross, Myanmar), Samy Shehata (Anglican School of Theology, Egypt), and Alfred Olwa (Bishop Tucker, Uganda). In addition Archdeacon Sammy Morrison (Vina del Mar, Chile), Michael Yemba (South Sudan, living in Dallas, TX), Canon Samuel Kahuma (Bunyoro-Kitara, Uganda), and the Rev. Sandipan Sinha (All Saints Church, Diocese of Dugapor, India) all joined us for the full month.

VOL: You had them sequestered here in Sullivan's island for a month in a very interesting castle. That's a long time. What ground did you cover? What were the principal lectures and lecturers did you have?

MOORE: "Sequestered" is not quite the right word. Sullivan's Island is a suburb of Charleston, and we made forays, sometimes daily, into the wider community for meals, visits to historic places, lectures held elsewhere, walks, and preaching in area churches. Our 15-passenger van, and golf cart, kept us very mobile.

Our aim was to approach leadership from a variety of angles: preaching, Bible, culture, and ecclesiology. The Rev Rob Sturdy opened us up with "preaching as leadership". He was followed by Dr. Allen Ross, of Beson Divinity School (AL) on Bible -- specifically how the Old Testament speaks today to particular challenges in clergy leadership. Then we had Dr. Paul Marshall Senior Fellow of the Hudson Institute (DC) introduce us to the global culture we live in, especially where the Christian community faces challenges to its freedom and expansion. Finally, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali (UK) spent four days with us unpacking the origins of Christianity in Britain and the formation of the Anglican Communion.

Along with these principal speakers, 18 chaplains-of-the-day from the Diocese arrived to give brief homilies and lead in Morning Prayer, and I gave daily lectures on great Christian leaders of the past beginning with Tertullian the founder of Latin Christianity.

Finally, each afternoon we were visited by gifted business and clerical leaders who approached the question of leadership from their own contexts. Three bishops, including Bishop Mark Lawrence, were complemented by a cadre of C.E.O's from leading companies -- each sharing their insights on leadership. In addition to these visitors, we took inventories like the Kiersey-Bates Sorter and the Gallup Strengths Finder to assess our own leadership styles. Then, using case studies of real people (disguised), in small groups, we were challenged to think of how we would apply our own leadership styles to given problems.

VOL: What do you think they took away from the month of intense lectures?

MOORE: It wasn't all intense! There was a lot of laughter, some soul-searching, some honest and very vulnerable sharing, and the open-hearted bonding that comes from living together for almost 30 days. One found a fishing rod and cast forth from our beach-front house. Several tasted "roasted" oysters for the first time. Evenings spent watching DVD's of memorable films, and international suppers created by inventive participants wanting us to taste their own particular cuisines, all made for great conviviality.

But there were indeed many lectures. Weekly evaluations helped the team assess whether we were on the right track. Above all we wanted this not to be an essentially "academic" experience. Therefore mostly very positive comments each week kept us on track. Certain speakers struck home more than others; but none struck out. Bishop Lawrence's own testimony of "ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit" really stood out to everyone. But so did the offerings of our C.E.O's -- in fact, each speaker came in for some special appreciative comments.

But you have a point, David. Perhaps in successive Institutes (we plan to have them every January and every September) we will doubtless lighten the schedule up a bit. Most did ask for more time to digest what they were learning.

VOL: While there I heard you give two lectures; one on the life of C.S. Lewis, the other on the life and ministry of John Stott, both heroes of mine. They were thoughtful and engaging lectures. How do you think they impacted our brothers and sisters from Africa? Might not this look a bit like cultural or Western imperialism attitudes and theology asserting itself?

MOORE: Great question, David. You always go for the jugular! I was frankly surprised at how complimentary they were to my stories of "heroes through the ages" culminating at the end, as you say, with Lewis and Stott. I worried that too many of my heroes were English -- revealing my thinly-disguised Anglophilia. Of course, many of them knew John Stott personally, and certainly all had heard of both Stott and Lewis. I was unsure of how many had read Lewis' apologetic works, but Stott made a point of giving vast numbers of his own books to developing world clergy and libraries. So I am sure almost all had access to his writings.

More importantly, I was particularly worried that the whole Institute would appear far too "Western". For that reason I created case studies from developing world countries -- for example, one was lifted from the autobiography of David Gitari, the (now deceased) primate of Kenya. Another was set in S.E. Asia.

Finally, I took a three-day "listening seminar" last August to make sure that my own style as "convenor" was not imperialistic. I think I squeaked by on that one.

VOL: The majority of your fellows were from Africa, no doubt because the African continent has the greatest number of Anglicans in the communion. Was this deliberate?

MOORE: I did want the Institute to reflect the Communion in its distribution of participants. I think it did that, since probably two-thirds of all Anglicans live in Sub-Sahara Africa today. Certainly that would be true of active Anglicans.

But in reality the makeup of this first Institute was more due to the fact that Africans appeared more eager to take a month off from their ceaseless work and come. We need to remember that most African clergy don't "take vacations", and few have "sabbaticals." Also, although many had Western degrees, ongoing opportunities to study in the company of other thoughtful leaders are few and far between. So, the Africans signed up first, and since it was our first Institute, it was "first come, first served."

Interestingly, the September Institute that we are planning right now has three, and possibly four North Americans signed up. So, perhaps the whole thing will balance out as we go forward.

VOL: most of the fellows were youngish bishops who will in time lead the next generation of communion leaders, a month of lectures can be an incredible grounding in gospel imperatives and more. Was this deliberate. What subjects did you cover during this month?

MOORE: We were purposeful in selecting "emerging leaders." We tried to have participants who were in their 40's and 50's rather than those close to retirement or those just out of the gate, so to speak. Our oldest was 58 and our youngest was 29. But most were in the middle of their careers.

Rethinking the "old, old story" in our specifically Anglican way is something that needs constantly to be done. Godly leadership consists not of slick methods learned from innumerable "how to" books, but it flows from lives that are rooted and grounded in Scripture and sound theology. Therefore, we aim to have a balance of head, heart and hand.

I think future Institutes will stress the importance of character as well as competence even more. Bishops came back again and again with questions of what to do with under-performing clergy, people who "kill" churches rather than grow them, and how to motivate more men to be inVOL:ved in church life.

VOL: Were there any hot button issues like sexuality discussed by the lecturers?

MOORE: Of course. You can't get a group of Anglicans in the same room these days without issues of sexuality coming up. The fact that our month coincided with the primates meeting in Canterbury at which the Episcopal Church was "sanctioned" and given a three-year period to repent of its unbiblical actions in affirming active gay sexuality and same-sex marriage wasn't lost on us. Most of our participants are well-aware of what happens in TEC. In fact, when the American church sneezes the rest of the world gets a cold! Papers are filled with lurid stories of American sexual laxity, complemented only by TV shows and movies that show more skin than Brigite Bardot did on the beaches of St Tropez. Couple this with the Church capitulating ethically to the sexual reVOL:ution, and you can understand why the Muslims and others believe that Anglicans are particularly corrupt.

But sexuality was not the only controversial issue discussed. Muslim extremism came in for much discussion, especially as we prepared to be inVOL:ved in Mere Anglicanism at the end of January that focused on Islam.

The overall challenge of secularism underlay virtually all our discussion as we realized that Christendom was a thing of the past.

VOL: The buzzwords of contextualization, enculturation, inclusivity and diversity are now very much part of the theological language of the Anglican Communion. Did they come up at this gathering?

MOORE: You are right. I think the Africans particularly love to use the word "context." "In our context..." is the introduction to many a question or statement.

But the fact is that their home situation is vastly different from our own. Not only do they live in a culture of scarcity, while we live in a culture of plenty, but they have tribalism to deal with. The most interesting conversation I had was with several Africans about the challenges new Christians face coming to terms with the cultic dimensions of their own home tribal communities -- especially when they have to visit their home villages after living in a city and coming to a new realization of their relationship with Christ.

Diversity for them is different than it is for us. Here, it means political, worldview, religious, racial and intellectual diversity. Take a slice of Anglicanism in America and you'll discover enormous diversity on these fronts. There, in their home communities, they may have more ostensible unity since life is divided into tribal communities (except in the growing cities). What they have to deal with is Muslim, Hindu, Native African religions, and tribal diversity. It is both more pronounced than here, and more subtle. "I am because we are" is still the way Africans discover their identity. It is communal while ours is individual.

VOL: At the same time you were meeting some 36 primates of the Anglican Communion were meeting in Canterbury to ask if the Anglican Communion had a future following several decades of arguing over the limits of human sexual behavior. Were you at all concerned that if the Anglican Communion had split then the ALI would have become irrelevant?

MOORE: Another "go for the jugular" question! But a good one. I believe that fear over the potential divide in global Anglicanism is greater in the West than it is in the developing world. While we in the West assume that all these multi-hued Anglicans just can't wait to come to London and have tea with the Queen, they are really much more focused on the mission before them: how to win their neighbors, and their countries to Christ. They know that suffering is a part of the Gospel, and a mark of the church. They see death and illness much more frequently than we do, and the existence of anti-Christian groups does not scare them.

However, they do need a global Communion in ways that might surprise us. Beset by "prosperity-Gospel preachers" flowing like a putrid waterfall from our American shores onto their pristine lands, they appreciate a global Church that stands for historic Christian teaching. They also count on Anglican leaders, most especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, to come to their rescue when religious extremism threatens believing communities at home.

Even if Anglicanism were to split into two or more communities, something none of us wishes but that may become inevitable depending on The Episcopal Church's response to its recent scolding, A.L.I. will continue to focus on raising up emerging leaders to take the Church universal through this century and on to the next. Its relevance may be even more heightened.

VOL: It would seem that, for the present, the communion remains intact and the work goes on. Are you at all worried about the influence The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion Office might have on the Global South, or are you confident that with ministries like ALI that you can counter TECs intrusion into the global south with its money, mores and manipulation?

MOORE: In 2004 my wife and I stood at an outdoor amphitheater in Kabare, Uganda. It was there that the East African Revival caught fire in the late 1920's from Rwanda and then spread throughout Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. I recall saying to myself: "Here is where the Anglican Communion was saved."

What I meant was that it has been the strength and theological fortitude of East Africans (plus Nigerians, who had their own revival) that has bolstered those of us in the West who have tried to stand firm for orthodoxy.

It is now our turn to come alongside them. They do face a revisionist movement in the Western church that seems determined, even openly saying so, to influence the Africans to jettison their moral scruples against same-sex behavior and join "the movement of history" in accepting pansexuality as a given.

There are various ways we can help our developing world brothers and sisters. Anglican Relief and Development Fund is one. Various churches reaching out to support mission endeavors around the world, and offering relief when disaster strikes, is another way. But Anglican Leadership Institute is a very shrewd move that I credit to Bishop Lawrence -- and to our supporters. It will lift up a credible truly international form of Anglicanism that is learned, but not excessively academic, and that is grounded firmly on the Scriptures as our authority and on the Anglican Prayer books and formularies as its wise and comprehensive expression.

VOL: The Global South is, for the most part, orthodox in faith and morals, but Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says that the global culture favors the drive of pansexuality and gay marriage and he hopes to persuade African Anglicans that the tide is in his favor. Do you think that a movement like ALI can counter that?

MOORE: Every tide has its ebb tide. The pansexual revolution that The Episcopal Church has pinned its hopes on will eventually have its downside. As the waves of unrestrained expressionism begin to flow backwards, the detritus left in its wake will vindicate those who have resisted its siren call.

VOL: Was there any discussion about homosexuality by the ALI fellows. Did you sense any theological ambiguity or anger at Western cultural intrusion into their lives?

MOORE: I would not call it anger. Sadness, and confusion are two words that I would use. Undoubtedly, homosexuality exists in Africa -- as it does almost everywhere (except in Orthodox Judaism, Robert Gagnon is quick to say). But it is not just the existence of sexual adventurism that upsets our brothers and sisters elsewhere, it's the celebration -- indeed the canonization -- of just about every sexual aberration other than chastity and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage that disgusts them.

Of course, we discussed these things. One of our case studies was of an real American rector married to his same-sex partner. An African bishop was the hypothetical assisting bishop in that diocese, visited by a troubled group in that church. What would he say if he accepted their invitation to come and speak to the congregation? How would he talk with his senior bishop about his views that were so radically at variance with the norm in that diocese? It made for lively discussion.

VOL:The cost of bringing these fellows to the US doesn't come cheaply. How are you funded and how can people help to make future gatherings like this possible?

MOORE: It costs us approximately $10,000 for each participant who comes to America for one of our month-long Institutes. We believe that God is calling us to welcome these brothers and sisters as our guests.

Eventually, if we have more North American participants that average expense will go down slightly, because we do not pay airfare for North Americans to come. But our goal is to raise enough money each year to enable 25-30 participants to be with us.

Initially, we were bolstered by a lead gift that got us off to a great start. But annually we'll have to raise at least $150- $250K to keep A.L.I. afloat for years to come.

I would invite readers to please look at our website: www.anglicanleadershipinstitute.com It is full of surprises!

VOL: Thank you Dr. Moore.

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