The American Anglican Council (AAC) is committed to developing faithful leaders – laity, clergy and bishops – in every part of the church. Our Clergy and Lay Leadership Institutes have impacted hundreds of leaders in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and we continue to develop and refine these ministries. In mid-April, we began another component of our leadership development initiative. The AAC’s inaugural Bishops’ Leadership Summit (pictured above) took 10 recently consecrated ACNA Bishops on a week-long training retreat at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, NC. Along with these participants, we brought together a wonderful teaching team of eight senior bishops who addressed the life and ministry of the bishop. The bishops discussed their call to be servant leaders, how to handle discipline and mediation, preventing clergy burnout and much more.
Describing the training, one participating bishop said it “touched on the primary topics that I deal with as a bishop but that no one sort of says ahead of time, ‘hey, this is what you’re gonna have to do.’… It gave us intentional time to look at the issues and ask reflective questions. How am I doing at this, and could I do better?”
The American Anglican Council put this week together and organized the whole training because we view training bishops as a strategic priority with great potential to change the future trajectory of the ACNA as well as the entire Anglican Communion. That’s why we will help train Anglican bishops in East Africa this summer.
In late August I will join Dr. Alfred Olwa of the Anglican Church of Uganda and Dean of the Bishop Tucker Theological Seminary in Mukono, Uganda where we will train bishops and archdeacons. We will work with Bishops from around Africa to be better leaders just as we did at the Billy Graham Training Center. I can’t tell you how excited we are about what this opportunity could mean for Christ-centered Anglicanism worldwide.
Paul said in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4 that “we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.” At its heart, our bishop’s training material is all about servant leadership. We help bishops recognize their calling to be servant leaders in the church who focus not on themselves but on Jesus Christ. We help them face the real-life ministry challenges in their role as bishops. We equip them with biblical principles and best practices to help them in all they do. And we help them draw upon the Holy Spirit in Apostolic ministry.
I’ll keep you up to date on our progress when I get back from Mukono. In the meantime, please consider praying for and supporting our bishops training initiatives
The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey is President and CEO of the American Anglican Council.