The Reverend Canon Justine Coverdale is the Chaplain to John Wollaston Anglican Community School, in the Diocese of Perth, Australia. She shared some reflections with the Lambeth Conference team about the Lambeth Calls and how Anglican schools and churches are taking them forwards in her setting.
What excites you about the Lambeth Calls and why are the themes important to think about? How do they support the life of the Anglican Communion and/or address issues in the world today?
I am excited about the invitation of The Lambeth Calls to work collaboratively across the Anglican Communion to meet the global challenges of the world today.
I think most people are daunted by the scale and complexity of global issues such as climate change, inequality, injustice, poverty and conflict.
The 24hr news cycle and social media raise our awareness of global issues and increase our sense of powerlessness and impotence. Hence the growing anxiety about the future, especially amongst young people.
The Lambeth Calls provide a hub of information, inspiration, and activism which any church or individual can access to share their story, hear from others, and consider what action, however small, they can take to make a difference.
Thinking globally and acting locally, restores hope. It also gives us another way to bring our Christian beliefs and Anglican values to life.
You talked about how some of your churches are discussing the Lambeth Calls in your setting. Can you share a couple of the ways in which you are seeing this happen?
In Anglican schools in Western Australia, we are passionate about many of themes addressed by the Lambeth Calls. Anglican schools, like churches, are keen to strengthen their Anglican Identity, to share the good news of Christ and grow disciples.
Anglican schools seek to be relevant and engage with issues of social justice, the environment and reconciliation. Students of all ages are deeply concerned about these issues and want to know where the Anglican Church stands and what action is being taken that they can be part of.
At this early stage, in our setting we are beginning to unpack the resources provided by the Lambeth Calls website and consider the opportunities provided for our community to connect and contribute to activities happening in different places across the community.
In my school we are taking a renewed interest in the Five Marks of Mission as a focus for our Service-Learning program, Bible Study groups and Religious and Values Education (RAVE) curriculum.
Many students are keen to be involved with the Communion Forrest which we discovered through a webinar on The Environment and Sustainable Development. Our school is in the foothills of Perth, close to forest areas and our students are concerned about issues of deforestation, loss of habitats and fire.
At the moment we are exploring how trees are part of the spiritual life of our school, and considering how they might be incorporated into our sacraments and rituals such as baptisms, funerals, Ash Wednesday etc.
There is also an interest in how indigenous spirituality and deep understanding of the seasons and ecology of this place may be honoured by our church, as part of our commitment to reconciliation.
Which calls feel particularly important for churches in your part of the world at this time?
In Western Australia, I think churches are mostly concerned about discipleship and mission, and evangelism. Some are also passionate about issues of inequality and injustice.
In Anglican schools we think Anglican identity, reconciliation, and the environment are important issues.
Personally, I think “Science and Faith” is an important issue to young people, who often assume Christians are irrational and hostile to Science. A key feature of Anglicanism is reason and promoting this aspect of our identity is very important in our part of the world currently.
What are you personally thinking through – what stands out to you in the Lambeth Calls?
The Lambeth Calls have the potential to put energy into the Anglican Communion and give voice to a great many members in diverse places. We have a wonderful opportunity here to learn from one another.
Personally, I am thinking through ways of bringing children and young people on the fringes of the Anglican Community into this exciting global conversation.
What change would you like to see as a result of people exploring them?
I’d like to see a positive energy move through the Anglican Communion, new voices being heard and responded to, and all of us gaining a deeper understanding of our church and its people – not just our traditions and heritage but a new focus on the hope we could carry into the future.
- This article is part of our wider ‘Being Anglican’ series, where Anglicans from around the world share what the Lambeth Call on Anglican Identity means to them, and how this theme supports the life of the Anglican Communion. Find the ‘Being Anglican’ reflections shared so far here.
- For more information on our next webinar about Being Anglican and the Lambeth Call on Anglican Identity click here.