The Rev’d James Spencer talks about his trip to England for a clergy conference—the full story with photographs will be in the upcoming October issue of Anglican Life.
“Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” – Luke 24:18
“Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem?”
As I look through my notebook, filled with the doodles and the occasional jotted point from my two weeks at the Conference for New Clergy and Seminarians at Canterbury Cathedral earlier this summer, I find this portion of scripture written almost on its own on one of the first pages. I remember writing it there. And I remember the deep sense of introspective dread and loneliness that I felt as I wrote it.
I had come to Canterbury, the home of Anglicanism, to learn, experience, and grow with others from all over the world, who like me were just starting out in their life of ordained ministry. Most had come from various parts of Africa, but there was representation in our group from nearly every continent. The conference was an intense period of worship, Bible study, and education on a wide variety of subjects, given to us by a number of instructors and church leaders, all with the awe-inspiring backdrop of Canterbury Cathedral and its surrounding locales and history.
One of the things we were told during the Conference was this: “There is no Anglican Church. There is the Anglican Communion of Churches.” And I realized that yes, maybe I am a stranger in Jerusalem. But I am not the only one. I am part of a communion, where everyone can find a place, and where every gift, every personality, is welcomed.