This weekend there were two major events within the Greater Body of Christ (i..e the Global Church) that will literally affect the entire world.
The first event happened on Friday, March 16th, when Archbishop Rowan Williams announced that he would be stepping down as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of 2012 in order to accept the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Seeing how Archbishop of Canterbury is the symbolic head and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is the fourth largest Christian communion on the planet, this is a pretty big deal. It becomes even a bigger deal once you consider the impact the new Archbishop will have on the currently decades-long theological standoff within the Anglican Communion between more traditional Global South members and the theological liberalism of the Western/North American members.
Interestingly enough, one of the top four contenders currently in consideration for the job is the Uganda-born Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. Currently the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, Archbishop Sentamu used to be a member of the High Court of Uganda before running afoul of then dictator Idi Amin. I bring this up because if Archbishop Sentamu is selected as the Archbishop of Canterbury it would mean a greater connection to the Global South, which may be enough to swing the Anglican Communion back to a more historical-church foundation (a good thing in my option as a third-party watcher).
The other big event that happened this weekend was the death of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the Pope and Lord Archbishop of the Great City of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Orthodox and Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark the Evangelist and Holy Apostle, on Saturday, March 17th. If you haven’t gathered, I am talking about the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a 12~ to 18~ million member worldwide fellowship of Jesus followers.
Sadly the death, or shall I say, the going home, of Pope Shenouda III comes at the worst possible time as Egypt is still in the middle of chaos following last year’s revolution. Seeing how Pope Shenouda III had a good reputation between both Christians and Muslims, it was hoped that he could help the country navigate the chaotic waters ahead. However it looks like Jesus had other plans….
May the Holy Spirit guide the Anglican Communion and the Coptic Orthodox Church as they seek King Jesus’ direction who He has chosen to lead them. May the Lord rise up the right person for the job and empower them to make a difference in the world for His Name Sake. Amen