Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Second Day in Ghana, October 15

Today we woke up and had a lovely breakfast overlooking the Cape Coast. We then piled into the bus for what was going to be an exciting day!  We went first to the Bishop's Court.  There we met with Bishop Daniel in a more formal setting.  He welcomed us and we were given water. In the tradition of the tribe here water is a sign of a hospitality. We received our water and then we were introduced to the Bishop Coadjutor elect Dean Victor.  He is the dean of the seminary and a rector.  We also met the various leaders of the diocese including the headmistress of the school at the Bishop's Court.

The bishop then spoke these words: "I am Bishop Daniel and I am the servant of the servants of God."  Wow!  What a wonderful way to begin.  He then talked with us for a while focusing his conversation on the unity of God's diverse creation.  He was passionate about God's love and joy in diversity; unity and not uniformity.  Then Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and Canon John Peterson, former Secretary General and current President of the Compass Rose Society spoke.  We each introduced ourselves.  It is at these moments that I am proud to represent the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.  Both Bishop-elect Victor and Bishop Daniel were delightful. Bishop Daniel was humble and kind.  He is very wise to be sure.

When we were done we were taken by Bishop Daniel to meet the tribal chief of the Cape Coast.  His name is Osabarimba Kwesi Atta, the second.  We were brought in with drums and singing.

We then greeted the tribal council and they greeted us. We were given water to refresh us. Then there was an exchange of greetings. Once again there were introductions all around.  Afterward I found out that one of the woman chiefs (for both men and women can serve as a tribal chief/elder) has a sister in TEXAS! It is truly a small world.  Then there was a lot of dancing.  I joined in of course and there was a great deal of love and happiness and joy in the room. It was a powerful experience of welcome.

Then Chief Osabarimba talked with us.  He is an Anglican choir member and often is known to speak and quote the bible at the local church where he attends.  He did so in fact with us and he repeated the message that we are all part of God's family, that we are to love one another, that we are to follow Christ and to serve God.  Bible verses floated in and out of the message he had for us.

Afterwards we shared smoked octopus while we talked a bit.  Then the most gracious thing happened. We had of course presented the chief with the Jerusalem tile of the Compass Rose, in turn he gave each pilgrim a gift.  Truly generous!  Then I was humbled to be invited to pray a blessing upon the chief which I did.  What a gracious moment for me.  Afterwards we took pictures with him and visited with the tribal council before going to visit the Cathedral Church.

Christ Church Cathedral is across from the British slave trading fort! Today it is a lively center of the Ghanian Church here in Cape Coast.  With a mix of worship from drums to the hymn book they are a growing and thriving congregation.  The Dean greeted us as did the staff and we were able to hear about the work they are doing.  We learned that Canon Peterson and Canon Kearon would be made honorary Canons of the Church of the Cape Coast an the Cathedral there!

We had lunch, then journeyed to see the Portuguese slave trading cite. We will visit the British Castle on Thursday. Here is the entry to the slave castle.

What I am amazed at is how the tragedy of war and slavery and the diversity of tribal communities has impacted the culture here in a very profound way.  The focus of ministry here is unity, love, a focus on Jesus and the spreading of the Gospel, and a true desire to be Anglicans and to form Anglicans.  Because, Anglican spirituality is a faith of reconciliation and love where all people can come together and be one family.

It was a good and beautiful day.

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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