The new Chief Executive and General Secretary of USPG, Mrs Jeanette O’Neill (centre) with Patrick Comerford and Linda Chambers de Bruijn of USPG Ireland
This year’s USPG conference came to a close this afternoon at the High Leigh Conference Centre near Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. This morning’s programme was an opportunity for the new Chief Executive and General Secretary of USPG, Mrs Jeanette O’Neill, to introduce her vision for the society and her approach to the challenges facing Anglican mission in the 21st century.
“We are a Church-to-Church society,” she said, and emphasised the call to strengthen partner churches in the Anglican Communion.
Constantly she emphasised the need to build and develop partnership and relationships. She talked about support for new bishops in their role and in their advocacy. But what does that mean for the people the church serves at grassroots, through programmes in health, education, capacity building and human rights.
She brings key experiences to USPG, and she spoke of her previous work as Senior Programme Officer with Episcopal Relief and Development in New York, involving partnership in development programmes with the Anglican churches in Africa, particularly in Uganda and Southern Africa.
She has also worked for ten years in Lesotho, where she joined the board of a mission hospital, and watched the HIV/AIDS crisis unfold in that time.
She spoke of how she had been “dazzeled” by the way people at conference had a sense of ownership of USPG, in an unbroken chain of links back to the foundation of SPG in 1701. She pointed out that USPG dates back to 1701, before the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707, so that “we predate the country we are living in.” She said USPG “is built on the work of the saints who have gone before and the legacy they have left.”
Bishop Jo Seoka of Pretoria, who has retired as an international trustee, told the conference he was assured that USPG is “in good hands.”
An early morning walk in the countryside near High Leigh this morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)
The conference concluded with the Eucharist celebrated according to the South African rite by Bishop Jo Seoka of Pretoria. The preacher was Canon Edgar Ruddock.
The conference has been attended by almost 200 delegates and participants from over two dozen countries, including a dozen or more bishops, among them three primates, and they came from most Anglican provinces and from every continent where there is an Anglican presence.
The new Chief Executive and General Secretary of USPG, Mrs Jeanette O’Neill (right) with the Revd Dr Alan McCormack (left), a council member from the Diocese of London and formerly of Trinity College Dublin, and Patrick Comerford (centre) (Photograph: Chris Dobson, 2011)
Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, member of the Council of USPG, and a director of USPG Ireland and USPG Northern Ireland.
Post a Comment