Thursday, 5 March 2020

‘Rejoice in the Lord always’:
USPG conference and this
year’s Lambeth Conference

The Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick in Derbyshire … the venue for the USPG conference 20-22 July 2020 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I spent most of Wednesday [4 March 2020] in London at a meeting of the trustees of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

During the day, I heard about the planning for this year’s USPG conference, with the theme ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’: God’s People in God’s Mission.

This year’s conference takes place from 20-22 July, immediately before the Lambeth Conference. For some years now, the conference has taken place at the High Leigh Conference Centre near Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. But, after some years’ absence, the conference is returning this year, for the first time since 2016, to the Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick, outside Alfreton in Derbyshire.

This year is also a momentous year for the Anglican Communion, which UPSG seeks to serve. The Lambeth Conference takes place from 23 July to 2 August, and the pre-Lambeth Conference Hospitality week, 17-22 July, brings many opportunities for engagement with global mission for many in the churches of Britain and Ireland.

USPG is playing a full part in this hospitality initiative, and this includes this year’s conference in Swanwick.

A number of USPG’s partner churches are celebrating significant anniversaries this year. The Anglican Churches of Tanzania and Myanmar, and the United Churches of North India and Pakistan all mark their 50th anniversaries this year, and USPG has been invited to these celebrations.

This year’s conference in Swanwick offers an opportunity to gather with a number of bishops and their spouses from around the Anglican Communion ahead of the Lambeth Conference, to pray and reflect together on our common mission as the people of God, to be inspired for service in Christ’s name and to reaffirm USPG’s role in this, God’s mission.

The speakers at the conference include Professor Esther Mombo, Associate Professor at Saint Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya; Dr Paul Ueti, Anglican Alliance Theological Adviser and Latin American Regional Director, Assistant Director for Theological Education for Lusophone, Francophone and Spanish-speaking regions of the Anglican Communion; and Bishop Emelyn Dacuycuy and Bishop Carlo Morales of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

Online bookings for the USPG conference in Swanwick are now open HERE

Praying through Lent with
USPG (9): 5 March 2020

Over 1.5 million people were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkemau … some of the furnaces remain to this day (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I am on my way back to Askeaton today [5 March 2020] after attending a meeting in London yesterday of the Trustees of the Anglican mission agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), at the USPG offices in Trinity Street, Southwark.

During Lent this year, I am using the USPG Prayer Diary, Pray with the World Church, for my morning prayers and reflections. Because this year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the end of the Holocaust, I am also illustrating my reflections with images on this theme.

USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential, and champion justice. It was founded in 1701.

This week (1-7 March), the USPG Prayer Diary is focussing on ‘Theological Education: a Key Pillar of Mission,’ with a particular focus on Bishop Gaul Theological College in Harare, which takes its name from Bishop Billy Gaul, an early SPG missionary from Ireland. The acting principal, Bishop Chad Gandiya, is a former Regional Desk Officer for Africa and the Indian Ocean at the USPG office in London.

Thursday 5 March:

Give thanks for people involved in theological education worldwide – both learners and teachers.

Readings: Esther 14: 1-5, 12-14 or Isaiah 55: 6-9; Psalm 138; Matthew 7: 7-12.

The Collect:

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
Give us grace to discipline ourselves
in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Lenten Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Continued tomorrow

Yesterday’s reflection