Last month, 11 members of the Anglican Mission traveled to Gisenyi, Rwanda and Kagera, Tanzania for the third installment of the Apolo2 and Musa formation programs. Each program took place over the course of a week, offering clergy members of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania the opportunity for further theological training as well as fellowship with other clergy and lay leaders in their diocese and with clergy and lay leaders on the AMiA team.
During the Musa program, Father David Brookman, Canon Christopher Caudle, Father Ken Dean, and Bishop Kevin Donlon met with 30 clergy members and select lay leaders at the Kagera Theological College. The themes they explored were Anglican Church History, Anglican Ethics, and Anglican Faith and Practice, topics suggested by Dean Absalom and Bishop Aaron.
The Creed was also central to the trainings in Kagera, led by Father David Brookman, Father Don Curran, Margaret and Michael Hesford, and Father Bob Kelly.
This was Father Don Curran’s third time participating in the Apolo2/Musa program.
“It’s the relationships that keep me coming back,” said Curran+ who is rector of Chris the King Anglican Church in Ocala, FL. “Some of the participants have been here all three years and I look forward to being with them.”
“The clergy and lay leaders we train have huge responsibilities,” explained Curran+. “There are 375 parishes under Bishop Aaron, and only 67 priests. One of the men I talked to is in charge of eight congregations. He doesn’t have a car, so he leases a motorcycle to get around.”
“Another priest I met oversees 10 congregations,” continued Curran+. “He sees each one about once every two months and has lay people who take over when he isn’t there. One of the incredible things about the Apolo2/Musa program is giving the participants theological training that they take back to their lay leaders and we see a multiplier effect to our efforts.”
In the course of the trip, AMiA members had the special privilege to attend the consecration of Canon Vithalis Sunzu of Kagera as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Biharamula. The six-hour liturgy was on the site of the new Cathedral and was presided over by Archbishop Jacob of Tanzania along with AMiA Mission partners Bishop Aaron, Bishop Sospeter, and Bishop Jackton. Bishop Kevin Donlon brought greetings on behalf of the AMiA, the Apostolic Vicar +Philip Jones, and the College of Consultors.
After the consecration, the Apolo2 team gathered in Gisenyi, where the guiding theme of the training was Affirming Our Faith in the Creed: Living into the Baptismal Covenant.
During the week in Gisenyi, Bishop Carl Buffington, Canon Christopher Caudle, Father Andy Doan, Bishop Donlon and Amy Elliot led the clergy in discussions, small group exercises and interactive activities on the themes of God the Father, Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit and the Church, along with Baptismal Promises. To read Bishop Carl’s reflections on this year’s Apolo2 trip, see his blogpost on Practical and Sacramental Meet.
During both weeks of training, special services for anointing, laying on of hands, blessing of chrism and the sharing of the Eucharist were combined with local customary singing and dancing.
This year’s program also included a special seminar for Men’s Ministry lead by Archbishop Kolini, Bishop Buffington, and Canon Tim Smith.
“The continuing success of Apolo2/Musa in the Congo and Tanzania certainly has been a blessing to the clergy and laity on both sides of the ocean,” said Bishop Kevin Donlon. “Its effectiveness in ongoing theological formation has resulted in numerous inquiries from other bishops in the region on how this approach can be brought to them. As a Mission Society, the partnerships from the US, Canada and India with the Partners in the Communion, we are setting a new standard for how jurisdictions and religious societies will minister together in the future.”
Feedback from the partners each year is that the training is getting better and better. In three years of running the program, more than 200 clergy have been trained in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 125 in Tanzania. These clergy take the training back to their diocese, where the reach is multiplied.