28 May 2024

Xeverie met 17 young Anglican ministers from around the world. Here’s what she learnt

Xeverie Swee De-Leon with other Canterbury Cathedral New Clergy Seminar. Picture: supplied

Xeverie Swee De-Leon 

28 March 2023

The Reverend Xeverie Swee De-Leon is curate at St Andrew’s Brighton. She attended the Canterbury Cathedral New Clergy Seminar in February. Here, Ms Swee De-Leon describes her experience. 

It has been a great blessing to attend the Canterbury Cathedral New Clergy Seminar. I went to Canterbury hopeful, but with no expectations, to learn about the greater Anglican communion, the instruments of the Anglican Communion and how Australia fits into its worldwide tapestry. 

Our Canterbury cohort included representatives from Zambia, Kenya, New Zealand, Mozambique, Malawi, Scotland, Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Saint Vincent, Colombia, South Korea, Eswatini, Bangladesh, India, Tanzania and South Africa. 

What I gained from this seminar was more than I could ever have prayed for. I learnt from – and formed close relationships with – people from 17 nations, as well as having the privilege of engaging in the cathedral’s unique worship, and in theological exploration with canons of the church and American lecturers. 

During the seminar, a typical day began with morning prayer at 7.30am, followed by Eucharist at 8am, a quick breakfast followed by a day of Bible studies, interspersed with refreshments, and concluded with Evensong at 5.30pm with the majestic Canterbury Cathedral choir. 

Learning about the Five Marks of Mission was an integral part of the seminar, as these express the Anglican Communion’s common commitment to and understanding of God’s holistic and integral mission.  

The seminar exposed a new priest like me to the greater Anglican Communion. 

I learned that the communion is like a root system under a tree. These roots not only tap into the waterbed, but are also linked to each other and tapped on each other’s roots for nutrients and minerals.  

Read More: ‘God will be there at the centre’: Fifteen new deacons ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne 2023

We Anglicans do not have a pope, we are not a global corporation governed by a head office. Instead we are a communion of autonomous and interdependent churches that through prayers, fellowship and mission actively share our Anglican faith and mission.  

This implies that we do not exist in a fixed state with each other but, rather, need continually to re-establish what we hold in common out of the differences and diversity that we embody. To be a “communion” implies an ongoing process of finding what is held in common from within the diversity of Anglican life across the globe. Human interaction is at the heart of what it means to belong to the Anglican Communion, against the tapestry of difference and diversity. 

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Being exposed to 17 nations, I learned that the needs of every nation are different.  How we minister to others is shaped by the context of our countries and states. For example, while talking with ministers from other countries I realised how much I did not know about other nations. In some countries basic needs such as water, food, shelter and education are constant struggles. It made me feel that we could do more for other nations who are in dire need of precious resources we in a developed country could providDee.  

This seminar broadened my horizon. Living in communion with ministers from a diversity of cultures, has stretched out my “Anglican tent pegs” to include the global Anglican churches of different nations.  

I now understand better, with heart and mind, the nature of the Anglican Church worldwide and as a new priest, how I fit into this Anglican tapestry. I am deeply grateful to the diocese of Melbourne for supporting my application, giving me this invaluable opportunity to learn and grow. 

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