[Lambeth Palace] Archbishop Justin preached in Nairobi Oct. 20 during a visit in the wake of the Westgate mall attack last month.
He was a guest of Archbishop of Kenya Eliud Wabukala.
During a sermon at All Saints Cathedral, the archbishop said the pain endured by people had been “very great,” adding that Kenya had responded to the attack with “faith and courage.”
The archbishop was visiting Kenya to offer condolence and solidarity following the attack, while encouraging Archbishop Eliud and other bishops and clergy ministering around the Nairobi area.
Following his sermon, Welby had lunch with Wabukala, five Kenyan bishops and those Anglican primates who had arrived early in Nairobi for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which starts Oct. 21.
The archbishop was unable to attend the conference due to a prior engagement in Iceland and the baptism of Prince George in London, but has sent a video greeting.
‘A new way of being together’
Preaching on Hebrews 13:1-10 and the Acts 6:1-7, the archbishop spoke about divisions within the church.
While differences have always and will always exist, he said, the church throughout its history has failed to settle them in a way that “points to Jesus.”
The issues currently dividing the Anglican Communion highlight the need for “a new way of being together” that reflects the 21st century, he said, rather than “the old colonial pattern.”
These new structures – which would only be discovered through “discernment, wisdom, and above all prayer and searching the scriptures” – must not be “for ourselves or our own satisfaction or power or ambition.”
Instead, as in the Acts, they must support the work of declaring the Gospel and bringing people to faith in Christ, he said.
Those who lead the communion must have “worship and mission and witness and evangelism as their aims and passion,” he continued.
The more serious the crisis the church faces, he said, the more seriously we must take the Bible. “Through the Bible you come back to face God, in sorrow, in despair, in hope, in anger, in loss.”
The archbishop ended his sermon by describing what the community that follows Jesus looks like.
“It avoids the great areas of sin that tempt all of us, in all our cultures in different ways,” he said.
The writer of Hebrews, addressing a persecuted people, might have been expected to offer advice on defense, he said. But instead he gave them “advice on holiness” – in particular on avoiding abuse of power, sexual sin, and love of money.
“A church that will flourish, a people that will find God as faithful, base themselves in the Bible, that endless store of riches, and in holiness of lifestyle, the practical life of Christian obedience,” he said.