This article was originally shared December 2019.
The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina through the ministry of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center has been mightily blessed to offer hospitality to many international guests throughout the years. Over a particular three-week period in September and October, international guests from among worldwide Anglican leaders and missionaries graced us by their presence and faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Visitors from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, Pakistan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Honduras and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were all among us. St. Christopher was particularly blessed to host these Anglican leaders all at one time because they were in the Diocese as scholarship recipients for attendance at the New Wineskins Conference 2019.
While all attended the conference at Ridgecrest in North Carolina, some arrived in advance of the conference for a time of both visitations and rest, some returned following the conference for the same, and some were with us both before and after. They were made available for preaching and speaking opportunities throughout the diocese with all having that opportunity. All told, 20 different congregations of the diocese welcomed guest preachers from among our diocesan and parish-hosted guests. Additionally, others visited schools and homes, small groups, Bible studies and Water Mission.
While at St. Christopher, they enjoyed walks on the beach, golf cart rides and driving lessons, visits to the Herpetarium, prayer time at The Prayer Center, speaking at the weekly staff chapel, and ample table fellowship in both the dining rooms and at the Rectory. Their thanks and appreciation for their experiences in our midst are characterized in numerous “WhatsApp” messages that continue to be received. Archbishop Elect Stephen Kaziimba, soon to be the Ninth Archbishop of Uganda wrote, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…This is to sincerely appreciate the wonderful hospitality you and your team accorded us at St. Christopher…Thank you. I left the place rested, restored and renewed.”
Similarly, Bishop Seth Ndayirukiye, Diocese of Matana of the Anglican Church of Burundi, wrote, “It has been a great joy to be with you and thank you so much for your prayers and hospitality.”
The relationships that were fostered and nurtured throughout the visits of our international guests are those that will continue to provide mutual encouragement and support as we all continue in a journey of faith in trying times. While the experiences of many of our guests in their own context are shaped by vicious persecution and death threats for proclaiming Jesus, their assurances of their steadfast prayers and support for The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina in its stand for Biblical authority and its vision for making Biblical Anglicans for a global age is of immeasurable worth.
Using the theme of the New Wineskins 2019 Conference, we truly are “Better Together.”
By The Rev. Robert S. Lawrence, Executive Director, St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center
(Image by Bob Lawrence)