Ending Global Racism

Conference on Afro-Anglicanism, October 29, 1985

As the struggle for racial justice took an international turn, Black Anglicans attempted to re-define themselves and address their issues in solidarity as members of the Anglican Communion. The Reverend Canon Frederick Boyd Williams, drawing from his study on Pan-Africanism and his work and participation in the anti-apartheid and black freedom movements, founded the Conference on Afro-Anglicanism. The Conference continues to be a gathering of bishops, clergy, and lay people that addresses global, family, and spirituality issues in the context of Anglicanism and their shared African heritage.

Held every 10 years, the inaugural conference convened in Barbados in 1985. The Codrington Consensus, a statement adopted at this meeting, contains the objectives of the Conference and a declaration of Afro-Anglicans. Cape Town, South Africa, hosted the next meeting in 1995 at the invitation of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ten years later, the Toronto conference focused on issues that affect the lives of Afro-Anglicans, including the challenges of human rights, new democracies, HIV/AIDS, and young adults in the life of the Church.

Within the Episcopal Church, Afro-Anglicanism has shaped a more culturally enriched vision of what constitutes a black congregation today. Black churches have traditionally offered their services to the surrounding communities in an effort to satisfy the educational and spiritual needs of their communicants and others in need. Their outreach continues and now extends to the influx of Haitians, other Caribbean peoples, and Africans including Somalians, Liberians, and other immigrants from a large Anglican population of Africa.