Iy seems that the charismatic renewal is having a revival, among Anglicans at least. It was quite strong in the 1970s, and seemed to disintegrate in the 1980s, but a couple of years ago a group of Anglican renewal organisations, including IViyo loFakazi bakaKristu (the oldest), New Wine, Soul Survivor, and Growing the Church held a joint conference and decided to work together more closely. This was the second joint conference, and it was attended by over 1000 people.
It was interesting to see some of the differences from the renewal of the 1980s. Back then there were only fleeting and almost accidental contacts between the black and white branches of the Anglican charismatic renewal, but here they were all obviously together.
Back then there were also no all-Anglican charismatic conferences. Yes, there were IViyo conferences, but they were nearly all black, and only involved a few dioceses. White Anglicans mostly went to ecumenical conferences, and many were sucked off into Neopentecostal denominations, some of which started off as ecumenical organisations, and then formed their own denominations. This one was an all-Anglican (apart from the odd visitor, like me) and included people from Namibia to northern Mocambique.
But the biggest difference was perhaps that expressed by Bishop Graham Cray, from England, speaking on Transformed by the Holy Spirit, when he said that Christians are being called out of “consumer Christianity which exists to bless me, to a missional Christianity which is called to bless others”.
And that difference was seen in this conference too. There was almost traditional charismatic worship and ministry, but a lot of the workshops dealt with the nitty-gritty of ministry in places like the slums of Nairobi, excoriating the handout culture of foreign NGOs, which paid people to attend workshops, and rather encouraging the local churches in the slums to develop their own community development ministries.
In almost every way I thought it looked better and more hopeful than the charismatic renewal of the 1970s, with only one exception — the English songs didn’t seem nearly as good as the ones we sang back then. Perhaps it was just that I didn’t know any of them, but the ones in Zulu and Sotho seemed as good, even though I didn’t know any of them either.
I’ll be going back tomorrow, God willing, and will perhaps have a fuller picture then but it seems that something is still happening among the Anglicans. It mainly seems to be the Methodists that are so secretive.