Bishop Andre Soares has just visited the UK and spent time with ALMA parishes and also MANNA friends. It was wonderful that he could visit St Clement’s Toxteth where there has been a long standing link to the Diocese of Angola. St Clements was the sending parish for the missionary Archibald Patterson who lived and worked in Angola and sowed the seeds for the Diocese of Angola. (For more on this story, click here.) Below is Bishop Andre’s sermon reflecting on this story and thinking ahead to the future. Do take time to read this….
Who is my neighbour?
Sermon preached by Bishop André Soares, Bishop of Angola, at St Clement’s, Toxteth in Liverpool on Sunday, 14th July 2019.
Readings: Colossians 1.1-14 and Luke 10.25-37.
May I pray in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
It is a privilege to be here again to share our history and to reflect on the word of God.
Firstly, I bring greetings from the Diocese of Angola, my family and special greetings come from the Parish Church of Archibald Patterson the Missionary.
According to the text from Luke, I want to reflect on the question “Who is my neighbour?”
Brothers and sisters, we are living in the broken world, which from the media we hear every day things like: conflicts, wars, natural disasters, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, corruption, poverty, and so on. Humanity is becoming very vulnerable in those situations.
Brothers and sisters, everyone needs to live in peace, but before those situations, Jesus continues being the rock of our salvation. His commandment in John 13.34 is: “A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” because love is the key to establishing peace in the world. What is the big problem in the modern world?
God the Father sent His Son just to save the world from sin. By the cross Jesus gives his life that we as sinners can be free by believing in Jesus. So before Patterson decided to leave Liverpool to travel to Angola, people in Uíge were living in darkness, and in the shadow of death. Travel at that time was so dangerous and took so long. Today it takes one day, then it took three months. As Psalm 84.5-7 says:
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs, the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.”
Brothers and sisters, on 29th November 1922, Archibald Patterson arrived in Cabinda where he found his friend Matthew Stobert. Two years later, he went to Uíge to start his new work. No-one had been to Uíge to teach the Word of God before. On 9th June 1925 in Liverpool, in communion with four other friends, he created what was called the North Angola Mission. We are going to celebrate the first centenary in 2025.
For the work done by Patterson, in opening eyes and minds, in bringing people to Jesus, is covering the whole country today. There is no doubt to say about Archibald Patterson that he was, he IS, and he will continue to be our neighbour who proclaimed the Word of God and changed the behaviour of the people.
No-one who will write our history will forget words like St Clement’s, Liverpool, and Patterson. That the existing diocese of Angola will, on 1st December, celebrate the changing of the missionary diocese to become a full diocese, is the result of the work done by Archibald Patterson from St. Clement’s in Liverpool. I was baptised by Patterson. The gospel planted by Patterson in Uíge is now planted in 14 provinces of Angola, from Cabinda to Kunene, covering the tribes of Bakongo, Kimbundo, Ovimbundo, Ochivambo and Nyaneka. We are still involved in planting new churches in different areas, with the involvement of young people, so, we continue to ask, “Who will be the next Patterson?”
May the Lord bless his word.
Liverpool, 14 July, 2019.