Each year, ALMA celebrates its partners on ALMA Sunday, usually the Sunday nearest 12 July. There is often a special service in St Paul’s Cathedral, and parishes are encouraged to hold ALMA Sunday celebrations.
ALMA Sunday was celebrated on 11 July. Although it was during Covid-19 social distancing restrictions and without congregational singing, we marked the 23rd Anniversary of our partnership in St Paul’s Cathedral in joyful spirit as the video greetings to our ALMA partners (captured by ALMA Vice Chair, the Archdeacon of Hampstead) show: see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXx4pOmSyLM
The Bishop of London presided and the Bishop of Edmonton, London’s Bishop for ALMA, interviewed Revd Ben Lovell from St Mary’s Hampton on his reflections on their link with Sao Paulo Mandimba and the nature of partnership in the Gospel. Pat Phillips, our retiring ALMA project Officer for Angola, read the Epistle. Annie Ngundan and Michael White from St Mary Stoke Newington, twinned with Church of Epafania in Tete, led the intercessions. One of the Cathedral’s Vicars Choral sang three pieces of music connected with the ALMA Partnership during the service: the Gloria from Missa Epifania, collected and arranged by Michael White b. 1961; the Sanctus Hosanana Nas Alturas; and the song the late Fr Juliao Mutemba taught his link parish St John’s Greenhill, Jesus Cristo em breve vira.
There is also a gallery of pictures from the service available.
Father God we hold ALMA before you today, thanking you for the last twenty years and the deep fellowship and friendship that has grown between the Anglican churches of Angola, London and Mozambique. We ask your continued blessing on our partnership, praising you for the joys and sorrows shared, challenges faced, and the years ahead. May we continue to learn from each other and see your kingdom come in Angola, London and Mozambique.
We remember today the ALMA bishops, Bishop André Soares, Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, Bishop Vicente Msosa, Bishop Manuel Ernesto and Bishop Rob Wickham, all priests, lay ministers, catechists, community ministers especially the Mothers’ Union, Equipa da Vida and the Bernard Mizeki Guild.
We acknowledge the huge issues of climate change, poverty and hunger and pray that our partnership has a prophetic voice alongside serving hands and hearts. We ask this in the name of Jesus who sends his church to love and serve the world. Amen.