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Gathering With Partners in Asia
by: 
James Melchiorre

The Rector of Trinity Church Wall Street, the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, opened a recent retreat designed for Church archbishops and their spouses by emphasizing the importance of family and the necessity of rest. “Sabbath is getting to a place where we can recognize God’s blessings,” Dr. Lupfer said. “It’s the only way to keep our ears open to God.”

Trinity Rector Bill Lupfer shares ideas on church leadership with archbishops from Asia.

Trinity has convened such retreats for archbishops in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, but this was the first to be held in Asia. Archbishops who gathered on Jeju Island in South Korea included the Most Rev. Moses Yoo of Korea, the Most Rev. Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu of Japan, the Most Rev. Joel Pachao of the Philippines, and the Most Rev. Julio Murray, of Panama, who leads bishops in the region of Central America.

Eighteen people, including the archbishops, their spouses, and priests from the church in Korea participated in the gathering with the theme, “Leadership in the Asian Context.” On Sunday, May 12, all attended worship and ate lunch with the people of St. Michael and All Angels Church in the community of Seoguipo, a new congregation which began five years ago with only six families.

Trinity's team enjoys lunch with the congregation of St. Michael and All Angels Church.

Later in the week, Dr. Lupfer told the archbishops that, as leaders, they should always remember that the most significant work, and the most innovative solutions, will come from people who actually face a problem. He also emphasized the importance of finding partners to accomplish goals.

“Authority depends on mutuality. Your partners are your reading glasses. They will be the lens through which you see the solution.”

The Trinity team included the church’s senior clergy, the Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, the Rev. Winnie Varghese, and the Rev. Canon Benjamin Musoke-Lubega, each of them lending a unique perspective on what it means to lead and develop leadership. The Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of New York and a native of Korea, led a daily Bible Study during the retreat.

Bishop Shin led five days of Bible Study with small-group follow-up.

In his presentation, Dr. Bozzuti-Jones concentrated on Trinity’s core values of faith, integrity, inclusiveness, compassion, social justice, and stewardship, which he said diminish the gap between “who we are and what we do.”       

The identification of Trinity’s core values, Dr. Bozzuti-Jones noted, was ascertained over a two-year period, through more than 200 interviews with congregation members, staff, and neighbors, using an outside consultant to “democratize” the project.

The Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones spoke of Trinity's six Core Values.

“We believe the core values are difficult, challenging, and beautiful,” Dr. Bozzuti-Jones said. “Our values become our great authority.”

Dr. Lupfer, who inaugurated the core values study when he became 18th Rector of Trinity in 2015, advised the archbishops to “find your most effective way in your cultural context to understand and claim your identity as a way to align for mission.”    

Canon Musoke-Lubega delivered a presentation on how to lead through the development of income-generating projects, an initiative Trinity began more than a decade ago with its partners in Africa. “Trinity had never funded anything like that before so we sent six bishops across Africa to research it,” Musoke-Lubega said. “A year or so later they came back with an answer: it can be done.”

The Rev. Canon Benjamin Musoke-Lubega talks about the importance of building capacity, including through real estate, to sustain the mission of any church.

The Trinity priest told the gathering that 120 bishops have attended a four-part peer-mentoring workshop over the past five years, and half of them now have income-generating projects in their dioceses.

The Rev. Winnie Varghese spoke on how Trinity Church Wall Street chose "neighborhood" as one of its strategic initiatives.

In the concluding presentation, the Rev. Winnie Varghese called the gospel in the world our response to people who have been marginalized. “Religion is the tool and practice that takes us back to our true humanity,” Varghese said. “It must be relevant to the lived reality of marginalized people and the humanity of all of us.”

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