Posted by Iwan Russell Jones on 21 October 2010, 7:54
WEDNESDAY 20 OCTOBER – It’s only Day 3, but I think I must be getting conference fever. Today I fell on my knees before a bishop. There! I’ve said it. Not known for my love of hierarchy, an event of this nature could normally only be explained by a state of delirium – brought on by too much exposure to speakers, meetings, discussions, ideas and people. And at Lausanne III there is plenty of the above.
But maybe there’s another explanation. This particular purple-clad bishop was standing in the huge concourse outside of the main hall chatting with a group of other clerics, including an archbishop. I would have given them a very wide berth indeed, as per my normal practice, except that I suddenly realised that I knew this man. I moved in closer to check his name tag and received confirmation that this was indeed none other than Cyril Okorocha, my classmate at London Bible College back in the 1970s.
‘Bless me, my Lord’, I requested as I abased myself. He knew instantly that this was a leg-pull, and greeted me warmly. We hadn’t seen each other for more than 30 years, and it was great to catch up with him and find out about his life and family. Cyril is now the bishop of Owerri in Nigeria and he’s here in Cape Town to participate in a discussion about the impact of globalization on Africa. He clearly hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
I remember him as a larger than life character who was always good value for a no-holds-barred theological argument. We remembered our fellow student and good friend, Kwame Bediako, who died in 2008. He is sadly missed at this conference. Kwame, one of the leading African theologians of his time, would have played a major role here.
One of the best things about LBC – now known as the London School of Theology – during our time was the international mix of students. There were people from all over the world, and the contribution they made to my theological education was huge. It was certainly good preparation for this extraordinary event.