Backpacking through the Anglican Communion: A search for unity is a marvellous book, at turns prayerful, thoughtful, challenging, and moving. Above all, it glows with a luminosity that gives its readers space for real engagement with the material before them….
Zink wants us to embrace the truth that unity is mission. It is an argument that he advances in the best traditions of Anglican apologetic, with beauty, clarity, and insight. His book is a must-read for those who truly believe that belonging to the worldwide body of Christ – where there is difference, and should be charity and love – is what discipleship means.
He writes beautifully. His descriptions of people and places and the accounts of conversations are crafted with skill and sensitivity. Even if Jesse has not covered the entire Communion, he’s managed to get to places where few white Anglicans have penetrated. I suspect if the project could be financially supported, we could in future be reading about many more backpacker journeys. Anglicans today know next to nothing about fellow Anglicans living beyond their particular provinces and this makes it a valuable project.
Zink is a great storyteller. His writing is clear, engaging and accessible, and you are drawn into the lives of the people he met – from huge, wealthy, almost-mega-churches in Nigeria to a tiny church in the Andes of Ecuador and a diocesan cathedral in Sudan made of cinder block with three plastic chairs, total, in the nave….
The book is an excellent means, especially for Anglicans from the wealthy part of the world, to understand the very difficult economic and social contexts of global Anglicanism – especially in Africa. We learn about the challenges posed by Pentecostalism, along with the way poverty and war shapes the issues that a church finds important. This book would be excellent in a study group on global Anglicanism. Indeed, each chapter can stand alone, and the book could be used in a variety of Christian education contexts….
The last chapter is Zink’s moving, eloquent and theologically grounded plea for Anglican unity.
A handful of people saw Backpacking through the Anglican Communion early and had this to say:
“With refreshingly impressive candour and integrity, Jesse Zink engages with the underrepresented, undervalued Anglicanism of those whose lives, experiences, and struggles are always beyond the horizon of so-called ‘representative’ spokespeople.” —Jenny Te Paa, Former Dean, Te Rau Kahikatea, St John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand, and member of the Lambeth Commission on Communion
“When visiting the church on four of the seven continents, Jesse Zink enters into the local life of the churches and helps us to understand the diversity and unity of our global family and our mutual responsibility to each other. He has beautifully and insightfully articulated a story that needs to be told.” —John Peterson, former Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
“Jesse Zink has a passion for community and a generous interpretation of the faith. Anglicanism is best appreciated and most celebrated through mutual understanding and respect. This is why Backpacking through the Anglican Communion promises to lighten a path for those of us who believe in an undivided and generous Communion of integrity for all.” —Duleep de Chickera, retired Bishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka