Category : Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Martin Davie] A Review of ”˜Intentional Discipleship and Disciple Making..' for use at ACC-16

Intentional Discipleship and Disciple Making, which has been edited by John Kafwanka and Mark Oxbrow, is a new report which has been published by the Anglican Consultative Council and is intended to be a major resource document for both the Council itself and the wider Anglican Communion.
the report also has a number of major weaknesses.

First, it fails to explore the theological framework within which discipleship takes place. From a biblical perspective discipleship has to be understood within a framework of election, faith, baptism, sanctification and glorification and the report fails to even note, let alone consider, this framework.

Secondly, it fails to give any overall account of how the basic elements of what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ fit together. It gives us lots of different bits of the picture, but it never pulls these together into a coherent whole.

Thirdly, it lacks any critical analysis of the material it considers. We are given lots of brief snapshots of different aspects of what churches have done and are doing in the area of encouraging discipleship and discipleship making, but there is no consideration in the report of the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches that are surveyed and there is no reflection on what we can learn from them.

Fourthly, all this means that all the report really gives us is an exhortation to take discipleship and the making of disciples more seriously. What it does not provide is any additional resources to help with this task.

If the Anglican Communion is to make discipleship and the making of disciples central to its life, a better way forward than this report would be the development of Communion wide resources in this area using the catechism in the Book of Common Prayer as a basis. This catechism is short, biblically based and contains all the basic element of Christian discipleship within a clear overall theological framework in which the Christian life is viewed as a response to the prevenient grace of God which is made possible by the assistance of God asked for in prayer. Using the catechism as a basis would provide a clear agreed base line for the development of Christian discipleship that could then be applied in specific local contexts
One final point to note in relation to Intentional Discipleship and Disciple Making is that a concern for a fresh emphasis on Christian discipleship cannot be separated from the current debate within the Anglican Communion about human sexuality. The Communion cannot decide to agree to disagree about sexuality and focus on discipleship instead. This is because in the Bible, and in the orthodox Christian tradition building on the Bible, right sexual practice, consisting of sexual abstinence outside heterosexual marriage and sexual faithfulness within it, has always been seen as an integral part of what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. This being the case the acceptance and advocacy of alternative patterns of sexual conduct in parts of the Anglican Communion has to be seen as inimical to Christian discipleship and rejected as such. To be serious about discipleship means being serious about sexual holiness and rejecting all forms of behaviour incompatible with it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Church in Wales Bishops offer same sex blessings

Since 2005, the Bench of Bishops has acknowledged that there are a range of views with respect to homosexuality, which have to be recognized as “honest and legitimate differences” within the diversity of opinion in the Church in Wales.

Given that diversity in the Church in Wales, and our commitment to affirm the place of gay and lesbian disciples within the Church, we believe that it is appropriate to offer prayers in response to the pastoral need of those gay and lesbian persons who are making profound commitments to friendship or partnership. With this pastoral letter, we offer prayers which we believe are suitable for those who are marking a committed relationship. Whilst we do not prescribe their use, where they are found suitable or helpful, we are happy to commend them.

Read it all [Word document] from here where there are links to the liturgical resources.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Phil Ashey] Reflections on Archbishop Mouneer Anis’s Conscientious Choice not to go to Lusaka

…There comes a point when institutions become so corrupt and compromised that they are irredeemable. Continued participation simply enables the institutions’ corruption. Archbishop Mouneer has recognized this point, and has justifiably stepped back. His decision comes after the GAFCON provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya decided to not attend ACC-16. Each of the remaining GAFCON and Global South provinces and their Primates who joined the majority in January prescribing gentle discipline for TEC must now decide whether there is any reason at all to attend ACC-16.

We can expect a full-court press by the Canterbury and Anglican Communion Office authorities to persuade them to go. Typically, the Anglican Consultative Council””funded heavily by TEC (Trinity Wall Street alone having donated more than $700,000 to the ACC since 2006)””will help cover most of the costs of those who attend. This will make it very uncomfortable for any Biblically faithful Anglican leaders who support the Primates’ discipline to say “no” to Bishop Tengatenga and TEC. If the reasons given by Archbishops Okoh (Nigeria), Ntagali (Uganda), Wabukala (Kenya) and now Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) are not enough to dissuade those churches from participating in ACC-16, here are two more, from the “Constitution” of the Anglican Consultative Council itself:

1.1 The Anglican Consultative Council has no authority whatsoever to contradict or override the inherent authority of bishops””and especially the Primates””in matters of faith and order between the Churches of the Anglican Communion.’s the rub: The Anglican Communion is more than a charitable organization under the UK Charities Act. It is a Church””led by Bishops who have special responsibility to guard the doctrine, discipline and order of the Churches they lead, and Primates to guard the faith and Godly order in the relationships among those Churches. One hardly knows how to characterize the repudiation of the Primates gathering by the ACC””arrogance, rebellion or legal fiction, it’s all the same. Even to participate in the ACC gathering is to enable such wrongful and injurious behavior.
1.2. According to the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury is beyond accountability: if the Church of England errs, he may not be removed as President of the ACC or the Standing Committee.

What will happen if, as many expect, the General Synod of the Church of England concludes its facilitated discussions on the recommendations of the Pilling Report by providing a rite for the Blessing of Civil Partnerships, if not Same Sex Marriages? If this happens, the Church of England will be like TEC, in violation of Lambeth Resolution I.10 (1998) against such blessings. If the Primates were willing to apply such gentle discipline to TEC as they did in their January gathering, why would they not also apply the same discipline to the Church of England””requiring them also to step back from representation on all ecumenical bodies, all Standing Committees of the Anglican Communion, and voting on any matters of doctrine and polity?

According to the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates would have no authority to do so with regards to the Primate of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury himself….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

AU 223: ACC-16 and 815 Terminations

With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Breaking–Bishop Mouneer Anis decides not to attend the 2016 ACC Meeting in Lusaka

The following letter from Bishop Anis is released with his permission–KSH. [pdf]

My dear brother archbishops,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to let you know that I have decided not to attend the ACC-16 in Lusaka. My decision has come after a long period of prayer and conversations. As many of you know, it is not easy for me to withdraw from meetings, but this time I felt that if I were to attend, I would be betraying my conscience, my people, and the Primates who worked hard last January to reach a temporary solution in order to keep walking together until such time as we can reach a permanent solution.

I thought that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting in January would be followed through and TEC would not be represented in the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion but sadly this is not the case.
I don’t mind the participation of TEC in the General Meeting of the ACC, but the decision of the Primates was very clear that they should not be nominated or elected in internal standing committees.

Although I was disturbed by the statements made by the chairman of the ACC while he was in the USA, I had still intended to attend the meeting. However, as it became clear that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting about the participation of TEC in the Standing Committee would be disregarded, it was then that I decided not to attend.

I see that there is a lot of confusion about the role of the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC. Neither have jurisdiction within provinces, but both have roles in regulating the relationship between provinces. The Primates’ Meeting has “enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” (Lambeth 1988) and to make “intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity” (Lambeth 1998). Some think that because the ACC is the most representative of the instruments (including bishops, clergy, and laity), it is more authoritative. This is not true. It’s very name, “consultative”, reminds us that it is not an “Anglican Synod” but merely an advisory group. The Instruments of Unity, in order to have good relationships, need to support each others’ decisions in those areas of responsibility given to them by Lambeth Councils.

I will be praying for the members of the ACC-16 so that they may affirm and respect the decisions of the Primates’ Meeting. If this happens, it will bring hope back and we will be able to think of the future together.


The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Archbishop of Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

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ACC-16 Decision on Letterhead.pdf by The Elves

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

[Communion Partners] Easter Report

We, Communion Partner leaders and friends, gathered at the Canterbury Retreat and Conference Center in the Diocese of Central Florida from March 29-30

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Dr Peter Jensen] Back to Basics Part 4: Repentance

As we think through the significance of the meeting of Primates in Canterbury, we come to the key subject of repentance.

The issues before us have doctrinal and political aspects. But, finally, they are spiritual and that is why repentance matters.

The original tragic division in the Anglican Communion was the responsibility of certain North American Anglicans. They have been invited back into communion with those who severed relationships.

But this is not simply a matter of apology without change.

The need is repentance, with the hope of reconciliation and restoration.

Gentle but firm

In Canterbury, an overwhelming number of Primates agreed that the endorsement of same sex marriage by The Episcopal Church (TEC) should be challenged and the consequences for continued fellowship be set out.

The Primates deliberately chose the greatest offence (redefining marriage), the greatest offenders (TEC) and the mildest rebuke (three years suspension from some activities).

The Primates were virtually united in this gentle approach ”“ gentle but firm. The most outrageous offence against biblical truth was singled out, and a mild set of consequences outlined. It left The Episcopal Church with nowhere to hide. No one can say that this is vindictive or punitive.

It is a symbolic, gentle invitation to return home.
There are risks in the gentle but firm course chosen by the Primates.

First, it may be that those in Canada and Scotland, not to mention England who agree with such things as the blessing of same sex unions may think that they have now escaped censure and are free to proceed.

But Lambeth 1.10 still stands, as does the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration and of course the Holy Scriptures. Let not those who have breached the word in other ways now take comfort, as though they have been somehow endorsed. Rather let them, too, consider turning again to the Lord.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

(CEN) Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel–What is the Anglican Consultative Council meeting for?

Despite past history the GAFCON Primates decided to attend the January meeting. They demonstrated a love for the unity of the Communion but on a basis of common faith. They have not yet given up on the Communion. But ACC’s actions so far confirm their suspicions that they are being misled and manipulated and even an orthodox Archbishop of Canterbury cannot stop it.

How can ACC not accept the Primates’ decision? Why is it arrogating such roles to itself? Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda are right in drawing a firm line on the sand. Their approach is principled, not managerial or political.

Politically, TEC holds powerful cards ”“ money, power, access, communication, control of the media and leverage. But did TEC accept the Primates decision in January in the light of what they look on as a replay in Lusaka?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology

[Canon Phil Ashey] The Primates’ Authority does not depend on Canterbury

I want to commend the statement issued by Archbishop Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, “Does the Primates meeting have any authority?”. Archbishop Mouneer issues a robust defense of the authority of the Primates’ meeting to oversee the relationships between Anglican provinces with regards to doctrinal, moral and pastoral issues.
The Communion’s Primates are NOT impotent when the Archbishop of Canterbury fails to respond publicly to the Anglican Consultative Council’s public repudiation of Primatial authority. What do the Primates do when the Archbishop of Canterbury remains silent in the face of such a public repudiation of their “enhanced responsibility”? Do they simply wring their hands? Must they remain silent until he speaks””IF he ever decides to speak? Of course not. That is why the Primates of the three largest Churches in the Anglican Communion”“Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda””have spoken so clearly. They understand that their Primatial authority or “enhanced responsibility” to guard the faith and order of the Churches of the Anglican Communion derives from their office as “Principal Bishops” of their Churches, and not from Canterbury. Primates can and do act whether the Archbishop of Canterbury calls them together or not, whether he speaks up for them and their collegial mind and decision making””or not, as Archbishop Welby has chosen to do.

The enhanced responsibility of the Primates to guard the faith and order of the Churches of the Anglican Communion is more than moral and persuasive. It is an ancient principle in Church law..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Dr Peter Jensen] Back to Basics Part 3: Fellowship

..I have been trying to think through the implications of the January meeting of Primates for the Anglican Communion and for GAFCON.

The Communique and the story of the meeting certainly put of a lot of store on fellowship and unity. The Primates, we are assured, were unanimous in their desire to walk together, difficult though it is.

A love for Christian unity has to be right. Just think of how the Bible concludes, with the great gathering of God’s people singing his praises, exalting in his presence, all of them washed in the blood of the Lamb. We are reborn to be united. Unity is a gift which we are obliged to maintain.

The idea of fellowship is of sharing in something together ”“ sharing in an experience, a language, in financial support, in the Holy Spirit. One of the great moments of fellowship is sharing in a meal together.


Think of this in reverse. When we are cut off from someone we love, it is very painful. The separation of death is terrible, of course, but it is agonising to be cut off because of a quarrel or some fault we have committed. This is true in ordinary human life ”“ how much more so for the Christian family.

But sometimes separation is inevitable, even mandatory. Where an offence has been committed, where a position taken which misleads or even disgraces, to stay in fellowship is to endorse dangerous error. We are giving an assurance on behalf of the Lord himself that all is well and people can hold the error with safety. That is a big responsibility..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

The Archbishop of Canterbury writes to the Primates about the upcoming ACC Meeting in Lusaka

Posted on Anglican Ink [pdf]
16 March 2016

Your Graces, dear brothers in Christ

As we enter Passiontide, with less than two weeks until Easter, I wanted to write to wish you all a celebration of Holy Week and the day of Resurrection that is all-consuming in its joy and power. Uniquely, we proclaim a saviour who has overcome death, having lived fully through every experience and temptation of life, and having himself died.

Our great enemy, who tells us that all things end in pointlessness, is defeated by the empty tomb, and with all Christians around the world, we should celebrate without limit.

On Easter day, at Canterbury Cathedral, full of the memories of our Meeting in January, I shall be praying for you and rejoicing in your fellowship in the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Since that Meeting, there have been numerous developments. First, we should be aware of the great rejoicing and thankfulness that the outcome of the Meeting gave to many Christians around the world. We have all received numerous comments of thankfulness that the Anglican Communion, deeply divided in many areas, managed in the part of its leadership which is the Primates’ Meeting, to vote unanimously, amongst those present, to walk together. As you will remember, at that crucial moment, we undertook to seek personally to ensure that what we voted, was put into practise.

Since that time, as I undertook to you, I have followed through by changing the representation of those bodies where I have the ability to make a decision, so as to put into effect the agreement we reached amongst ourselves.

We must, of course, remember that as in the early Church, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, there is never an end to these issues. So long as the Church is made up of human beings, it will be made up of sinners. In consequence, we will take decisions and say things that are inappropriate or wrong. The strength of the East African revival was not that it produced sinless people but that it taught sinners to walk in the light. That meant that they were to confess their sins, repent and acknowledge them.

The issues which have divided us over so many years still exist, and will resurface again at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka. We are called as Primates to work closely with the ACC, as they are called to work with us. For example, Resolution 52 of the Lambeth Conference 1988 said: “This Conference requests the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council to give urgent attention to implementing the hope expressed at Lambeth 1978 (and as confirmed by recent provincial responses) that both bodies would work in the very closest contact.”

At Lambeth 1998, Resolution III point 6, as well as affirming “the enhanced responsibility here in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” of the Primates’ Meeting, also said that the responsibility of the Primates’ Meeting “should be exercised in sensitive consultation with the relevant provinces and with the ACC or in cases of emergency the Executive of the ACC, and that while not interfering with the juridical authority of the provinces, the exercise of these responsibilities by the Primates’ Meeting should carry moral authority calling for ready acceptance through the Communion”.

There are numerous other examples indicating that we should work closely together.

In all cases, back as far as 1857, it is well recognised that there is no single body within the Anglican Communion that has juridical authority over individual provinces. We are autonomous but interdependent.

For these reasons, I hope and pray that every province that is able will be present in Lusaka. The decisions we took in January can only have effect if they gain general ownership amongst the Communion, taking in laity, priests and bishops. Even if a province is not able to be present, I urge you to pray fervently for the outcome of the ACC. We will need to elect a new Chairman, and such a position should be someone, who, speaking the truth in love, seeks to unite the Communion in truth-filled service to Jesus Christ, and not to uphold any particular group at the expense of the Common Good, so long as we are within acceptable limits of diversity.

The ACC is the only body in which laity and clergy, other than bishops, are represented, and is thus of a special importance. It will discuss many matters, including those that we raised in January at Canterbury. These will include our evangelism and witness, the impact of climate change, our response to the great global refugee crisis, our support for those caught in conflict, and above all persecution.

Only those who are present will be able to make their voice heard and their votes effective. I therefore urge you to make every effort to join us in Lusaka, so that, in the presence of the risen Christ, we may continue our often painful, but ever hopeful journey in his service.

This brings my love, respect and commitment to service in the name of Christ our peace, Christ our saviour and Christ our truth.

+ Justin Cantaur

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

[Daily Nation Nairobi] Boycott threat for Anglican meeting

A meeting of Anglican clerics mid next month in Zambia might not take place after countries in Africa that make up the largest congregation, announced they would boycott it over same-sex marriages.

Anglican bishops in Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria have indicated they will stay away from the conference until a “godly order” is restored in the Church.
The conference in Lusaka ”” the 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) ”” starts on April 8 to 19 and is supposed to bring together Anglican bishops, priests and laity from across the world.

Generally, it is supposed to discuss how to keep the gospel, despite continuing challenges from secular forces. But the question of whether to accept same-sex marriages as part of the church’s culture has caused divisions, once again.

Archbishops Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Stanley Ntagali of Uganda and Okoh of Nigeria say attending the conference would amount to violating the teachings of Christ on which the Anglican Church stands.

The three countries cumulatively host about 42 million of the estimated 57 million Anglicans in Africa. The three also belong to a conservative group of the church’s leaders called the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) formed in 2008 to protest the ordination of openly-gay priests in the American arm of the church, the Episcopal Church, back in 2003.

The Zambian meeting is still controversial and the three leaders say they do not want to be part of a conference where the Church of Canada, which also supports homosexuality, will be attending.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[ENS] Communion women can help change sisters’ fate, says Anglican leader

Secretary General also challenged: Turn focus away from internal conflict
Idowu-Fearon also recalled attending a meeting of the Nigerian provincial standing committee in 2003 after the Episcopal Church had agreed to ordain openly gay Episcopal priest Gene Robinson as the bishop of New Hampshire. During that meeting, the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, were being discussed. A senior bishop declared that the development goals are “ways of the West wanting to poison our minds and remove us from focusing on the gospel.” Idowu-Fearon said the bishop refused to back down when he challenged him.

“You see what ignorance does? That’s ignorance,” he said, “but, I thank God that even though Nigeria did not buy into it, other parts of the communion were fully into it.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Dr Peter Jensen] Back to Basics: Good Reading of the Good Book

To assess the implications of the Primates’ gathering in January and what we have seen subsequently, I am suggesting that we go back to basics. The first point was the authority of the Bible over our consciences and over the churches. It is God’s word written.

But there is a hot contest over the interpretation of the Bible, especially when it comes to God’s expectations about sexual behaviour. What can we say about how we read the Bible?

Good Reading of the Good Book

One of the most wonderful features of our Anglican church is its clear belief that the word of God, the sacred Scriptures belong to us all. They are not the preserve of academics or clergy. Listening to the Bible, reading the Bible and knowing the Bible is a privilege which all share. God trusts us with his word.

Now I always think that there are two basic rules in all reading.

First, read with love. That is, our love for an author should mean that we take them at their word. We should presume that they are trying to communicate. Thus, our aim is not read what we want to into the work, but, as far as we can, what the work actually says. We need to observe such things as genre and language ”“ as we do all the time when we are reading. What we read may fill us with disgust or dismay, but it has to be read for what it says, not for what we want to see in it.

The reader is not the author..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

The Church of Nigeria will not attend the upcoming ACC Meeting

..As part of the stance of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), it resolved not to attend any future conference or meeting where the above named two Provinces will sit and participate in discussion.

However, the January 2016 Primates meeting in Canterbury was considered an exception. Thus, the GAFCON and Global South resolved to attend.

In spite of the hollow restrictions placed on The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Chairman, Anglican Consultative Council, have avowed that the Primates had no authority to take that decision. During the Canterbury meeting itself, the way and manner in which those who hold the orthodox view of human sexuality and marriage were spoken of by the authorities, and denounced as “homophobic”, left no one in doubt that we were in the wrong place. In fact, the authorities believe that patience was being exercised to enable the communion to bring up the scripture-believers gradually to embrace the homosexual doctrine. Thus, the Anglican Communion’s journey is very uncertain for the orthodox. They are walking into a well-rehearsed scheme to gradually apply persuasion, subtle blackmail, coercion on any group still standing with the Scriptural Provision as we know it, to join the straight jacket of the revisionists and be politically correct. Somehow, they are succeeding!
as long as we are now candidates for whom every opportunity in the Anglican Communion should be explored to gradually teach us to embrace the new sex culture, it will be unwise to deliberately walk into a well-prepared camp of recruitment, blackmail, indoctrination and toxic relationship.

Therefore, we regret our inability to attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.

We continue to pray for God’s Church to return to the Holy Bible, for its faith and practice.

Read it all and see also statements of non-attendance from the Church of Uganda, the Church of Kenya, the Church of Rwanda and Archbishop Mouneer Anis

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[ACI] Anguish and Amnesia: The Episcopal Church and Communion

..we should beware of confusing our hurts with ecclesial realities. In this case, TEC bishops have, one after the other, insisted that the Primates have no “right” or “authority” to make the decisions they have done, or to implement them. TEC bishops have said that the Anglican Communion has no means to shape their participation in its councils. They have said that the Communion itself has nothing to do with common teaching and an ordered common council. They have said, finally, that the Anglican Communion has historically been nothing like what the Primates have said it is. All of these claims are questionable, perhaps even false.

Historical Errors about the Communion

Let me take each of them in reverse order:..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

(Canon Phil Ashey) “Core Doctrine” Is Bad

Quite bluntly, Presiding Bishop Curry is resurrecting a 20 year old term to further dilute the teaching of the Anglican Communion. The message from TEC is that if it’s not part of the “Core Doctrine” of the Christian faith everyone should agree to disagree and just move on. You see, “core doctrine” is yet another attempt by TEC to refashion Anglicanism into something that is entirely other than Biblically faithful.

This is the problem with the term “core doctrine” and how Presiding Bishop Curry is using it. It can mean anything you want it to mean, or need it to mean, for your purposes. It has no objective standard or rule against which it can be measured””other than the thin gruel the Righter Court stated in its bullet points.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Primates, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Trevin Wax] Can We “Agree To Disagree” On Sexuality and Marriage?

..Today, one of the common complaints from the progressive side is that evangelicals are always “drawing lines” and “making distinctions” and “policing boundaries” and declaring “who’s in and who’s out.” One wonders what they’d say about the apostles, whose concern about boundaries stands out in so many of their letters, right in line with Jesus’ frequent warnings against false teachers.

Like Jesus, the New Testament writers made constant appeals to unity, but they also drew bold, dark lines regarding what constituted genuine Christian teaching. Flip through any of the letters of Paul, Peter, Jude, and John, and you can’t help but notice the contrast between sound doctrine and error, unity and schism, what constitutes true teaching versus false.

Where Did the Schism Start?

Schisms are indeed tragic, and Christians are right to resist them and seek any other avenue of resolution. But in our efforts to avoid schism, we must not fail to ask the question: Where is the division coming from?

Back in 2009, N. T. Wright, then the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England, wrote that the actions of the Episcopal Church (USA) had initiated a schism would tear apart the fabric of the Anglican Communion. “The Americans know this will end in schism,” he wrote.

“Jesus’ own stern denunciation of sexual immorality would certainly have carried, to his hearers, a clear implied rejection of all sexual behavior outside heterosexual monogamy,” Wright went on, and then, explaining why this is not and can never be an “agree-to-disagree issue,” he wrote:

“This isn’t a matter of ”˜private response to Scripture’ but of the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition.”

Wright is right..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Bishop Grant LeMarquand writes in the Church Times on the mission impact of TEC and ACoC actions

The impact of the consecration of Gene Robinson, and the blessings of same-sex unions in Canada and the United States has been enormous, writes Grant LeMarquand.

In Muslim-majority countries in our diocese, Bishop Mouneer was immediately faced with a situation in which Muslims condemned Anglicanism and Christianity, as a whole, on the basis of the actions of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada. Relationships between the Anglican and the Muslim community became very strained. Bishop Mouneer spent countless hours mending those relationships.

Similarly, the Orthodox Churches (Coptic in Egypt and Ethiopia, Orthodox in Ethiopia) found the American actions incomprehensible, and assumed that Anglicans everywhere agreed, especially since, it seemed, that the Communion as a whole did nothing to discipline the US and Canada.

Relationships with Protestant Churches have likewise been difficult. For example, recently, in one town in Ethiopia where a new Anglican church was being planted, members of another denomination went door to door telling people not to join our church because “They will make you into homosexuals.”

Before my time, the former bishop had a large group of Amharic speakers in the church in Addis Ababa who were on the verge of being confirmed. When Gene Robinson was elected and then consecrated, they left en masse. In short, ecumenical and evangelistic efforts have been damaged terribly by these actions.

I must add that no one in our Church has starved to death because of the Episcopal Church’s actions. In fact, our partnerships around the world have strengthened as a result of our stand.

Dr Grant LeMarquand is the Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa.

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The TEC Bishop of Indianapolis writes to her diocese about end of Sudan link

14-Year Partnership with Diocese of Bor Ends

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I write to share the sad news that our fourteen year partnership with the Diocese of Bor, South Sudan, has come to an end.

For the past few years the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in Sudan and South Sudan has been concerned over the actions of several Provinces of the Anglican Communion in which same-sex blessings have taken place.In December of 2015 they passed a resolution requiring that no formal partnerships can be sustained with Dioceses where such blessings occur.

I received a letter from Bishop Ruben Akurdid in mid-February, explaining their position, and thanking me for the partnership we were able to have for these many years. I have responded with a letter expressing my deep disappointment, my hope that in the future such partnerships will again be possible, and assuring him that our hearts and doors are always open to him and our brothers and sisters in Bor.

Read it all [h/t The Lead] and note also the February 2015 letter from the CofE Bishop of Salisbury to his diocese

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

(CEN) Anglican Primates’ January deal begins to unravel

The Church of Uganda will boycott the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka.

In a letter dated 23 February the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, said comments made by ACC chairman Dr James Tengatenga that the Americans could not be kept away from the meeting, and statements by Episcopal Church leaders that they would pay no heed to the primates’ call that their Church withdraw from pan-Anglican bodies for three years had led inevitably to this outcome. Distrust over the efficacy of American promises of good behaviour were a long standing problem in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Ntagali said.

He cited the 2003 incident where Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold promised not to consecrate Gene Robinson, an undertaking given at the emergency Primates’ Meeting held at Lambeth Palace, and his decision shortly thereafter to serve as Robinson’s chief consecrator.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Uganda, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

[Anglican Ink] Prof Stephen Noll: The Fallacy of Core Doctrine

“Feature: The concerns voiced by Prof Stephen Noll in his 1996 response to the trial of Walter Righter bear re-reading today.”
The Aftermath of the Righter Trial (1996)

On 15 May 1996, the trial Court delivered its Opinion, dismissing both counts: that Bishop Righter had taught false doctrine and had violated his ordination oath. The vote was 7 to 1, one judge having recused himself from the case.

The seven majority judges, inspired by C. H. Dodd’s Apostolic Preaching, made a distinction between what they called “Core Doctrine” (kerygma) and “traditional teaching” (didache). Despite the fact that the Canon stated that a bishop might be tried for holding and teaching “any doctrine contrary to that held by this Church,” they concluded that only Core Doctrine could be grounds for a heresy trial. In fact, Core Doctrine as they spelled it out, is so vague that no one will ever be convicted. And surely, that was their point: no more trials!

The Core Doctrine distinction involves a category error. Dodd was describing basic elements of the evangelistic preaching of the Church, not its internal rule of faith and life. The Court majority was a bit uneasy that their Core Doctrine contained no moral norms at all, and so they conceded that a bishop might conceivably be disciplined for teaching or practicing immorality such as adultery, theft, and assault; but the conclusion for such a norm would be that it had never been contested within the Church as homosexuality has. Since Bishop Spong had already contested every known doctrine of the faith, he can presumably breathe a sigh of relief!

The majority claimed to be agnostic on the morality of homosexuality and called for a period of “patient listening and holy discernment.” During such a holy hiatus, of course, a sizeable group of Episcopal bishops will continue to ordain non-celibate homosexuals and push the next agenda item, gay marriage..

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Underground Pewster] The Elastic Identity of the Episcopal Church

“Elastic identity” is not an idea that I came up with. Instead, it is straight from the mouth of the President of the Episcopal House of Deputies at the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church this February.

“The last time we met, just over three months ago, I said some things. I said some things about standing on the threshold and about longing for change and about embracing our elastic identity.”

Are any of you bouncing up and down, eager to join a church with an elastic identity? If so, there are several things about elastic that you should remember..

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[Bp Bill Atwood] High Noon in Lusaka

..Here is something I wrote after the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

In 1978 Archbishop Joseph Adetoloye of Nigeria stood at the microphone at the Lambeth Conference for 30 minutes waiting to be recognized. For all that time, the chair continued to recognize bishops from Western Provinces at other microphones and overlooked Archbishop Joseph.

When he was finally recognized, he said, “Here at this meeting, I have struggled to be recognized by the chair, but it will not always be this way.” He went on to prophesy, “In ten years time in 1988 the voice of the Africans will not only be allowed, it will be sought. In 1998,” he said, “The Global South bishops (especially those in Africa) will set the agenda.”

At the Lambeth Conference in 1998, that is exactly what happened.
Now this year in January 2016 the Primates gathered for the first time in a number of years. Many of the Primates were new. In fact, 21 had never been to a Primates meeting before. They met, prayed, talked, and worked, agreeing to measures to discipline the Episcopal Church for their General Convention decision in 2015 to change marriage to be between any two people, whether same or opposite sexes. There was also a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Only this time, the new Archbishop actually let the Primates set their own agenda. Many Primates told me that they thought the conversations and prayers were genuine and they did not feel manipulated. Some were less sanguine, but it was certainly better than the last few meetings which were completely manipulated.

The result of the meeting was interesting. There was a very narrow decision to limit the Episcopal Church from participating in Communion life in three areas:

– Doctrinal Conversations
– Decisions of Polity
– Ecumenical Conversations

As I said, that was extremely limited and was just a slap on the wrist, but it was very significant because 33 of the Primates wanted to see the Episcopal Church disciplined in one way or another. In addition, the discipline that they imposed was motivated by using Scripture as the standard. That is really huge.

Now, however, there is an institutional crisis. Immediately following the Primates’ Meeting, TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry admitted that TEC had changed core doctrine about marriage and that he understood that people would be upset about that. Now that he has been back in the shark pond here at home, suddenly he is now saying that changing the definition of marriage is not a change to core doctrine. Furthermore, he said that the Primates can only decide things that relate to the Primates Meeting. He claims that nothing the Primates said applies to the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. That was certainly not the understanding of the Primates! They thought that the discipline to which they agreed would be applied everywhere across the Anglican Communion..

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

[AAC] Canadian Bps “unable to discern what the Spirit is saying..” on same-sex marriage rites

By Canon Phil Ashey their own admission, these Canadian bishops are “unable to come to a common mind about what the Spirit is saying to the Church.” Really? From which “Spirit” are they seeking discernment? The Spirit of Jesus Christ, whose mind is undivided, as Paul so powerfully expounds in Philippians 2:5-11? The Spirit who inspired God’s revelation from creation, in Holy Scripture, that God created humanity “male and female” (Genesis 1:27) and that marriage is a holy estate between a man “who shall leave his father and mother” to be united to his wife so that “the two will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)? Were they seeking discernment from the same Spirit who inspired Jesus to cite this ordinance in Matthew 19:5, and in the very next verse to emphasize its holiness and permanence by declaring “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matt. 19:6)?

Or were they seeking discernment from some other Spirit, or the Spirit of the age?

The Holy Spirit who reigns with the father and the Son from the beginning is the same Spirit who at creation hovered over the unformed depths and waters of creation. The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit who helped bring order out of that chaos. He is not the author of chaos. And he is certainly not responsible for the doctrinal chaos in the Anglican Church of Canada today.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Anglican Church of Canada Bishops' Statement

The Canadian House of Bishops met in Niagara Falls 23-26 February 2016 in a special session dedicated to a discussion of matters relating to the upcoming gathering of the General Synod where proposed changes to the national Marriage Canon will be considered.
While in our last meeting we considered in some detail ”˜This Holy Estate’, the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, we regret that there has not been much engagement with this document across the Church since that time. We felt that we needed to recommit ourselves to promoting the document for study, and especially among our synod delegates.

We spent a considerable amount of time discussing the theology of marriage and our episcopal role and responsibilities as chief pastors, and as guardians of the Church’s faith, order and unity. We concentrated on the relationship of the bishop to the Church locally, nationally and with our Anglican Communion partners, and alongside and within synods. These conversations led into considerations about the nature of our relationships within the House in light of the deep differences we have on the matter of changing the Church’s teaching on marriage.

In our exploration of these differences it became clear to us that the draft resolution to change the Marriage Canon to accommodate the marriage of same-sex partners is not likely to pass in the Order of Bishops by the canonical requirement of a 2/3rds majority in each Order. Some of us talked of being mortified and devastated by this realisation. We feel obliged to share this with the Council of General Synod as they give consideration to the process for handling this resolution at General Synod. We have grappled with this issue for three meetings of the House, and we feel a responsibility to convey our inability to come to a common mind in discerning what the Spirit is saying to the Church. We share this out of respect for the considerable work that the Church has invested in preparing to debate this motion at General Synod. We continue to wonder whether a legislative procedure is the most helpful way of dealing with these matters.
In our deliberations, we affirmed a commitment to continuing conversations and engagement with the Report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, and to achieving the greatest pastoral generosity possible. There is a desire among us to explore other options for honouring and fully embracing committed, faithful same-sex relationships. We will also engage Indigenous and minority cultural perspectives in our Anglican family in our understanding of marriage.

Read it all and there is an article with some reaction in the Anglican Journal here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

TEC Executive Council: opening remarks from House of Deputies president

The last time we met, just over three months ago, I said some things. I said some things about standing on the threshold and about longing for change and about embracing our elastic identity……
“I’m feeling pretty elastic this triennium,” I said
I want to thank you, Michael, for the wisdom and steadiness with which you guided us all through the recent primates meeting and its aftermath. While confusion reigned and rumors swirled, you helped us understand, to renew, that we are still full members of the Anglican Communion, that our mission relationships with Anglicans across the world are strong, and that what binds us together is far stronger than what threatens to separate us. I will take your spirit with me when I travel to Zambia in April as the Episcopal Church’s clergy representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, where you can be assured that I will participate fully with a glad heart, a strong spirit and pride that the Episcopal Church fully affirms the dignity and worth of all of God’s children, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

TEC Executive Council: opening remarks from the Presiding Bishop

Many believed that marriage is part of core doctrine. No individual church can change core doctrine. Many felt that the expansion of who may be married on our part was a change in church doctrine. Therefore it was in part on that basis that many felt that we had overstepped our authority as a province. I didn’t agree with that but I respect that that was the understanding of many. For me, marriage is not part of core doctrine. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is core doctrine. The doctrine of who Jesus Christ is ”“ wholly God and wholly human ”“ is doctrine. The articles of the Creeds are doctrine. The Holy Scriptures and the Old and New Testament are core doctrine. Other sections of the Chicago”“ Lambeth Quadrilateral are core doctrine. Marriage is a sacramental rite, it is a solemn and sacred matter of faith and practice. But it is not core doctrine.

Their action was surgical, specific, and mediated. Because we are seen as having deviated from doctrine of the Anglican Communion, for three years we are suspended on ambassadorial and leadership positions.

What the Primates said applies to the Primates. It does not apply to ACC.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology

Church of Uganda: Archbishop’s Lenten Appeal to Pray for Uganda and the Anglican Communion

[Extracts are below, but read the whole letter]
..ANGLICAN COMMUNION. My second burden in prayer has been for our beloved Anglican Communion. As you know and have heard me and our leaders say many times, the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn at its deepest level in 2003. The Episcopal Church in America (TEC) elected as Bishop a divorced father of two living in a same-sex relationship. Not only was this a direct violation of the Bible, but it violated Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 which rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture”¦and cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

There was an emergency meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in October 2003 and our retired Archbishop Nkoyoyo attended that meeting in London. All the Primates in that meeting agreed that if TEC proceeded to consecrate this man as a Bishop, it would tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, and that TEC should not proceed with the consecration. Even the Presiding Bishop (Archbishop) of TEC agreed to this resolution.

Yet, immediately after the meeting ended, the TEC Presiding Bishop held a press conference outside of Lambeth Palace and told the press that he would preside at the consecration scheduled to take place just a few weeks later.

We felt so betrayed. We wondered how the TEC Presiding Bishop could agree that their consecration should not proceed ”“ how he could agree that if he presided at that consecration that it would tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level ”“ and then immediately turn around and announce that he would do it anyway. It was a double betrayal ”“ betraying the clear message of the Bible and betraying an agreement the Primates had made unanimously.

Thirteen years later, the Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered last month in January 2016 in Canterbury to discuss what to do about the fact that not only had TEC torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level in 2003, but they have since changed the definition of marriage to no longer be a lifelong union between one man and one woman. There is a new Presiding Bishop in TEC and a new Archbishop of Canterbury. We were cautiously optimistic that the tear in the fabric of our communion could be repaired and betrayal healed.

The overwhelming majority of Primates voted that there should be relational consequences for TEC because they are officially promoting false teaching. They should, therefore, not be allowed to represent the Anglican Communion in ecumenical and interfaith dialogues. Likewise, they should not be allowed to vote on matters of doctrine and polity within the Anglican Communion.

This was an important, symbolic vote because it was a rebuke of TEC. It also enabled the Primates of the Anglican Communion to re-state their commitment to the doctrine of marriage as between one man and one woman.

But, it was only a symbolic vote; it was not a substantive vote. Recent statements from TEC and other leaders in the Anglican Communion have since made this clear. Let me highlight two:

1. The Presiding Bishop of TEC (The Episcopal Church) stated during the Primates Meeting that TEC would not change its position on offering “marriage” to same-sex couples, and he has repeated TEC’s commitment to a definition of marriage the Bible does not recognize. In other words, the Primates decision will have no impact on TEC.

2. TEC’s delegates to the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka have stated that they intend to go to the meeting, participate in the meeting, and vote during the meeting. The Chair of the ACC ”“ former Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga ”“ has announced that TEC will be part of the meeting and will vote during the meeting. He stated that the Primates do not have the authority to tell the ACC what to do. Since the ACC is governed by its own Articles of Association, it does not have to follow the resolution of the Primates Meeting.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is like we are back in 2003 where we continue to be betrayed by our leaders. The Primates voted to bring discipline to TEC and, yet, we now see that the leadership of the Anglican Communion does not have the will to follow through. This is another deep betrayal..
..As you know, the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not participate in meetings of the Anglican Communion until godly order is restored, including demonstrating that it is capable of restoring godly order. This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka.

There will be a GAFCON Primates Council meeting in Chile in April, and we will discuss how to continue advancing the mission of GAFCON as a renewal movement within the Anglican Communion. As I have stated previously, we are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the Anglican Communion. We uphold the Biblical and historic faith of Anglicans and have come together in fellowship with other Provinces and national fellowships that have made the same decision…
I look at our beloved Anglican Communion and can only conclude that it needs a new “constitution” ”“ the way the so-called Instruments of Communion work together is broken. Our GAFCON Fellowship seeks to bring renewal to the Anglican Communion through the Jerusalem Declaration ”“ keeping the Word of God Incarnate and the Word of God written at the centre of our fellowship, upholding the historic Anglican confessions of faith, and using a conciliar model to order our common life.

I appeal to you, during this season of Lent, to please continue to pray for Uganda and for the Anglican Communion.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali


Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Bishop David Thompson's reflections on General Synod

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s opening address in which he told us what really happened at the Primates’ Gathering, behind all the spin. Remember that report that the Primates had had their phones taken away? Not true! In fact they delighted in waving them at the Archbishop to prove it. On the positive side, there were clearly moments when prayer and the presence of the Spirit changed everything, and made communion real. Alleluia!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Religion & Culture