We were all conscious of the awareness of the inevitability of some kind of a split in the Anglican Communion. We have already seen the reality of it in the formation of the ACNA [the Anglican Church of North America formed as a reaction against Episcopal liberalism] and the new Anglican Province in Brazil.
As encouraging as the solidarity of the orthodox Primates was, there was also sadness – which everyone recognized. Some of my friends who are close theological allies stayed away from the meeting out of conscience, namely [the Archbishops of] Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.
Others – the Primate of the ACNA and the Primate of the new Anglican Province in Brazil – weren’t invited. The Primate of ACNA was invited to the Primates’ Meeting in 2016, but not to the October 2017 meeting nor this one. I don’t know who decided that. None of the Primates I have spoken with were asked about it. Both the Primate of the ACNA and the Primate of the new Anglican Province in Brazil are included as full members of the Global South [a movement of some of the Anglican provinces] and should have been invited to Jordan to help in this process of dialogue and discernment.
As many Primates commented on the inescapable truth that a separation is almost bound to happen, pretty well everyone in the room nodded and agreed. The biggest challenge was that we don’t know how to either avoid or accomplish it.
A key factor this time was that of our attitudes. Put simply, as a group, we have tried to move away from acrimony in personal relationships despite our disagreements. That does not diminish the vast differences in our theological positions, nor does it mean that there won’t ultimately be a divide. It is just the hope that we can do it with more kindness than was done with the Episcopal Church.
Photos with those with whom we don’t agree can reflect the kindness we hope to show to each other, but they should not be misunderstood to be interpreted that there is agreement or acquiescence on fundamental issues of Biblical faith.