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

Read it all [pdf]

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

21 comments on “Breaking–Bishop Mouneer Anis decides not to attend the 2016 ACC Meeting in Lusaka

  1. Kendall Harmon says:

    Quite a significant development considering who it is and how this letter is worded.

  2. tjmcmahon says:

    Amen to Kendall in #1. God bless ++Mouneer. This is very encouraging. Business as usual is over.

  3. Br. Michael says:

    Well, if this is finally realizing that TEC is going to do what it wants and the rest of the Communion be damned it’s at least 10 years late.

  4. Katherine says:

    Praise God for this!

  5. Karen B. says:

    What a great letter. So clear. So gracious. Very significant indeed. May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen Archbishop Mouneer.

  6. John Boyland says:

    Archbishop Anis refers to nomination to the Standing Committee; is there some document available that gives the nominations?

  7. Martin Reynolds says:

    I am so sorry that He has chosen not to attend.
    Somehow, I feel he has been badly advised and poorly guided to this decision.
    There certainly is some considerable confusion about the role of Primates and their meetings. Nobody seems sure that the January meeting was a Primates Meeting.
    The Archbishop quotes Lambeth Conference resolutions but fails to mention that the consensus reported from the last Lambeth Conference did not favour the way the Primates had developed their role.
    Putting this aside, it seems irrational, faced with such uncertainty, not to attend a forum where this can properly be discussed.
    I have recently returned from this Province and in my meetings there seemed an eager antivipation of the ACC gathering and I am assuming that the Archbishop is simply deciding for himself and is not seeking to prevent the Provincial delegates?
    The uncertainty of what the Instruments can properly decide or do has also been a matter for Lambeth resolutions and one can attribute the present lack of certainty to the failure of Provinces to address this matter within their own synods. This was being raised in meetings I was having.
    This was, at least in part, something the debate about the Covenant was meant to resolve and indeed the Covenant (regardless of its shortcomings) does help give a certain clarity to the dispersed authority within the Communion. I must say that the exhasperation in this letter would come with greater force and deeper moral persuasion if the Archbishop’s Province had debated and adopted the Covenant presently languishing with only 14 supporters.
    It is hard to persuade anyone outside his Province about this lack of certainty when he has not done his work at home to help this along.
    It was interesting to note that the Archbishop WAS willing to attend with TEC present. until he understood that TECs presence on the Standing Committee would continue.
    I am not sure that decisions of the Primates of whatever form have the force to influence the legal structures of the ACC but this Archbishop should have been there to press his point. That would have been the best outcome.

  8. tjmcmahon says:

    The primates on the standing committee were elected on the Friday of the Primates “gathering.”

  9. Luke says:

    #7 – You may well find this instructive and to the point of your comments:

  10. Luke says:

    As Anglican Unscripted (233) reveals once again, “They (GAFCON and Southern Cone primates) don’t want to play a crooked game anymore.”

  11. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Martin, the only ones confused about whether the Primates met in January are TEc. You raise any issue save the presenting one. Lest it have escaped you, let me state that it is the arrogant, imperialistic imposition of error by TEc in relation to human sexuality and the Scripture, Tradition, and Reason of the Christian Church. The Primates not attending are having to re-iterate that point loudly enough for TEC and its benighted to have a chance of hearing the truth.

    Not that TEc has ears to hear, nor TEc’s adherents to the zeitgeist.

  12. Martin Reynolds says:

    Firstly let me apologise for typos etcc my contributions are presently from a phone and it’s spell check and small buttons along with only occasionally being allowed to correct makes life hard with my poor eyesight.
    #9 thanks, sadly I do not find the journalism reliable apart from the a occasional bits from my friend Peter Ould. The idea that the Archbishop in question acres as “honest broker” does ring true and that might account for his particular sensitivity.
    #11 ooh! I was covering the letter and earlier remarks on VOL. but glad you think I touched most bases.
    As I understand it three Primates said they would not attend if it had been a Primates Meeting, and there is much more. I had not noticed any uncertainty from TEC please reference this so I can add to the list.

  13. Katherine says:

    #7: “I am not sure that decisions of the Primates of whatever form have the force to influence the legal structures of the ACC but this Archbishop should have been there to press his point.” They probably don’t have legal status for the ACC, which is a UK charity. However, this Archbishop [Egypt] has been to an ACC meeting at which conservatives were treated without respect. If the Primates, the leaders of the church around the world, whatever one calls their meeting/gathering, do not have influence over the ACC, then really there is no point to the ACC or to the Archbishop’s attendance.

  14. pendennis88 says:

    If the primates can meet, and yet it be unclear they are having a meeting, make decisions at the non-meeting or meeting as it may be and have them promptly disregarded, and if the ACC is merely a UK charity as to which no one has any certainty as to what its authority in the Anglican Communion may or may not be, and where voices such as those of Bishop Anis are not listened to in any event, then those are all arguments for a bishop of the global south to conclude that participation in any of these events is pointless, if not stifling of the spirit.

    It would also be disengenuous in arguing for attendance at Lusaka not to recall that the ACC meeting in Jamaica was rightly described as “unfair” and “manipulative” by this same Bishop, which is among the milder descriptions from orthodox participants. There has been no cause for him or anyone else to conclude that the forthcoming meeting will be any different.

    As near as one can tell, the so-called instruments of communion are no longer fit for purpose.

  15. New Reformation Advocate says:

    I too rejoice at this fine letter by the noble ++Mouneer Anis. So clear, so forthright, so firm, and yet so gracious (far more so in the last category than I would be). As ++Robert Duncan has said so often in years past, “[i]Courage breeds courage.[/i]”

    I can only hope that many ACC reps in the Global South follow his godly example. A loud and clear signal needs to be sent to the rest of the Anglican world, and the wider non-Anglican world as well. Namely, there is no chance for “business as usual” anymore. Just as was the case with Lambeth in 2008, the sad reality is that the Anglican world is hopelessly fractured, and there is no point in pretending otherwise.

    David Handy+

  16. Martin Reynolds says:

    My comments here are reacting to the comments in an article published at VOL and this letter both from the Primate of the Gulf and Middle East.
    I believe It was reported that in January he accepted election to the Standing Committe of the ACC and I guess that it is in that representative role he was attending the ACC. That he accepted this election does not suggest that he was seeing the ACC as abusive or manipulative or a dead duck that does nothing, stifling or pointless.
    Even now, he seems to be more annoyed at the failure to push forward on “rule by Primates” and only concerned that the ACC not be seen as a Synod any more than an Archbishop of Canterbury was eager that Lambeth Conference meetings should be deemed a Council. He was not unhappy TEC was there.
    I agree with the view that the instruments are unfit for purpose. There is confusion about all of them and shenanigans are rife. It is clear that confidence is dented even for Communion enthusiasts and the Covenant intended to help fix it all has stalled, some say collapsed.
    My view, again is that this confusion has nothing to do with TEC, the work needed to keep the developments a realistic project within the member churches since the 1970 ‘s just wasnt done.
    But even ABp Folley Beach acknowledges it is the only organisation capable of legitimising his presence at meetings and it remains the only Instrument recognised by my Church in its canonical structure and that is so in most others.
    I also now understand the delegation from his Province is attending.

  17. Martin Reynolds says:

    #16. I am grateful.
    But Indont see TEc questioning this as a Primates Meeting, in fact there seems to be an acceptance it was a legitamate meeting, not a gathering … Can you point me where ?

  18. tjmcmahon says:

    By the way-
    Where is the “Task Group”? I would like to read their written opinion on whether the current conduct of TEC, Tengatenga and the ABoC, and whether this is consistent with their understanding of Addendum A to the Primates Communique. And how TEC’s continued “full participation” in the ACC meeting, and maintaining membership on the standing committee, is going to address “the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt.”

    I mean, Welby did appoint the Task Group just a week or 2 after the Primates Meeting, like he promised, didn’t he? He must have. I’m sure he did. Names just all slip my mind at the moment, and I can’t remember a word any of them said….

  19. Martin Reynolds says:

    #ah! missed that completely!
    Both and, not one or other!
    Perfect, thank you.