Category : — Statements & Letters: Primates

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.

(signed)

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

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(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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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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ACNA Leader Bill Atwood offers Reflections on the Statement of the Anglican Church of Nigeria

The strength of the Church of Nigeria (CON) is not just from its massive size, though massive it is at more than twenty million active members! This statement demonstrates their ability to think clearly, and communicate articulately. It also demonstrates the lie of Jack Spong’s assertion at the 1998 Lambeth Bishop’s Conference that the African Bishops were operating out of ignorance. Besides the fact that the Nigerian arguments are rock solid, anyone who correctly uses “ palaver” gets a tip of the hat! Besides that, an overwhelming percentage of Nigerian (and other African Provinces’) Bishops have earned advanced degrees. Far more than in the US, Canada, or England.

Notice that in response to the inability of the Communion to deal with the theological crisis adequately, the CON had the vision to modify their constitution to limit their relations to those Provinces and Dioceses that maintain historic, Biblical faith.

Here they rightly put the focus on The Word of God instead of on institutional decisions and/or loyalties.

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(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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(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.

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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.

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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!

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TEC will go to the ACC meeting in Lusaka and they will vote, ACC chairman says

The Episcopal Church “cannot be kicked out of the Anglican Communion and will never be kicked out of the Anglican Communion,” the chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council told a seminary audience last week.

In a public conversation with the dean of the School of Theology of the University of the South held on 11 Feb 2016, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga said the legal and ecclesial structures of the Anglican Communion did not permit the primates, or any other “instrument of communion”, to discipline a member church.

Dr. Tengatenga said that in his view, the impression that the primates could take decisive action arose from a confusion of roles. In most provinces, bishops were tasked with preserving the doctrine and teaching of the church. When bishops gathered in mass in gatherings such as the Lambeth Conference, or when the leaders of provinces met at the primates meeting, the participants were often under the impression that their deliberations had the same standing as they would have in their home churches.

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The TEC Bp of Hawaii writes in response to the 2016 Primates Gathering

What does it mean? Frankly, I was not surprised by the outcome. It is in many ways better that I had feared. In practical terms of our mission and ministry, the Primates’ statement will have very little impact.

In the early 1930s the Archbishop of York, later Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, proposed that we Christians apply four basic Christian principles when addressing any issues of the Christian life and morality, and social and economic justice. They are: (1) the sacredness of personality, (2) the fact of fellowship, (3) the duty of service, and (4) the power of self-sacrifice.

The sacredness of personality is the principle that affirms the value of each of us as individuals before God. The basis for this principle in our Christian life is the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The Incarnational Principle affirms the sacredness of individual human persons as products of creation and the foci of redemption. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1, 14) These words from John’s gospel graphically express the reality of a God who lived, laughed, suffered and died within our human lives. All humanity-each of us individually-is sanctified by the mere fact of the Incarnation. We each are a sacred personality.

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(Vancouver Courier) Dean Peter Elliott profile on his response to the 2016 Primates Meeting

In the meeting of the 38 Anglican-aligned national churches worldwide at Canterbury Cathedral last month, the confab condemned the Episcopal Church ”” as it is called in the States ”” but also made explicit statements about respecting the rights of homosexuals worldwide.

“What we got actually was a classic Anglican compromise. Anglicans are good at that,” says Elliott. “There [are] very strong statements about the civil rights of homosexual people and I think there is a door opened now to say to, for example, Anglicans in Uganda: Listen, church support of government policies that criminalize homosexuality and make it punishable both by imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty, that’s offside. Similarly, to the Episcopal Church, marrying same-sex couples, that’s offside.”

Canadians need to understand, he says, that priorities for people in other places are very different and progress on gay rights has come with incredible speed to parts of the Western world.

“I never imagined in my lifetime that gay people would be allowed to marry in Canada and it’s now been over 10 years that we’ve been allowed to marry, nor that the church would be seriously talking about this,” he says. “It’s light years ahead.”

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TEC minister Charles Shackelford responds to the 2016 Anglican Primates Gathering

Reflecting on the recent meeting of Anglican Primates in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, “Some have said unity is worthless if achieved at the expense of justice; others have urged unity is a false prize if it undermines truth. Both of the views misunderstand the nature of the Church…a body of people committed to each other because they are followers of Jesus Christ… We looked at each other across our deep and complex differences — and we recognised those we saw as those with whom we are called to journey in hope towards the truth and love of Jesus Christ. It was our unanimous decision to walk together and to take responsibility for making that work.”

So far, so good. Then, immediately following this solid portion of the statement, he recounts how the Episcopal Church is being punished for her belief in marriage equality. Canada, which is close by with us on the issue, was only threatened. We alone were singled out for exclusion from an active role in the Anglican Communion for three years. This decision results in part from the rapid growth of Christianity in the sub-Saharan world, most of whose bishops and archbishops exercise an autocratic model of church government, hold conservative opinions’ and they have constituted a majority of the primates for several years. In my opinion, the imposition of punitive measures betrays a fundamental misunderstanding and disregard for both the nature of Anglicanism and the nature of our Communion.

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An Episcopal Priest in Chehalis, Washington responds to the Primates Gathering

Last month, the archbishops of the Anglican Communion voted to temporarily kick the American branch of the Communion, the Episcopal Church, out of its international association to a degree for its acceptance of gays and lesbians.
Two-thirds of the 37 leaders of the Communion voted for the censorship, suspending the Episcopal Church from voting and decision-making for the next three years.
While the decision is said to have derived from the Episcopal Church’s decision in July of last year to allow its priests to perform same-sex marriages, Father Joe Mikel, priest at St. Timothy Episcopal Church in Chehalis, agrees with the Episcopal Church’s acceptance.
“If you’re gay, a lesbian, transgender human being, do I throw you on the ash heap of life?” Mikel asked. “Are they human beings? Do they need love? Do they long for inclusion and forgiveness ”¦ just like me?”

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(RNS) Episcopal church leader Michael Curry calls Anglican censure ”˜fair’

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is describing the recent censure of his church over allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages as a “fair” move by the wider Anglican Communion.

Anglican primates voted last month in Canterbury, England, to remove the Episcopal Church from votes on doctrine and to ban it from representing the communion in ambassadorial relationships for three years.

In an appearance at the National Press Club on Monday (Feb. 8), Curry said the decision was a “very specific, almost surgical approach” that allowed both sides to express their differences and yet find a way to remain together.

“There was clarity on our part, both about who we are as a church and about our love and commitment to the communion and there was clarity on their part that they disagreed with us,” he said. “But they didn’t vote us off the island.”

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(AI) Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria reports on the 2016 Primates Gathering

It has been the collective resolution of the GAFCON Group for several years that we shall not participate in any gathering in the Anglican Communion to which TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) were invited, until they repented of their erroneous doctrinal and theological postures and practices. However, following the almost unanimous resolution of the GAFCON and the Global South Groups, we decided the invitation.

Attached is the statement of the meeting regarding TEC.

The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) was not focused on because it claimed that it has not altered its Marriage Canon. However, we know that the Anglican Church of Canada, Scotland, Wales, Brazil and New Zealand are on the way to toeing the footsteps of TEC. We are yet to be convinced that the restrictions imposed on TEC will be implemented. The bottom line, therefore, is that nothing has changed.

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