Category : Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

(AM) Andrew Symes–Faithfulness to Christ against the odds: the Anglican Communion and the global sexual revolution

[Some but not all]…Global Anglican leaders will gather to meet in Canterbury in early October for a summit meeting. Most of them come from contexts where the Anglican church is continuing to teach and promote the biblical Gospel of repentance and faith in Christ for salvation, and the historic Christian understanding of sexuality and marriage. A few Provinces, with most of the wealth and power, are dominated by a leadership wanting to promote a different form of Christianity that is more acceptable to the secular West.

The last Primates…[gathering], in Canterbury January 2016, only made these divisions clearer. The majority of Primates resolved then to work together to continue the important work of the Anglican Communion, but required TEC to withdraw from full involvement, as they had violated the ‘bonds of affection’ by continuing to pursue their revisionist agenda, of which acceptance of same sex marriage was the latest example. But the TEC leadership, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office, interpreted things very differently. For them, Canterbury 2016 was all about resolving to “walk together”, continuing a conversation, finding unity in diversity, putting differences in doctrine to one side for the sake of common mission, etc.

There have been such scenarios many times before in the twenty-year process of separation between these two groups and their mutually incompatible visions of Christian truth. The pattern goes like this: an expensive, time-consuming meeting brings Primates together in good faith. While there is common ground on shared support for Anglican ministries of mercy, community development and peacebuilding, the majority again and again express their desire to move forward together on the basis of shared understanding of and commitment to the faith once delivered to the saints, and deep concern about departures from it. A document is produced reiterating the majority view and giving some form of censure for TEC and the revisionists. Almost immediately after the meeting the powerful minority ignore and renege on the agreements. As the majority protest, they are accused of being divisive by the officials from the Anglican Communion Office.

Two of the longest-serving Primates have experienced this pattern several times at first hand. Archbishops Nicholas Okoh and Stanley Ntagali have decided not to attend the upcoming conference, because it is clear that the result will be no different; there has been a “breakdown of trust”[1] and the failure to follow through resolutions reinforces “a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity”[2]. Why are more Primates not boycotting the meeting? Of the four others who are not attending, at least two have not publicly given a reason but are known to align with Okoh and Ntagali. Several of those attending are relatively new in post; they may have heard about the bad faith and broken promises at meetings in the past but have not experienced it themselves; some believe that it’s important to be there and defend the orthodox position. Some have been personally welcomed and persuaded by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and are mindful of not jeopardizing important connections with British and American government aid departments.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Tim Fountain–Radical attendance drop shows Anglican Primates Mtg. in "disunity"

Today, less than 8 years after the 2003 emergency Primates Meeting, 15 of the Primates are no-shows. There is loss of trust and a sense that words and efforts are meaningless – that the Episcopal Church in particular will act unilaterally against the mind of the Provincial leaders and global Anglican witness.

The Episcopal Church continues to decline, with its membership the oldest among U.S. denominations and its internal reports showing no reliable sources or patterns of growth. In an Anglican Communion of some 80 million members, only about 700,000 Episcopalians attend services on an average Sunday. The [partnered] gay bishop consecrated in 2003 downsized his diocese, spent most of his time at gay movement and media events, and recently announced his retirement after less than a decade in office.
A [partnered] lesbian bishop was consecrated, and some gay and lesbian couples have had high profile ceremonies, including a recent lesbian union worded contentiously as a variation on the Prayer Book marriage rite.

So, a small, affluent, socially homogeneous inner circle of a very small denomination indulges its fancies at the cost of a diverse, global Christian fellowship – a fellowship whose leaders hung in with misrepresentations and broken commitments while trying to maintain bonds of affection. That is, until this 2011 Anglican Primates Meeting in Dublin.

Read it all and make sure to take special note of the numbers of Primates attending.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007

Graham Kings: Between the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC

There have been no such consecrations since 2006, but there is tremendous pressure to repeal resolution B033. The debate on that resolution will, in effect, be a debate on the Anglican Covenant. If it is repealed, TEC will clearly signal its rejection of the Anglican Covenant. It would be a reiteration of ”˜autonomy’ alone, rather than the Covenant concept of ”˜autonomy within interdependence’. So in debating resolution B033 of 2006, General Convention will in effect be debating the Covenant. It may well be, to the surprise of many, that B033 is not repealed: though even if this were to happen, it would still leave open the specific subject of the Ridley Cambridge draft.

This leads us to the second related resolution which Dan Martins, of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, submitted to the General Convention office on the afternoon of 24 April 2009. It is co-sponsored by Christopher Wells, also of Northern Indiana, and Bruce Robison, of the Diocese of Pittsburgh (TEC not Southern Cone version).

It is entitled, ”˜Provisional Acceptance of the Anglican Covenant’, and is causing much discussion already. All three sponsors are involved in the Covenant web site.

”˜Communion Partner Bishops’, the positive ”˜Communion Conservative’ movement of those who have not split off from The Episcopal Church, representing about 14 dioceses, met in Houston in April. Their statement, very perceptively, set out the grounds for individual dioceses of TEC to sign the Covenant. It has already been the cause of considerable debate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

The Scottish Episcopal Bishops respond to the Primates communiqué of February 2009

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

A Church of Ireland Gazette Editorial Worries About the Primates Meeting

Added to what at least appears to be a communiqué ”˜spin’ on Archbishop Coggan’s 1978 address, in a press briefing last week the Archbishop of Canterbury referred to a “need for a shift of focus in the life of the Communion from autonomy of provinces with communion added on, to communion as the primary reality with autonomy and accountability understood within that framework”. Precisely what that implies remains somewhat mysterious, but one can see the direction in which such a comment points. There is a slippery slope here, and it is important that the Primates’ Meeting should remain essentially for the purposes of consultative fellowship. The Anglican Communion should avoid a formal College of Primates.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Katharine Jefferts Schori: Different lenses provide different views of Scripture

The primates’ meeting has come and gone, and I’m sure there will have been abundant commentary by the time this is published. I’d like to reflect on some of the deeper issues behind our conversations about sexuality, particularly the influence of our understanding of gender.

The most intriguing conversation I had in Alexandria was with a primate who asked how same-sex couples partition “roles.” He literally asked if one was identified as the wife and one as the husband, and then wanted to know which one promised to obey the other in the marriage ceremony. Several of us explained that marriage in the West is most often understood as a partnership of equals, and has been for some time.

Those of you with a few more years on you may remember that the marriage service in the 1928 (and earlier versions) of the Book of Common Prayer did indeed have language about the wife obeying her husband. It’s pertinent here to note that the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer is still the norm in many provinces of the Anglican Communion, and it uses the same kind of language about obeying in the marriage service.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Chris Sugden–No deviation: Archbishop Daniel Deng of Sudan

Though he has estimated it has already cost his province $100,000 from The Episcopal Church in the USA, he continues fearlessly to call TEC to account by saying that there is no solution for the current crisis in the Anglican Communion till TEC repents and undoes what it did in making Gene Robinson a bishop.

He has given a clear public account of his position and accepts the challenge of discussion. His approach mirrors that taken by other primates from Tanzania, Rwanda, West Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and Southern Cone. Transparency and accountability is a strength they share.

His courage gives the lie to the argument that same-sex relations is a secondary issue. The division of matters into primary and secondary issues is very fluid. The American church has no intention of turning the clock back. They continue to provide for same-sex blessings. The moratorium on this matter was always bound to fail since for TEC this is a first order issue. But TEC urges those who oppose them that this is a second order issue with legitimate diversity and no grounds for breaking communion. This division is not one of theology but of power and preference. Clearly for Archbishop Deng it is first order. That is why he spoke as he did at the Primates Meeting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

George Conger has a lot of Good pictures up from the Primates Meeting in Alexandria

Take a look.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Leander S. Harding: Thoughts on Alexandria

The Anglican Communion is in a state of grave crisis and is broken in a way that is very resistant to reconciliation. The church is broken de facto both within provinces and between provinces. There is a sense of the bizarre and of unreality about discussions that view schism as something that approaches but has not yet come. (The next General Convention of The Episcopal Church may clarify this reality in a stunning way.) The church at all levels is torn and the question now is what degree of reconciliation is possible and what will the de jure structures of a reconciled communion look like. It is a positive development that there is a growing recognition that the current instruments of communion are not adequate to maintain the faith, order and unity of a world-wide church. The emphasis on autonomy by the local provinces across the theological spectrum is hard to square with mutual submission in the Body of Christ especially when issues arise that scandalize large portions of the faithful….

All of the suggestions for pastoral care of the alienated orthodox in North America have been too little and too late. The main defect of these proposals is that they are developed without consulting the very people they are supposed to help and are promulgated without a clear signal that those to whom they are supposed to offer relief, see their needs adequately met.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

Statement from the President of the House of Deputies on the Primates Communiqué and WCG Report

In stark contrast to the increasingly relational tone reflected in the Primates Communiqué, the Windsor Continuation Group has taken a step backward, issuing a report that yearns for greater ecclesial centralization achieved by concentrating power in the hands of bishops and archbishops, further marginalizing the laity and diminishing the influence of member churches in the common life of our Communion. The authors of the report””two retired primates, a primate, two bishops and a retired Cathedral dean””believe an “ecclesial deficit” exists within Anglicanism and propose to remedy it by strengthening three of the four “Instruments of Communion”, namely the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting. The instrument they have overlooked is the Anglican Consultative Council; the only instrument that includes lay people, priests and deacons and that has a constitution that codifies its membership, procedures and authority. The ACC’s meetings have proven much less susceptible to outside manipulation than those of the Primates Meetings, as the machinations at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam made painfully clear.

Yet the Windsor Continuation Group argues that the Communion must receive statements from the Primates: “with a readiness to undertake reflection and accommodation,” while questioning whether the Anglican Consultative Council can “adequately” exercise the purely consultative function it currently serves. This illustrates a triumph of ecclesial ideology over common sense.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Windsor Report / Process

Jordan Hylden–The Anglicans in Egypt: A Deeper Communion

Some, perhaps, hoped that official communion recognition could be bypassed altogether in favor of recognition by the GAFCON council. But the GAFCON primates themselves, in Egypt, have apparently decided that this route is premature. Instead, the primates at Egypt proposed that a professionally mediated discussion be initiated among all the concerned parties, with the goal of finding some sort of “provisional holding arrangement” that could have the blessing of the communion at large.

What of the “federal liberals,” particularly in the Episcopal Church? As has long been clear, it is unlikely that it will sign on for the sort of robust covenant and institutional reform that the emerging consensus is envisioning. The church’s Executive Council recently published its response to the proposed Anglican Covenant, more or less saying that it is not interested in any sort of covenant with consequences. Bonnie Anderson, the president of the church’s House of Deputies, has for her part signaled that at this summer’s General Convention she will push to move away from an earlier resolution that called for restraint on further consecration of gay bishops. Although the American church does not plan on taking up the covenant at its convention this summer, the arrows thus far point towards an effectual rejection of its terms.

Tellingly and worryingly, the Executive Council’s response also asserted that the proposed Covenant may only be adopted or rejected at the provincial level, rather than the diocesan. For many “communion conservatives” who still remain within the Episcopal Church, this will amount to a deep crisis of conscience, since in effect their church seems bent upon forcing them to choose between the Anglican communion and the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, TEC Conflicts, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address at General Synod 2009

This is only one example of what people do not want to lose in the life of the Communion. And it is a good Pauline principle, if you read II Corinthians, that we should be glad of the honour of being able to support other churches in their need. Who knows whether some other structure than the Communion as we know it might make this possible? But the bare fact is that what now, specifically, makes it possible is the Communion we have, and that is not something to let go of lightly. Hence the difficult but unavoidable search for the forms of agreed self-restraint that will allow us to keep conversation alive ”“ the moratoria advised by Lambeth, very imperfectly observed yet still urged by the Primates as a token of our willingness not to behave as if debates had been settled that are still in their early stages at best.

The Communion we have: it is indeed a very imperfect thing at the moment. It is still true that not every Primate feels able to communicate at the Lord’s Table alongside every other, and this is indeed a tragedy. Yet last week, all the Primates who had attended GAFCON were present, every one of them took part in daily prayer and Bible study alongside the Primates of North America and every one of them spoke in discussion. In a way that I have come to recognise as very typical of these meetings, when talk of replacing Communion with federation of some kind was heard, nearly everyone reacted by saying that this was not something they could think about choosing. We may have imperfect communion, but we unmistakably want to find a way of holding on to what we have and ‘intensifying’ it ”“ to use the language I used last summer about the proposed Anglican Covenant. Somehow, the biblical call to be involved with one another at a level deeper than that of mere affinity and good will is still heard loud and clear. No-one wants to rest content with the breach in sacramental fellowship, and everyone acknowledges that this breach means we are less than we are called to be. But the fact that we recognise this and that we still gather around the Word is no small thing; without this, we should not even be able to hope for the full restoration of fellowship at the Eucharist.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Eucharist, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Fort Worth Reflections on the Alexandria Communiqué

My first reading of the Communiqué left me rather disappointed. I wanted to ask, “Is that all there is?” After hearing some of the comments made about the Alexandria meeting by GAFCON Primates, I have come to the conclusion that reading the Communiqué is not sufficient for understanding what actually transpired during the course of the meeting itself. Evidently the document released by the Primates does not tell the whole story. If Archbishops Greg Venables and Henry Orombi are encouraged and hopeful about what will come of all this, then so am I. Time will tell.

My second and third readings of the Communiqué reinforced my initial impression that we had heard all of this before and that there was not much new in what was being proposed. The idea of mediated conversations has been tried before, but I suppose there is no harm in trying again. Yes, we know there are “difficulties” and “concerns” about the possibility of parallel jurisdictions, but new challenges call for new solutions, and it can be done. There are precedents. So let the “professionally mediated conversation” begin at the earliest opportunity. But let there also be a halt to the litigation and law suits against all parties at the same time. How can we expect to resolve the impasse we are in when TEC still seeks to use the civil courts to eliminate all opposition?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

An Open Letter from Archbishop Akinola to Archbishop Williams

In preparation for the meeting I asked The American Anglican Council to prepare the attached report on the continuing situation of The Episcopal Church to enable people in the wider Communion to have a fuller perspective of the circumstances in North America. I shared it with my colleagues in the Global South but did not release it more widely in the hope that we would receive assurances from the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada that they were willing to exercise genuine restraint towards those Anglicans in North America unwilling to embrace their several innovations.

Sadly that did not prove to be the case. Instead we were treated to presentations that sought to trivialize the situation and the consequences for those whose only offence is their determination to hold on doggedly and truthfully to the faith once delivered to the saints. In addition I have learned that even as we met together in Alexandria actions were taken that were in direct contradiction to the season of deeper communion and gracious restraint to which we all expressed agreement. For example, in the days leading up to our meeting, the Diocese of Virginia declared the “inherent integrity and blessedness” of same sex unions and initiated a process to provide for their “blessing”. While we were meeting, The Diocese of Toronto also announced that it will start same sex blessings within a year and The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia filed further costly legal action appealing the court’s decision in twenty cases favouring nine Virginia congregations. These and many further actions are documented within the report.

Please read it all and the attachments in the pdf links underneath the letter.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Living Church Analysis: Primates Offer Support, Warnings to Both Sides

The primates’ letter had received the unanimous endorsement of the primates, Archbishop Williams said. However, the WCG’s communication was a report prepared by a committee appointed by Archbishop Williams and presented by him to the primates as a resource document; it was not submitted to a vote. Many parts of the communiqué refer to passages from the 17-page WCG report. Other sections of the communiqué refer to the document on gracious restraint. The sections mentioned in the communiqué indicate broader support among the primates.

This communiqué, perhaps to a more significant degree than others in recent years, attempts to look to doctrine rather than legislation or political solutions. The primates pick up a theme from the Windsor Report, which questioned whether the Communion suffered from an “ecclesial deficit, in other words, do we have the necessary theological structural and cultural foundations to sustain the life of the Communion? We need to address divisive issues in a timely and effective way, and to learn the responsibilities and obligations of interdependence.”

The Episcopal Church and the proposed Anglican Church of North America both received support, as well as pointed but fair questions about their conduct and objectives. For instance, The Episcopal Church was praised for its efforts to date to exercise “gracious restraint” in not consecrating any additional openly gay bishops. The proponents of the proposed new parallel province in North America were reassured that they were Anglican, and that they were deserving of some measure of protection from legal attacks, at least in the short term.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Primates, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process