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"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Instruments of Unity
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 If it is repealed, TEC will clearly signal its rejection of the Anglican Covenant.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.
Read it carefully and read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
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.
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
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Theology: Scripture
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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Episcopal Church of the Sudan Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
Take a look.
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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
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.
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.
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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Identity Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Lambeth 2008 * Theology Ecclesiology Sacramental Theology Eucharist
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.
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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Common Cause Partnership --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
Another meeting of Anglican Primates has come and gone, nothing of substance has been done or decided. The problem the Communion faces is not with one or two individuals such as Gene Robinson who unfairly has become the focus of our problems, but rather with false teaching. Those who teach that sexual immorality is acceptable are leading people to destruction. But this is true of more than one or two of the Anglican Primates there are several Primates, including Rowan Williams who appear to hold to such false teaching. Turkeys are not going to vote for Christmas. There are a number of Primates who have taken a lead including those associated with last year’s GAFCON gathering. Yet even they have seemed unwilling publicly to admit that the problem stretches to more than just one or two of their fellow Primates. But they are probably influenced in this by the fact that they are a minority and there are many more who whilst being genuinely outraged by what has happened in the US and Canada, seem temperamentally incapable of taking action. In the Anglican Way part of the task of Bishops is “to drive out strange and erroneous teaching” (Book of Common Prayer Ordinal) yet in much of what passes as Anglicanism today this part of their role is sadly neglected.
There was a brief time when combined outrage might have translated into action but Rowan Williams headed this off and now it seems that the body of Primates as a whole will not do anything.
Read it all.
All through our gathering at the recently concluded Primates’ meeting I kept wondering whether we were the ones to whom John was writing. We have a glorious reputation – a worldwide communion of millions with a glorious history and beautiful heritage, fluid structures, grand cathedrals, “infallible” canons, historical ecclesiology and ‘flexible’ hermeneutics – but we are in danger of forgetting what we have received and heard and replacing it with the seemingly attractive gods and goddesses of our age. We are in danger of becoming the ‘living dead’ by giving the outward appearance of life but in reality we are no more than empty and ineffective vessels. In parts of our Communion some have merged the historical gospel message of Jesus the Christ with seductive ancient heresies and revisionist agendas, which have resulted in an adulterated and dangerous distortion of the gospel. The call to obedience and repentance is one that we must declare but we refuse and instead we replace it with a polite invitation to empty tolerance and endless conversation. Sometimes we think that we can replace the need for repentance with activities, programmes, endless meetings, conventions and communiqués --- we are wrong!
Our world is in turmoil desperately looking for hope and we have been given that hope in the life and person of Jesus the Christ who sets us free from the slavery of sin to the new life of the Spirit --- that is our message, that is our assurance, that is the holy life to which we have been called. It is a life of costly commitment where we reject the false gods and promises of this present age and embrace the one true God and His righteous claims upon our lives. It is a life of obedience to the revealed Word of God which must never be compromised. It is a gospel message which is to be fully proclaimed unfettered and undiluted. It is a life worth living and a life worth dying for. It is a life of true freedom that was birthed in this land and one we dare not forget.
Read it all.
[Robert] Duncan made no mention of the primates' call for mediated talks in his official statement responding to the February 5 communiqué issued after the leaders or primates of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces ended their five day meeting in Alexandria, Egypt. Instead, in that statement, he portrayed the members of the proposed new "Anglican Church in North America" as people "who are attempting to remain faithful amidst vast pressures to acquiesce to beliefs and practices far outside of the Christian and Anglican mainstream."
[Bonnie] Anderson told ENS that "the primates spoke in a new voice in their communiqué." Anderson, who plans to issue a full statement next week, went on to say that "while I didn't agree with everything they said, I appreciated their emphasis on relationships and their commitment to mission. The Windsor Continuation Group is another matter. They seem firmly anchored in the past, yearning for a centralized authority that can solve all of our problems. This is troubling, because centralization disenfranchises the laity, and diminishes the importance of the witness of the local church."
In their communiqué, the primates called for the development of a "pastoral council" and Williams' ability to appoint of "pastoral visitors" to assist in healing and reconciliation given the current "situation of tension" in the Anglican Communion. They also encouraged all parties in the current controversies to maintain "gracious restraint" with respect to actions that could exacerbate the tensions, such as same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Common Cause Partnership --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Polity & Canons Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
The Primates gave considerable attention to the report of the Windsor Continuation Group. It addressed the strained relationships within the Communion over matters of sexuality and unity, and provides recommendations for ways forward in deepening and in some cases restoring Communion. A very significant recommendation, which the Primates whole-heartedly affirmed, is to examine the Instruments of Communion, their respective roles and the manner in which they relate to one another.
The moratoria on the selection of Bishops in same-gender unions, rites of blessings for same-sex unions and cross-border interventions were much discussed. The Primate's letter acknowledges that deep differences over these matters are held with great conviction. There was a continuing call for gracious restraint on all three fronts.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
This week, at their meeting in Alexandria, the primates have been debating the Covenant, a new document that is at the heart of the solution and sets out a Bible-based orthodoxy that the provinces will be invited to sign up to. Some provinces may well refuse to do so. These include Canada, where one diocese, New Westminster, has already authorised same-sex blessings, and another, Toronto, is expected to follow suit within a year.
The Episcopal Church of the US might also have difficulty giving full support to a document that does not do full justice to the ministry of clerics such as Bishop Robinson, now an establishment figure who is friendly with President Obama — he prayed the invocation at the start of the inauguration celebrations last month.
The result will be not schism but a two-tier communion, with all provinces in communion with the “mother church” in England and its primate, Dr Rowan Williams, primus inter pares or first among equals, but some having a lesser status and not being in full communion with each other.
At the same time the new “church” formed by conservative evangelicals in the US, led by the deposed Bishop of Pittsburgh, Bob Duncan, which is seeking recognition as a new province, is likely to be granted some extra-provincial status allowing the thousands of Anglicans it represents to remain within the Communion. This would lead to two parallel Anglican provinces operating in the US, one free to pursue its mission of inclusivity including the consecration of bishops of different sexualities, the other mandated to preach its own gospel of what it believes to be “orthodoxy”.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Covenant Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Common Cause Partnership --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
The Chicago Consultation issued this statement from its co-convener, Ruth Meyers, in response to the communiqué of the Anglican primates on the final day of their meeting in Egypt:
“Christ calls us to practice both compassion and justice. We reject the false choice suggested by the Primates communiqué that God asks Episcopalians to deny either faithful mission with the worldwide Anglican Communion or full inclusion of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered sisters and brothers,” said Meyers, who is professor of liturgics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
“We look toward General Convention 2009, where we will work with a broad coalition of allies to achieve full inclusion of all the baptized in The Episcopal Church and to be a voice of witness with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people across the Anglican Communion,” continued Meyers.
“The Chicago Consultation believes that the Anglican Communion is, at its best, a manifestation of the body of Christ in which the Holy Spirit blesses members from different cultures and contexts with various gifts. As Christians, we are called to live in communion with one another, but also to embrace all of the Spirit’s gifts—graciously and fearlessly.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
i have been getting a bunch of emails from people who haven't seen this or who can't find it. Please take the time to read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Common Cause Partnership --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
In a telephone interview at the end of the primates’ meeting, held Feb. 1 to 5 in Alexandria, Egypt, Archbishop Hiltz also said that it appeared relationships among church leaders, which had been ruptured because of bitter divisions over the issue, were being repaired. “I think we’re on the way toward healing within the communion,” he said, describing the mood at the meeting as “generous and gracious.” The past two meetings in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, had been chilly and emotionally-charged, with some primates either boycotting the eucharist or refusing to take holy communion with their fellow church leaders as a symbol of the Anglican Communion’s “brokenness.”
Archbishop Hiltz said that although he was disappointed that there had not been a “focused conversation” among primates involved in cross-border interventions right at the meeting, he was nonetheless “encouraged” that the primates chose to adopt a recommendation made by the Windsor Continuation Group for a mediated dialogue.
Read it all.
As the 2009 meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion concludes in Egypt today, we can be assured that the world's Anglican leaders have resumed what they're best at after last year's blood-letting. And what Anglican bishops are really good at in conference is being quite, well, boring.
Read it all.
Here's the panicky statement by the Anglican Primates: "We commit ourselves to support these processes [ie, professional mediation] and to participate as appropriate. We earnestly desire reconciliation with these dear sisters and brothers [nice PC touch] for whom we understand membership of the Anglican Communion is profoundly important. We recognise that these processes cannot be rushed, but neither should they be postponed."
Is this the first example in history of a Church calling in professional mediators? I rather think it might be. And who will they be? I should be careful what I say, given what a hash the Vatican has just made of mediating with the SSPX, but that dispute is on a very small scale compared to this hydra-headed schism. The Primates say this one "cannot be rushed". Well, you can bet it won't be, once the professionals are involved. Someone is going to make a lot of money out of this "mediation".
Read it all.
The rift in the Anglican Communion over same-sex marriage blessings and gay clergy is being sent to mediation.
"It's out of a commitment to reconciliation that this whole process is emerging," Anglican Church of Canada Primate Fred Hiltz told the Star in a phone interview from Cairo.
Hiltz was among Anglican leaders from around the world meeting in Egypt this week, where a proposal by conservative Anglicans in Canada and the U.S. to set up an orthodox church operating parallel to the more liberal churches of the two countries was discussed.
"There was really no consensus among the primates over that matter," said Hiltz, who opposes establishing a parallel church.
Read it all.
There is honesty in the written Communiqué concerning “our damaged and fractured relationships,” and recognition that the fabric has been torn. There is yearning for “accountability,” even “robust accountability.” Those of us in the Common Cause Partnership who live face to face with the stark realities of unjust depositions, lawsuits, and forced evictions from church buildings and homes are acutely aware of the need for resolution. We are committed to help the process however we can. We are aware, however, that the innovations, punitive lawsuits, and abuses of the Episcopal Church continue to take a toll. They proceed unrepentant and undeterred. We of the Common Cause Partnership and the emerging Anglican Church in North America will do our part for the good of the Anglican family we value so much.
The vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America – indeed in all the world – is undiminished among those who bear the vision. The coming together of the Common Cause Partnership into the Anglican Church in North America will proceed. Our commitment to our missionary partners all around the world will continue. Already larger than twelve Provinces of the Anglican Communion, we will work together in koinonia with all who are willing to work with us....
Read it all.
The Primates’ Communiqué offers a compelling diagnosis of the divisions within the Anglican Communion, without any promise of meaningful Communion structures to address those divisions.
Now is the time for faithful Anglicans in North America, both within TEC and within ACNA, to follow the encouragement from Hebrews 12:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV)
We are all sinners, and we are all in need of a season of repentance, humility, and restoration. May we all fix our eyes on Jesus, and follow him on the course he has marked out before us, renewing our commitment to evangelism, discipleship and mission—and building a united, Biblical missionary Anglicanism in North America and world-wide that will give glory to God by reaching multitudes who do not yet know Jesus Christ.
Read it all.
The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is deeply grateful for the work of the Anglican Communion Primates (leaders of Anglican Churches worldwide) who met this week in Alexandria, Egypt, to discuss issues of justice, righteousness and the current brokenness in the Anglican Communion.
The Primates addressed pressing humanitarian and political issues and published statements regarding the crises in Zimbabwe, the Sudan and Gaza. We pray that their thoughtful discussions and subsequent statements addressing these pressing matters will bear good fruit. We call upon ANiC parishes and members, and all Christians worldwide, to join with the Primates in praying for peace and order in the war-torn regions of our world.
We are grateful that these leaders also addressed the “continuing deep differences” in the Communion, acknowledging the “depth of conscientious conviction involved” and that “the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1:10 in its entirety remains” the undisputed position of the Anglican Communion on sexuality.
We appreciate the Primates’ recognition that members of the Common Cause Partnership and the Anglican Church in North America are fully Anglican and their unanimous support for the Windsor Continuation Group’s recommendation that the Archbishop of Canterbury initiate professional mediation to address the difficult issues in North America. The call for “gracious restraint” clearly shows their desire to preserve faithful Anglican parishes and protect clergy while the Communion continues to wrestle with the profound theological divide. We pray that “gracious restraint” will be exercised by the Anglican Church of Canada and that no further faithful Anglicans will be forced to leave their churches until the crisis is resolved.
ANiC members, together with ACNA and all our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion, will continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to minister locally, nationally and internationally through our active and vibrant congregations.
A report backed by the heads of all the Anglican provinces around the world has put forward the innovative proposal as a way to settle the dispute between conservatives, who oppose the ordination of homosexual clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, and liberals.
The external mediators will try to reconcile differences between the Common Cause Partnership, a group of orthodox Anglicans in America and Canada who want to set up a new province, and the national churches from which they have split.
At the end of a week-long gathering of the leaders of the 38 Anglican provinces in Alexandria, Egypt, known as the Primates Meeting, they said in a joint communique: "We request the Archbishop of Canterbury to initiate a professionally mediated conversation which engages all parties at the earliest opportunity. We commit ourselves to support these processes and to participate as appropriate."
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In its report to the primates, the Windsor Continuation Group said the mediated conversation aims "to find a provisional holding arrangement which will enable dialogue to take place and which will be revisited on the conclusion of the Covenant Process, or the achievement of the long term reconciliation in the commission." They said such conversation must be on a basis of some principles: "There must be an ordered approach to the new proposal within, or part of a natural development of, current rules. It is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the Communion..."
The primates' communiqué, titled Gracious Restraint, addressed global concerns such as the search for peace and stability in Gaza, Zimbabwe and the Sudan, the deepening financial crisis and global warming.
But the primates acknowledged that one of the "chief matters" that continued to preoccupy them was the "continuing deep differences and disrupted relationships in the Anglican Communion" over the issues of the election of bishops in same-gender unions, the rites of blessing for same-sex unions and on cross-border interventions.
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Liberal and conservative clergy have been brought to the brink of schism over the ordination in 2003 of Robinson in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the church's 450-year history.
The statement urged the 80 million-member global church to "directly study the scriptures and explore the subject of human sexuality together in order to help us find a common understanding."
The final statement was written in response to a report prepared for the head of the Anglican church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and released by him for discussion at the conference, held in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria this week.
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Leaders of the Anglican Communion said Thursday (Feb. 5) that they, not dissident conservatives, will decide what role a newly formed traditionalist North American church will have in their worldwide fellowship.
Concluding their weeklong meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, the Anglican leaders also said a new North American church should not "seek to recruit or expand their membership" by attempting to convert others.
Conservatives angered by the liberal drift of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the Anglican Church of Canada set up a rival church in December. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), led by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, aims to be recognized as the official Anglican franchise in North America.
But the 30-odd Anglican primates, or archbishops, meeting this week (Feb. 1-5) essentially put a damper on those plans. While acknowledging that "there is no consensus among us how this new (church) is to be regarded," the primates unanimously agreed that "it is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the communion."
This latter point is of course correct, but that is exactly what the Episcopal Church's leadership has been doing to the communion for the past many years without consequence. Read it all--KSH.
The Primates have laid down the terms under which the parallel jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is to be considered by the Anglican Communion. It will be discussed as a matter of urgency in a “professionally mediated conversation” initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, they say in a communiqué.
The communiqué was issued at the end of the Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria on Thursday. All the Primates were there bar the Moderators of the Churches of North and South India and Pakistan, and the Presiding Bishop of the Philippines. They shared, the communiqué states, “a strong desire to see our Christian World Communion flourish and remain united”, and experienced “a discernible mood of graciousness”.
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High marks have been awarded to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the 2009 primates’ meeting by conservative archbishops, who report that consensus was reached following four days of intense talks in Alexandria, Egypt.
“Archbishop Peter Akinola is pleased, I’m pleased, Henry [Orombi] is pleased” with the outcome of the meeting, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, told The Living Church.
“Something like the freshness of the Holy Spirit” descended upon the meeting, Bishop Venables explained. There was “something different here, something special,” he said. “Without a doubt there was a lot of anger and tension,” he added, but the “orthodox had a calmness and peace” that Bishop Venables attributed to divine intervention.
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Please disregard what the video says at the top, if you wait for it to load the two archbishops will appear--KSH.
Integrity USA is disappointed but not surprised that the communique issued by the primates of the Anglican Communion earlier today repeated the all-too-familiar call for moratoria on the election of bishops in same-gender unions, rites of blessing for same-sex unions, and cross-border interventions.
"There's an American superstition that 'bad things come in threes,'" said Integrity President Susan Russell speaking from the Episcopal Urban Caucus Annual Assembly in Mobile. "And accepting the lumping together of these three issues in one moratoria package would be a very bad thing for the Episcopal Church as a whole and its LGBT faithful in particular.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
“We applaud their consistent stand for biblical truth and the importance of reconciliation between all peoples and their Creator.
“We welcome the Primates’ unanimous reaffirmation of the entirety of Lambeth 1:10 as the Church’s teaching on human sexuality although we are disappointed that they were not unanimous in their call to repentance for those who continue to defy this teaching.
“We also welcome a period of gracious restraint as the Primates describe it but are distressed by the reality that The Episcopal Church continues to initiate punitive litigation on a massive scale. To date, there are at least 56 lawsuits initiated by The Episcopal Church, or its dioceses, against individual churches, clergy and vestries across the country.
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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told ENS that she is encouraged by the tone of the communiqué, but acknowledged that "the long-term impact of 'gracious restraint' is a matter for General Convention," the Episcopal Church's main legislative body that next meets in July in Anaheim, California.
"We are going to have to have honest conversations about who we are as a church and the value we place on our relationships and mission opportunities with other parts of the communion and how we can be faithful with many spheres of relationship at the same time," she said. "That is tension-producing and will be anxiety-producing for many, but we are a people that live in hope, not in instant solutions but in faithfulness to God."
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The ACNA’s “institutional relationship” was “unclear” at this point, he said. He added that he hoped further dialogue would address this issue. However, he declined to answer a question about his “personal thoughts on the defrocking” of Canadian theologian J.I. Packer and Pittsburgh Bishop and ACNA leader Robert Duncan.
Pressed on what he would do about infractions of past agreed statements, Archbishop Williams said his authority was limited by canon law to the Church of England. “It remains true” the Anglican Communion has no organ “for discipline,” and this could only be remedied by a “Communion executive” or a “common canon law.” Until such structural mechanisms were in place, Archbishop Williams said there was little he could do.
The primates’ communiqué reiterated the call for a moratorium on cross-border violations of provincial sovereignty, rites for the blessing of same-gender unions, and the consecration to the episcopate of non-celibate gay clergy, and reaffirmed the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 as the standard statement on human sexuality for the Anglican Communion.
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Leaders of the Anglican Communion are to employ professional mediators in an attempt to resolve their ongoing dispute over sexuality.
The announcement came at the close of a five-day meeting of senior bishops held in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said there was "deep division" among member churches.
But he added that "the willingness to find reconciliation has been very much in evidence".
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Anglican leaders urged their churches Thursday to maintain a 5-year-old moratorium on consecrating another openly gay bishop and developing prayers for same-sex unions, as they try to restore unity in their fractured fellowship.
An Anglican advisory panel also raised deep concerns about a North American province sought by theological conservatives to rival the Episcopal Church.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, will arrange professional mediation for all leaders involved in the North American conflict, leaders said.
"If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offense, misunderstanding or hostility cease," the Anglican leaders said Thursday.
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11. The Windsor Continuation Group Report asks whether the Anglican Communion suffers 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 move to communion with autonomy and accountability"; to develop the capacity to address divisive issues in a timely and effective way, and to learn "the responsibilities and obligations of interdependence". We affirm the recommendation of the Windsor Continuation Group that work will need to be done to develop the Instruments of Communion and the Anglican Covenant. With the Windsor Continuation Group, we encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Anglican Communion Office to proceed with this work. We affirm the decision to establish the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order. We recognise the need for the Primates' Meeting to be engaged at every stage with all these developments.
12. There are continuing deep differences especially over the issues of the election of bishops in same-gender unions, Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions, and on cross-border interventions. The moratoria, requested by the Windsor Report and reaffirmed by the majority of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, were much discussed. If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offence, misunderstanding or hostility cease. While we are aware of the depth of conscientious conviction involved, the position of the Communion defined by the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its entirety remains, and gracious restraint on all three fronts is urgently needed to open the way for transforming conversation.
13. This conversation will include continuing the Listening Process, and the "Bible in the Church" Project. It is urgent that we as primates, with the rest of the Communion, directly study the scriptures and explore the subject of human sexuality together in order to help us find a common understanding.
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The primates completed their third day of business in Alexandria, Egypt, Wednesday, with work beginning on their final communiqué. The meeting is scheduled to close Thursday with an afternoon press conference led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
So far, the primates have issued public statements on the crises in Zimbabwe and the Sudan and on global warming. Accounts of the closed-door proceedings differ, with some primates reporting a positive environment, while others have spoken of difficulties.
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It is a little over 18 minutes.
Human sexuality was the first order of business at the 2009 Primates’ Meeting at the Helnan Palestine Hotel in Alexandria, Egypt. The primates devoted their first business session to discussions over the effects the disputes over sexual ethics had had on the life and mission of the church.
Following prayers and Bible study, the Primates began work at 11:00 with five presentations from the Primates of Canada, the United States, Uganda, South Africa and Burma. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had asked each to address the question “What impact has the current situation had on your Province’s mission priorities?”
This had elicited a “very interesting discussion” the primates’ spokesman Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Australia told reporters, noting there had been a “huge diversity” of responses. However, primates questioned by ReligiousIntelligence.com reported that there appeared to be little shifting of views as the discussions were predominantly restatements of opinion, rather than a conversation. While there had been “much talk” there seemed to have been “little listening,” one primate observed.
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A presentation by the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) to the primates’ meeting was scheduled for two hours on Tuesday morning, but spilled over into the afternoon.
In December, the WCG met at the Diocese of West Texas’s conference center and prepared a final draft of its report to the primates. The report was given to the primates Tuesday, but placed under a media embargo until the close of the conference. The news blackout extended to the day’s press conference, where the primates’ spokesman, the Most Rev. Philip Aspinall of Australia, would say only that the archbishops discussed the report over two sessions.
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This is from the comments below but I am highlighting it in case others missed it:
I remain at a loss as to why this is being proposed NOW, and being made public NOW, just as the Primates meet. I am grateful for the openness and desire for discussion around the concrete proposals (unlike some dioceses with which I am familiar). And in the spirit of such discussion, I included the following in a letter I sent yesterday to two of the Toronto bishops.
It is hard to escape the fact that the process you have now set in motion -- one that involves public proposals, discussions, synodical actions, and all dealing with a way of ordering a particular “pastoral response” that involves episcopal oversight and particular permissions, following directives that involve the nature of prayers – cannot avoid being seen as one of ecclesial “authorization” of liturgical matters surrounding same-sex unions. The following words of the Archbishop of Canterbury were given at the end of the recent Lambeth Conference:
One of the problems around this is that people in different parts of the world clearly define 'public' and 'rites' and 'blessing' in rather different ways. I'd refer I think to what I said in the address this afternoon. As soon as there is a liturgical form it gives the impression: this has the Church's stamp on it. As soon as that happens I think you've moved to another level of apparent commitment, and that I think is nowhere near where the Anglican Communion generally is. In the meeting of Primates at Gramado in Brazil some years ago, the phrase 'A variety of pastoral response' was used as an attempt to recognise that there were places where private prayers were said and, although there's a lot of unease about that, there wasn't quite the same strength of feeling about that as about public liturgies. But again 'pastoral response' has been interpreted very differently and there are those in the USA who would say: 'Well, pastoral response means rites of blessing', and I'm not very happy about that. (Final Press Conference, August 3, 2008)
I would underline two things in this response by Archbishop Williams. First, the key character of putting the “Church’s stamp” on same-sex unions somehow, simply by there being a publically permitted or authorized form of prayer (“liturgical form” – which is a deliberately vague phrase), is crucial. Second, the fact that “pastoral response” was always understood among the Primates at least – and even here with a great deal of trepidation – as involving no more than “private prayers”. Although you and your colleagues may feel that you are proposing something that would fall within this realm of only informal acknowledgments of private prayer, the very process you are following will make this very difficult to sustain in the judgments of many others around the Communion. The fact is that, among other things, your proposal includes the following:
• Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.
• Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized.
• Episcopal permission for blessings will be required.
• Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year.
• No parish or clergy will be required to participate.
• A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review.
All of this represents formal, episcopal, diocesan, public, liturgical prayers of blessing. And while it is true that the Archbishop’s remarks above do not carry any kind of formal authority in determining how the Church of Canada and her bishops will define “pastoral response”, I think it fair to say that his rather moderate definitions will be shared by, and even defined more strictly by, many others among our Communion partners. I believe, in short, that it will be very difficult indeed to make the case and persuade others of the fact that the Diocese of Toronto is not moving forward with a contravention of the informal moratorium articulated at Lambeth (and before), not to mention moving in a way that simply does not defer to the general concerns of many Anglicans around the world.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
It lasts a little over 25 minutes for those who wish to watch it.
The Primates of the Anglican Communion, meeting in Alexandria, Egypt on 3rd February, 2009, heard first hand reports of the situation in Zimbabwe, and note with horror the appalling difficulties of the people of this nation under the current regime.
We give thanks to God for the faithful witness of the Christians of Zimbabwe during this time of pain and suffering, especially those who are being denied access to their churches. We wish to assure them of our love, support and prayers as they face gross violation of human rights, hunger and loss of life as well as the scourge of a cholera epidemic, all due directly to the deteriorating socio-political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.
It is a matter of grave concern that there is an apparent breakdown of the rule of law within the country, and that the democratic process is being undermined, as shown in the flagrant disregard of the outcome of the democratic elections of March 31st 2008, so that Mr Robert Mugabe illegitimately holds on to power. Even the recent political situation of power sharing, brokered by SADC, may not be long lasting and simply further entrench Mr Mugabe’s regime. There appears to be a total disregard for life, consistently demonstrated by Mr Mugabe through systematic kidnap, torture and the killing of Zimbabwean people. The economy of Zimbabwe has collapsed, as evidenced by the use of foreign currencies in an independent state.
We therefore call upon President Robert Mugabe to respect the outcome of the elections of 2008 and to step down. We call for the implementation of the rule of law and the restoration of democratic processes.
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The first full day of business at the Primates meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, has been held in a relaxed atmosphere with primates generally positive about the days ahead.
The media spokesman for the primates meeting, Australia’s Primate, Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall, said day two of the meeting included a presentation by five Primates about the impact of the current situation on province mission priorities.
Archbishops Fred Hiltz from Canada, Thabo Makgoba from Southern Africa, Henry Orombi from Uganda, Stephen Oo from Myanmar and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from the United States made presentations.
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There has been a “pulling back from the language of sanctions and teeth” in the crafting of the Anglican Covenant, the Primate of Australia told reporters at the Primates' Meeting in Alexandria on Feb 2.
The Most Rev. Philip Aspinall said that whereas earlier drafts of the covenant envisioned sanctions for violations, disciplinary mechanisms were not likely to make it into the final draft.
“Hitting people over the head with sticks” was not what the Anglican Communion wanted to do to provinces that violated the Covenant, Archbishop Aspinall said. Instead, the covenant—designed to set the parameters of Anglican life and worship—is evolving into a document about “koinonia…fellowship…of communion” between churches, and would not be a sanctions-based legal code, he explained.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised churches that have too many events on their noticeboards.
Churches should concentrate less on activities and more on "praying" he said at a service in Egypt, where is chairing the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion.
Dr Rowan Williams, preaching at the dedication of the new St Mark's pro-cathedral in Alexandria, also criticised people who back-stab and undermine each other, interpreted as a reference to the internecine Anglican wars which seem to be drawing to a surprisingly peaceful close in this heartland of the Christian Creed.
Dr Williams told more than 30 Primates of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion who are in Alexandria in an attempt to heal the rift over homosexuality that all churches needed to make more room for prayer and place less emphasis on being so "busy".
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Speaking without a script, Archbishop Williams described the city’s history in the life of the church, and touched upon some of the theological controversies of the past, alluding to the relevance of the Arian controversy in the present day. Christians should pursue stillness, quietness and diversity, he said, and not be quick to condemn those who hold opposing theological views. He urged the primates, and the congregation, to extend Christian charity to those with whom they disagree.
A question that has yet to be answered to the satisfaction of all the primates is what they hope to achieve in Alexandria. The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), said the primates have come at the invitation of Archbishop Williams to “review the work of the Lambeth Conference…explore issues of common interest, [and] prepare for the gathering of the ACC” in Jamaica in May.
The contrast in visions between an activist primates’ meeting as envisioned by the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences and supported by a majority of primates, and an indaba-oriented meeting of discussion, where all points of view hold equal weight and no decisions are taken, may make Alexandria the last united primates’ meeting. None of the primates have threatened to boycott future gatherings, but archbishops on both theological sides share similar frustration with the current environment because “no one is listening anymore,” one primate said.
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[Rowan] Williams said it is important to remember that "the person praying next to me is a person in whom Jesus is praying" and to try to see "the force of energy of Jesus' life in them. When I diminish them, I am in danger of destroying Jesus' voice in them."
The Most Rev. John Chew, primate of Southeast Asia, spoke during the service about the importance of the companion relationship between the dioceses of Singapore and Egypt. "When great civilizations come together a lot can happen," he said, "especially when Christ is active in all this."
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, under the leadership of President Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, is hosting the primates for their five-day meeting. The province includes four dioceses throughout Jerusalem, Iran, Egypt, Cyprus and the Gulf.
Alexandria, known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, was founded around 334BC by Alexander the Great. Today, the city is the second largest in Egypt and serves as the country's main shipping port.
Before the dedication service, the primates heard about the mission of the Alexandria School of Theology from its principal, the Rev. Emad Azmi Mikhail, who said that the institution's primary goals were to facilitate the development of local full-time teachers and to reach a wide audience throughout the Arab-speaking world. Formed in 2005, the institution grew out of Anis' vision to broaden theological education throughout Egypt.
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The 1998 Lambeth Conference further enhanced the role of the Primates’ Meeting asking that it intervene “in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving of guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies.”
A return now to the “talking-shop” model of the early 1980s would not work, one African archbishop told ReligiousIntelligence.com, while Archbishop Peter Akinola told his some of his colleagues on Feb 1 that the primates must be consistent in their actions and not walk away from the undertakings made at the last three meetings.
As the primates began to arrive at the Helnan Palestine Hotel on Alexandria ’s corniche, splinter groups on the left and right met to prepare strategies for the meeting. The larger conservative faction met on the afternoon of Jan 31. “Long distances” and “poor communications” in the developing world necessitated the pre-conference meeting, Presiding Bishop Maurice Sinclair, retired primate of the Southern Cone told us.
Bishop Sinclair, who after retirement served a term as Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Cairo and as visiting lecturer at the Alexandria School of Theology, stated he had not been part of the strategy group for the Global South primates, but had been invited by the Bishop of Egypt, the Rt Rev Mouneer Anis to greet the primates on his behalf.
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Charlie Masters, general secretary of Duncan's new church and its spokesperson in Canada, says the intention of setting up the Anglican Church in North America was to offer an alternative entity operating parallel to the established churches of Canada and the United States.
Breaking away was the first step. Being recognized as a province in the communion is the next. "We have organized ourselves as an Anglican province and are operating as a province," says the soft-spoken Masters, who is also executive archdeacon of the Anglican Network in Canada.
The primates attending this week's five-day meeting will be told about the constitution and canons of the new church in hopes they will support it being made the communion's 39th province, with Duncan as primate. (Duncan could not be reached for comment.)
Masters believes the new church can bring unity to the communion. By providing a theological alternative to the liberal Canadian and American churches, he says, conservative Anglicans will no longer feel the need to break away.
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The staff of the Anglican Communion Office here quite outnumbers the accredited press and the lobby groups from both the right and left are nowhere to be seen. Have we reached a point in the life of the Communion where weariness and frustration over sexuality issues has run its course? Have people simply stopped coming because they know that nothing will change and that opinions are locked in no matter or how many more studies are mandated?
The primates' four-day agenda has a few critical issues before it including discussions on Zimbabwe, global warming and a Christian response to the current crisis in the world economy. Other issues such as Gaza and other wars, violence, HIV/AIDS, human rights violations in many of the Communion's provinces -- one Primate was denied a visa to travel here -- have not made it to the agenda.
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(ACNS) Following a private meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic Pope, received the Primates of the Anglican Communion at the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria on Saturday evening, 31 January. The Primates are meeting in Alexandria in the latest of their series of regular meetings.
In thanking Pope Shenouda for his warm welcome and hospitality the Archbishop of Canterbury drew attention to the significance of meeting together in the city where many of the universal doctrines of the Christian faith were formed and where the seeds of the Christian monastic movement had been sown in the fourth century.
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Archbishops of the Anglican Communion worldwide will tomorrow discuss a proposal that will allow the church to remain united as one body in spite of schismatic differences over the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of gay marriages.
Archbishops of the 38 provinces worldwide are beginning a week-long meeting in Alexandria, Egypt where they will discuss a proposal to allow Anglican churches to remain "in communion" with other provinces that refuse to sign up to a new "covenant" or unity document.
Discussions to draft the new covenant, which sets out sanctions for provinces that breach accepted Anglican norms on issues such as gay consecrations, are expected to be complete by the summer with the covenant signed up to by provinces and ready for implementation within five years.
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