Anglican Communion Institute on the Primates Meeting—It’s Broken. Fix it!

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primates’ Meeting must be that place where the integrity of the Instrument is worked through. If one does not attend the Dublin gathering, it remains the case that the Primates as individual leaders and as a body must propose and resolve how they will gather and do their work. Physical attendance may not be necessary at the month’s end and it is not going to happen anyway. But it remains the case that the composition and good working of the Primates as a Meeting, as a council, must be addressed by the Primates. How will they do this?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican PrimatesEpiscopal Church (TEC)Instruments of Unity* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

7 Comments
Posted January 15, 2011 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Brian from T19 wrote:

No one doubts that the Archbishop of Canterbury has certain rights and responsibilities in respect of the Instrument called the Primates’ Meeting. What is disturbing is the apparent concession that his power is infinite. One need not attribute to him any nefarious actions at all to acknowledge that such a view of his role would be intolerable to the good working of the Primates as a Body.

In what way is his power infinite?  He invites.  He calls the meeting.  As long as the invitation is extended to all, where is the concern?

January 15, 9:52 pm | [comment link]
2. cseitz wrote:

All correct. Re-read the article.

January 16, 9:15 am | [comment link]
3. Brian from T19 wrote:

Once was enough, thanks.  If the ABC were not the convener, then the implication is that a majority or supermajority (however either would or could be defined) could call a meeting.  In addition, the characterization of the Primate’s Meeting as a council of the Church is historically inaccurate.  It would be more correct to view Lambeth this way.  And reasserters also remove themselves from that gathering.

Let’s look at a potential scenario under the majority/supermajority model.  The Primates decide to hold a Primates Meeting by a vote.  The vote is weighted by number of baptized members in the Province.  Primates representing a large majority of AC membership decide the time, location and requirements for attendance.  And now we have a GAFCON meeting.  The difference between the Canterbury-convened Primates Meeting and the reasserter-convened Primates Meeting is that the reasserter-convened Primates Meeting will wield infinite power and will exclude Primates, while the Canterbury-Convened Primates Meeting allows anyone to attend.

In addition, the “infinite” power of the ABC seems to exist in no other place than convening.  He has only one vote.  If the AC went to the GAFCON style Primates Meeting, many Primates would have no voice.

January 16, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
4. Todd Granger wrote:

In addition, the “infinite” power of the ABC seems to exist in no other place than convening.  He has only one vote.

And, Brian, he and his staff (or the staff of the Anglican Communion Office) set the agenda for the Meeting, and - witness the failure to implement the recommendations the came out of the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam - so far as can be told neither ++Cantuar nor the Anglican Communion Office has worked to implement the decisions or recommendations of the Primates’ Meetings (not even to the point of their being discussed or voted on by any other of the “Instruments of Unity” - and yes, the irony quotes are a recognition of reality, whether we like it or not).

Hence the perception of complete control.

January 16, 1:00 pm | [comment link]
5. Brian from T19 wrote:

I agree with you Todd (although the ABC and ACO have removed representatives from some committees).  However, it seems to me that the ACI is arguing against the ABC having any authority.  It looks like they are arguing for a majority rule (which they argue against inside the Episcopal Church).

January 16, 1:23 pm | [comment link]
6. cseitz wrote:

Nonsense. You are simply making things up. Read again. Try harder.

January 16, 1:48 pm | [comment link]
7. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

I’m just another peon, but I read:

1.  All primates should attend the meeting. 

2.  Tone down the rhetoric because the AB of C is not a “heretic”. 

I don’t believe him a heretic, but I do believe him colluding with an unBiblical agenda, even if only by passively sitting on his hands. 

Dr. Turner’s post on Covenant is telling and appalling(not his fault): 

“Father Clavier has written an extraordinarily fine comment on the upcoming meeting of the Primates.  Many have wondered about the wisdom of a boycott, myself included.  At first I argued that all ought to attend so as to confront the Primates of TEC and ACoC with the enormity of their defiance of what the Archbishop of Canterbury has termed “the established teaching of the Anglican Communion.”  I believed these Primates should be spoken to face to face about the refusal by their provinces of the requests of all four Instruments of Communion and reminded of what is implied by belonging to a communion of churches. One Primate from the global south with whom I shared these views responded that he considered them absurd.  The man who said this is a person for whom I have the greatest respect.  I was forced to reexamine my position.  Upon doing so, I came to the conclusion that the only circumstance that would warrant attendance by the Primates whose conscience has led them to believe they ought not to attend would be for the Archbishop of Canterbury to make clear in his invitation that the Primates were being gathered to confront and challenge those Primates whose churches had turned their backs on the moral authority of the mechanisms through which the Communion conducts much of its common life.This the Archbishop of Canterbury did not do. The form in which the invitation was issued suggests that the Primates and the other Instruments are neutral on the issues in question.  This is plainly not the case.  For this reason alone, the Primates ought to refuse, as many have, the invitation.

Father Clavier has added another reason—the cultural imperialism of TEC which simply mirrors that of the nation in which it ministers.  As father Clavier points out the Primates who will absent themselves are neither Pharisees nor fanatics.  They rightly fear that their culture, tradition and identity are threatened by a form a imperialism far more dangerous than that which made its way by force of arms. They are right also to be offended by comments that suggest they are backward and unenlightened.  They are right to have come to the conclusion that any conversation they have will be one in which they are on the defensive.  The form of the invitation they have received announces that, should they attend, they will have to defend themselves.  The invitation should have made it clear that it is TEC and ACoC that are called upon to give an account of themselves.  The invitation should have made it clear from whom an explanation is required. This it did not do.  Why should the global south not be wary?

Father Clavier’s remarks bring to light a primary cause of our distress and we are in his debt for having done so. We can only pray that our Primates are capable of the same degree of insight.

Philip Turner”

Bookworm:  “Should they attend, they will have to defend themselves”...really?  In what way?  Are they to outline WHY they believe in the traditional faith?  So they get to be on the defensive, rather than the innovators?  That does seem ridiculous…

And also, this: 

“The form of the invitation they have received announces that, should they attend, they will have to defend themselves.  The invitation should have made it clear that it is TEC and ACoC that are called upon to give an account of themselves.  The invitation should have made it clear from whom an explanation is required. This it did not do”.

Not to mention, was the invitation worded in such a way to suggest that all the other primates are “neutral” on these subjects?  Who worded it that way?  Is that true, or is that “let me word the invitations in such a way that the GS primates won’t even WANT to come”...an agenda-driven wording, or what?!!

I don’t like ANY of the above.  but, on the flipside, I can’t imagine, e.g., a meeting of US Navy admirals where a subgroup of admirals sends notice to the chair that they won’t be coming because “they don’t like the way some of the others think”.

By now it’s my understanding that the agenda was taken off the table and changed at Dromantine and Dar.  So, if the chair knows this will be the case in the future, he knows that, in order to avoid this scenario he will have to drag feet about calling another meeting; and once another meeting absolutely has to be called, he has to find another way to change the game, and thus the meeting. 

I wouldn’t play this game because it’s dirty and I don’t like it—and I know what Scripture says about sharing time or anything else with false teachers—BUT I’d probably show up to represent my province, “defend myself” if needed and loudly tell the “chair” exactly what I think of his behaviors—and then, I’d recommend him a strong dose of Al-Anon.

January 16, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): South Sudan’s independence vote ends

Previous entry (below): Court holds Summary Judgment hearing in original case against Diocese in Fort Worth

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)