October 26, 2012 (Episcopal News Service)|
Dear Bishop Mark Lawrence,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Several of the Global South Primates met recently as we gathered in Singapore for the Installation of Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah as the new Bishop of Singapore.
We were saddened, but not surprised, by the news of your inhibition and possible deposition by the TEC. We all want to assure you and the Diocese of South Carolina of our continuing prayers and support. We thank God for your stand for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! We are proud that you are willing to suffer for the faith once delivered to the saints.
Please be assured that we are with you, and that our Lord is also proud of you and our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of South Carolina.
May the Lord bless you!
Yours in Christ,
+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Primate of Jerusalem & the Middle East Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee
+ Ian Mauritius
The Most Revd Ian Ernest
Primate of the Indian Ocean Bishop of Mauritius
Hon. General Secretary, Global South Primates Steering Committee
It should not be too surprising that these two Primates, part of the ‘Global South’ entity that has absented itself from some gatherings of the Lambeth Conference and Primates Meetings called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, should write in support of the Bishop of South Carolina in TEC, Mark Lawrence, whose oppositional tactics have led the P.B. & leadership of TEC to discipline him and his followers in the diocese – for ‘Abandonment of The Episcopal Church‘ in North America.
(Here is a link to the latest ‘Loyalists’ rebuttal of the article published by Bishop Mark Lawrence – in defence of his activities to distance his diocese from the episcopal Church) :
Both Anis and Ernest are part of the contingency in the Anglican Communion that has consistently refused to acknowledge TEC’s right to self-government – criticising TEC’s action in ordaining LGBT Clergy and advocating the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions – within its own provincial Church of the Communion. That The Episcopal Church has a perfect right to pursue its own mission in context seems to have been completely overlooked by the Global South sodality – of which these two signatory Primates are a part – seems to have been overlooked, in an attempt by the more combative Provinces of the Communion who are part of GAFCON to rule on the theology and praxis of the more liberal churches of the Communion.
Although the ‘Global South’ contingent may be less abrasive than the larger (mainly African) conservative GAFCON Provinces in the Anglican Communion, they are still involved in the process of undermining the provenance of TEC, and other Provinces of the communion that are keen to bring the Church into the modern world on issues of gender and sexuality.
It remains to be seen what further steps might be taken by the likes of the Global South and GAFCON groups to destabilise the world-wide family of the Anglican Communion – in their overt support for dissident church groups – like ACNA, AMiA, and individuals like Bishop Mark Lawrence and his supporters in the Diocese of South Carolina in the USA.
One does wonder, though, whether this latest spat on the revolutionary stage of conservative lobbying in North America will even be discussed at the New Zealand Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, whose membership has much more pressing business on its hands – as they wrestle with issues of world poverty, war and injustice, on a scale even wider than that of the injustices still to be addressed on gender and sexuality.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand