Primates Call for New Meeting
- Thursday, February 20, 2014
Statement from the Global South Primates Steering Committee
February 14-15, 2014
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.(Eph. 4:3).
1. The Global South Primates Steering Committee met at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014. We were delighted to have the Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, as guests joining this important meeting in which we discussed the way ahead for the Anglican Communion and other matters. The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and the Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, the Primate of Congo, apologized for not being able to attend.
2. We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”
4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:
a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.
b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.
c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and reshaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.
5. We appreciate the costly decision of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, as well as the pastoral letter and pastoral guidance of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, in regard to the decision of the Westminster Parliament for same-gender marriage. The faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.
6. We stand in solidarity with the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul and the people of South Sudan and Sudan, calling for the cessation of fighting, an end to violence, and for a process for peace and reconciliation. We call upon the international community to give every help and support to those displaced as a result of fighting. We commit ourselves to pray for the people of Sudan.
7. We were encouraged to learn about the new constitution of Egypt and how the interim government is achieving the roadmap that was decided by its people on the 3 July 2013. We support the people of Egypt in their efforts to combat violence and terrorism.
8. We decided to activate the Task Forces established at the 4th Encounter of the Global South, which are: Economic Empowerment (coordinated by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala), Theological Resourcing (coordinated by Archbishop Bolly Lapok), Emerging Servant Leaders (coordinated by Archbishop Ian Ernest), and Interfaith Relations (coordinated by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh).
9. We decided to hold the 5th Encounter of the Global South in 2015 and also organize a seminar for Global South leaders on “How Africa shaped Anglicanism.”
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis
Bishop of Egypt and Chairman of Global South
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest
Primate of the Indian Ocean and General Secretary of Global South
The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo
Primate of Myanmar
The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala
Primate of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi
Primate of Burundi and the Chairman of CAPA
The Rt. Rev. John Chew
representing the Primate of South East Asia
The Rt. Rev. Francis Loyo
representing the Primate of All Sudan
The Most Rev. Nkechi Nwosu
Representing the Primate of All Nigeria
Notably missing from this meeting of Primates of the ‘Global South’ Provinces of the Anglican Communion was the Rt.Revd. Archbishop Eliud Wabakula, of the Province of Kenya, who also happens to be Chair of the conservative enclave known as GAFCON, which has promoted its own special idea of Anglican’ Orthodoxy’, under the provenance of what has been called ‘The Jerusalem Statement’ – a doctrinal summary of the aims and objectives of this new alignment within the world-wide Anglican Communion.
GAFCON does not consist of every Province of the Global South enclave, but its Primates are generally inclined to criticise the efforts of Provinces within the Communion who have initiated programmes of acceptance of the presence, and in some places the ministry, of Gay and Lesbian persons within their churches’ structural life. The fact that the Global South entity consists of people in Provinces geographically situated in the Global South that do not necessarily agree with the conservative polity of the GAFCON Provinces, may explain why the Chair of GAFCON, ++ Wabakula, was not present at this meeting.
Perhaps the most interesting paragraph in thiu report is that left till last:
“9. We decided to hold the 5th Encounter of the Global South in 2015 and also organize a seminar for Global South leaders on “How Africa shaped Anglicanism.”
Noting the absence of any representation from the Province of South Africa at this meeting, it would seem that the seminar on ‘How Africa shaped Anglicanism’ might just be missing out on the regional importance of that Province of the Anglican Communion in the history of overturning the oppressive regime of Colonial Apartheid in that great continent. However, the Province of South Africa’s modern understanding of the need to free its people from the sins of homophobia and misogyny would seem to be in conflict with the culture and polity of its neighbour countries in the Global South.
How, or even whether, the Global South Primates will deal with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s appeal to them to remain in fellowship with Provinces of the Global North, whose polity on biblical hermeneutic, and on gender and sexuality questions, remains to be seen. A lot will depend on the deliberations made by the G.S. Leaders at their next meeting, at their ‘5th Encounter’ in 2015.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand