21 August 2014
Announcement regarding the Diocese of South Carolina
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Global South of the Anglican Communion welcomes the unanimous request of The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, XIV Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina to “accept the offer of the newly created Global South Primatial Oversight Council for pastoral oversight of our ministry as a diocese during the temporary period of our discernment of our final provincial affiliation.”
The decision of the Diocese of South Carolina was made in response to the meeting of the Global South Primates Steering Committee in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014.1 A recommendation from that
meeting stated that, “we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at 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.” Recognizing the faithfulness of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina, and in appreciation for their contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, the Global South welcomes them as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found.
Yours in Christ,
+ Mouneer Egypt + Ian Mauritius
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
The Most Revd Ian Ernest Primate of the Indian Ocean, Bishop of Mauritius
Hon. General Secretary, Global South Primates Steering Committee
The full statement of the Global South Primates Steering Committee held in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014 may be found on the Global South Anglican website
This Statement issued by the ‘Global South Anglican Primates Council’ – not officially affiliated with the official ACC Primates Council – gives a distinctive regional welcome to the schismatic bishop and diocese of South Carolina (formerly bishop and diocese of South Carolina in TEC) to join its regional ‘G.S.A.’ Church.
The complication arising from such an event, is that Bishop Mark Lawrence and his secessionist Diocese of South Carolina – an entity out of communion with its parent church: The Episcopal Church in the United States of America – have become an associate part of a recently-formed Anglican entity calling itself the ‘Global South Anglican Primates’, which exists only in a selected part of the territorial area of the Southern Hemisphere.
This will provide a testing of relationships between the Anglican Consultative Council, which includes Western Provinces of the Communion that are not part of G.S.A.P.C. and the fore-mentioned ‘Global South Anglican Primates Council’
Although there has been no official severance of the GSAPC from the ACC; the inclusion of a ‘rogue’ diocese into GSAP’s jurisdiction – now ‘de facto’, by this proclamation – without the common consent of the ACC Primates, will obviously present embarrassment at any future meetings of the Lambeth Bishops from all parts of the Communion.
However, it has already been suggested that there might not be another Lambeth Conference, and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself has suggested that it might not happen in 2018 (the normal, projected, date) – so, one wonders, is this the ‘thin end of a wedge’ that spells the division of the world-wide Anglican Communion into two separate entities. This could possibly be compared with the co-existence of the Roman Catholic Church and its Uniate Churches of the East that manage to live together in ecclesial fellowship.
The more militant group in the Global South Anglican Provinces, The GAFCON, which have already declared their own doctrinal structure in their ‘Jerusalem Statement’ of Faith, chose not to attend the last Lambeth and ACC Meetings – in protest against what they have determined is the heterodox praxis of certain Western Provinces of the Communion, in ordaining clergy and bishops in Same-Sex relationships – and have now, seemingly, by this latest action, received the imprimatur of the GSAPC to follow a process of disengagement from those Provinces they see as not signing up to the ‘Jerusalem Statement’.
We now wait upon the action of the Anglican Consultative Council, in response to this latest development of the GSAPC.
If the Anglican Communion is to remain a fellowship of Anglican Churches in every part of the world, there will need to be some sort of revision of its structure – perhaps based upon regional and cultural affiliations, which may not be a bad thing..
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch