Week Ending 01/18/16
Anglican Primates Draft Communique and Statements
The conclusion of the recent meeting of Anglican Primates fully pleased no one, and has led to numerous responses and commentaries on two of the documents drafted by those at the meeting. The third, a statement on evangelism, has been lost in the focus on the statement aimed at the Episcopal Church (which also sends a message to other provinces of the communion who might be thinking of allowing same sex marriage or blessings of unions) and the final "Communique" which appeared the day after the statement on the TEC was leaked. Justin Welby opened the meeting with a message that tried to make room for disagreement with the Anglican Communion while stressing the importance of remaining in that communion. After the meeting Welby tried to draw a distinction between "sanctions" which he said were beyond the power of the primates and "consequences." Despite much talk about a walkout by primates from the "Global South," only one, the Archbishop of Uganda, left. He did so when a vote requesting the primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada "voluntarily" to withdraw from the meeting until their churches repented of their positions on GLBTQ inclusion failed decisively. (The Ugandan version of this event is here and other news stories on his departure are here and here.) Although the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America participated in the meeting as a guest, ACNA was not admitted to the Anglican Communion. The primates have referred that decision to the Anglican Communion Council.
The ACNA archbishop, Foley Beach, was disappointed in the final statement of this meeting as well as by the lack of action on his denomination's request for membership, but he characterized the outcome as a "step forward." TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a statement reiterating the church's inclusive nature and focusing TEC on moving forward. A number of diocesan bishops have also made statements on this meeting including the Bishops of Pittsburgh, New York, and Washington. Support for TEC has also come from bishops in other parts of the Anglican Communion, including Westminster, Canada. Other Anglican primates have issued statements showing a range of reactions. Those include New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, and Rwanda. For thoughtful commentary, consider Mark Harris (and his previous post) and Lionel Deimel.