Updated again Tuesday morning
This week’s Church Times reports that There could be sandwiches to spare in Dublin.
At the end of last year, it was announced that ten Primates from the Global South intended to boycott the meeting, in protest at the inclusion of the US Primate after rows over gay bishops and same-sex blessings (News, 26 November).
The Church Times understands that this number might have risen to 14 out of the possible 37 Primates eligible to attend. (There is one vacancy.) The general secretary of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), Canon Kenneth Kearon, believes, however, that those who stay away, “in protest after developments in the Episcopal Church” in the United States, will number “less than ten”. There might be other absentees because of health or visa issues, he said.
He admitted, however, that numbers would be unknown until the meeting began on Tuesday. “Given that most Primates make their own travel arrangements, and that plans can change at the last minute, it is impossible for anyone to say for certain how many Primates will travel to Dublin for the meeting.”
The ten Primates in the original boycott are understood to be those of Jerusalem & the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, South-East Asia, the Southern Cone, Rwanda, West Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya. A Global South spokesman suggested that another four were likely to stay away. One of these, the Primate of Sudan, has other matters demanding his attention in the wake of his country’s referendum…
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that Primates not attending Dublin meeting “have reiterated their commitment to the Communion”.
…The Primates who have turned down the invitation to this week’s Primates’ Meeting because of developments in The Episcopal Church are still committed to the Anglican Communion.
In an interview today with BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme, Anglican Communion Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon told presenter William Crawley that at Communion meetings there are always a number of participants who cannot come for a variety of reasons including health or diary commitments.
Canon Kearon gave as an example of those who would likely leave their decision to attend until the last minute the Primates of Sudan and Australia whose countries are dealing with major issues including a referendum and flooding respectively.
He added that on this occasion some Primates had written to say they would not be attending the Dublin meeting because of the presence of the Primate of The Episcopal Church and recent developments in The Episcopal Church.
“About seven or possibly eight have written to me directly to say that’s the reason why they cannot come,” he said. “About two can’t come because of health reasons and there are a few we are not yet sure whether they are coming or not.
“Those Primates who said they’re not coming as part of an objection to the Episcopal Church and other developments have reiterated their commitment to the Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury in their writing to me…”
There was a Mere Anglicanism conference this weekend in South Carolina, at which the Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East has been speaking. He made some comments about the forthcoming meeting reported as follows:
…With the regard of the upcoming Primate’s meeting, (Dublin, Ireland Jan 25-30, 2011) we are not boycotting. Many have said that we are boycotting this meeting. We however are not attending.
Why? Because we did ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to follow up on the recommendations of the previous meeting (Dar es Salaam, 2006; no meeting was held in 2008 because of the Lambeth Conference). At that meeting we discussed, decided and recommended actions. This was never done. It is time for decisions after comprehensive discussion.
For this meeting, we received an invitation to sit in 2 separate rooms: the revisionists in one and the Global South in another. This is a joke. We were not given a chance to affect the process and have some ownership of the meeting. When we are given that opportunity, we will attend.
Update there is a full transcript of these remarks now available here.
The text of the article in Evangelicals Now by Chris Sugden is now available over here.
…The clear implication of Bishop Fearon’s case ( which is also Archbishop Rowan Williams’ case) is that even though Anglicans have been persecuted and driven from their homes, buildings and jobs in the USA and Canada, other Anglican leaders should meet yet again with those responsible for these outrages and thus legitimate the presence of those who completely contradict the teaching and practice of the Christian churches. Once decisions were made at the Early Church Councils Bishop Fearon has referred to, Arius and others were declared to be and treated as heretics. Similar clear decisions taken by the succession of meetings since 1998 have not been followed through…