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A Statement on Archbishop Beach’s Participation at Primates 2016

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) released this statement today: A Statement on Archbishop Beach’s Participation at Primates 2016. Here it is, with my emphasis added in paragraph 4.

The Anglican Church in North America has received numerous questions regarding whether or not Archbishop Beach was “a full voting member of the Primates Meeting.” Archbishop Beach did not consider himself a full voting member of the Primates Meeting, but with the exception of voting on the consequences for the Episcopal Church, Archbishop Beach participated fully in those parts of the meeting that he chose to attend.

Prior to Primates 2016 he was informed that there may be certain times when the Primates would move into a formal meeting, and, as the Anglican Church in North America is not an official member of the Communion’s instruments, he would be asked to step out of the room. However, he was never asked to leave the meeting.

While at the meeting, he addressed the gathering and participated in various balloting measures that set the agenda, ordered the agenda, and sought to discern the way those in the room wanted to proceed. He did not vote on the consequences for The Episcopal Church.

Some have asked whether Archbishop Beach voted to approve the final Communique or the new members of the Standing Committee. Neither he nor a majority of the GAFCON Primates were​ present for these discussions on Friday. Although early in the week he joined the other Primates in affirming his desire to walk together, this desire was necessarily contingent upon The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada giving evidence of returning to Biblical and historical Anglican theology and morality (Amos 3:3). On Thursday ​evening, ​with the absence of repentance, restored order, and true unity, Archbishop Beach felt it necessary to withdraw from the meeting.

Archbishop Beach appreciated the gracious invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend the meeting, and was thankful to be warmly received as the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America by most of the other primates who were present. While the Anglican Church in North America is recognized and in full communion with provinces who represent the majority of Anglicans in the world, the future place of the Anglican Church in North America in relation to the formal instruments remains an open question. Archbishop Beach was encouraged to see the growing recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a part of the Communion by many of the Primates and Provinces around the table.

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Iain mclean
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Iain mclean

Paragraph 3 of this statement, like Mr Beach’s earlier TV interview, directly contradicts the C of E statement posted here on 17th January. They cannot both be correct.

John B. Chilton
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John B. Chilton

Paragraph 4, sentences 1 and 2 (i.e. the highlighting — not in the original), are meant to imply that the leader of ACNA and a majority of Gafcon did not vote for the full communique. Welby and others have tried to make much about how the leaked portion was not the full communique. The leaked portion, which says nothing about apologies to LGBTs and nothing about decriminalization, is what ACNA and Gafcon support. By exiting early they have their cake and eat it too — they’re not on record in favor of criminalization.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

?

What does this bit mean?

“Neither he nor a majority of the GAFCON Primates were​ present for these discussions on Friday.”

Does that mean that other Primates (besides Uganda) walked out before the final communique was approved? Did any such others withdraw on Thursday evening?

I thought the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the Primates had unanimously decided to walk together. Did he misspeak? Or am I missing something? (Perhaps about when the meeting ended?)

James
Guest
James

Lambeth appears to have panicked, being highly sensitive to criticism. It is easy to check with another Primate what part Foley Beach played. And so what? What’s done is done.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Archbishop Foley seems to have been accorded the privilege of an Anglican Primate at the Primate’s Meeting, but without the ability to vote on any matter arising. However, his voice seems to have been heard on matters relating to the conditions to be laid down for discussion of the Primates’ treatment of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada – from which Churches he has schismatically drawn most of his constituency. This seems both unusual and unduly accommodating for a schismatic church leader. The outcome from this was that he was allowed to just leave the Meeting at a time… Read more »

Leon Clarke
Guest
Leon Clarke

So the unanimous agreement was only achieved with some people thinking it depended on things that everyone else thought would never happen, the balanced stuff in the final communique wasn’t agreed by GAFCON and we only had a semblance of any sort of agreement due to very clever timetabling. I also note that Beach claims that the primates didn’t consider any part of this meeting to formally be a primate’s meeting. One could argue from this that any discussion about whether a primates meeting has the power to censure TEC is now moot; this was an informal chat, not a… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“Although early in the week he joined the other Primates in affirming his desire to walk together, this desire was necessarily contingent upon The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada giving evidence of returning to Biblical and historical Anglican theology and morality (Amos 3:3). On Thursday ​evening, ​with the absence of repentance, restored order, and true unity, Archbishop Beach felt it necessary to withdraw from the meeting.” So actually he is contradicting what the Archbishop of Canterbury said? He is saying that there is no real agreement to walk together? This is extremely sad and surely this is… Read more »

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

It’s prooftext poker!

I see your Amos 3:3 and raise you… Luke 18:11

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Can we conclude that the actual formal “primates’ meeting” — legitimately noticed or not — took place only on Friday?

And that Ntagali, Beach, and at least three as-yet-unnamed GAFCON primates did not attend it?

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I share Jeremy’s questions. Did the GAFCON bishops sign on to the communique that was in support of LGBTQ people and against criminalization? If not, wow.

Beach certainly had a bigger role than was advertised. That’s disappointing. To me the ABC has blown any credibility he might have had.

Rev Drew Tweedy
Guest
Rev Drew Tweedy

What a wretched statement. I wonder which parts of the communiqué he is so anxious to disassociate himself from? Is it the condemnation of homophobic prejudice and violence? The rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people? He needs to make himself clear or a lot of people will make assumptions. I wonder how well ordinary ACNA clergy and laity feel ++Beech is representing them? Is this what they thought they’d signed up for? And don’t even get me started on the crass scripture reference, Amos 3.3 indeed!

June Butler
Guest

So the “unity” that “is also joyful and astonishing, renewing and nourishing” that Archbishop Welby spoke of in his reflection after the gathering may not express what actually happened. I expect various versions of what went on will leak out drip, drip, drip, some surely spun to reflect well on one group or another. If the meetings were not secret, Anglicans around the world would know what really happened.

Stephen Bates
Guest
Stephen Bates

I asked Archbishop Welby at the final press conference on Friday afternoon why no GAFCON archbishops were present if they were all happily united and in agreement with the communique and he said that those he had asked all said they had planes to catch. It is only 100 miles to Heathrow from Canterbury and the M25 does get busy in the rush hour. He gave the impression he had asked them on Friday but maybe that was a mistaken impression, deliberate or not. If they left early they probably missed Jean Vanier talking about the power of love and… Read more »

Nicholas Henderson
Guest
Nicholas Henderson

Foley Beach should never have been at the primates meeting. Although the ACNA is ‘recognised’ by some provinces it is not part of the Anglican Communion. Beach heads up what is a schismatic and highly divisive breakaway group whose purpose is to discomfort and replace the Episcopal Church, to foment division in the Anglican Communion and long term to re-centre the Communion away from Canterbury. It was probably a well-intentioned invitation as to some kind of reconciliation process but ultimately it was naive even to have hoped that there can be any other agenda for the ACNA than that I… Read more »

RPNewark
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RPNewark

James @ 0610.

You seem to be under the impression that the press release was from Lambeth Palace. It was from the schismatic sect known by the acronym ACNA and not from any province in the Anglican Communion.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Father Ron asks the right question. One wonders whether this clarification by ACNA–which goes so far as to clarify the status of other GAFCON participants–may be a signal by the GAFCON majority that they are not particularly worried anymore about playing nice with the Archbishop of Canterbury. If a majority of GAFCON primates, plus ACNA, were gone as of Thursday evening, then I’d say the story of the week was schism, not unity. Indeed, this was the very walkout that the GAFCON primates were threatening, the week before the Canterbury confab started. Of course Lambeth tried very hard to spin… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Are there any spin doctors that we have not heard from yet?

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

This is all so very sad. On the one hand the various statements leave a cloud of confusion as to who said or did what when; and on the other ++Welby starts to sound more and more like Sir Humphry: spin, cover-up, smiles… If only the Anglican “community” had a leader with the clear sight of the ECUSA leadership. I believe people would rally if ++Welby had said something like, “We failed, but the C of E remains firm in its support of the dignity of LGBT people wherever they are.” But of course, that’s not even what he means.… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

The cruel irony of that week is becoming more and more clear. To get the GAFCON provinces to attend, Abp Welby invited Beach. Yet when it came time for those assembled to actually show some unity, it seems that neither Beach nor a “majority of the GAFCON Primates” were anywhere to be found! Even so, there the Archbishop of Canterbury was at the press conference–spinning like a hurricane. I hope the press does some correction/revising of the historical record. The truth seems to be that the Primates were much less unified than Abp Welby joyfully suggested. It’s easy to be… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

If what Foley Beach says is correct, then some of the (other) Primates, and one in particular, should be considering their position, for we have been grossly and shamefully misled. The ‘walking together’ and semblance of unity achieved by the ‘consequencing’ of TEC was nothing of the sort. The GAFCON Primates got some of what they wanted in the leaked communique on Thursday, and then most of them walked out, so that they would not be seen as affirming the (slightly) more balanced communique issued on Friday. What a disgrace!

Rob
Guest
Rob

Beach is the leader of a rogue church led by thieves who attempted to steal the property of the Episcopal Church on their way out the door. He has no business being at any gathering of leaders of the Anglican Communion. These homophobic GAFCON bishops and their American co-conspirators deserve each other.

I_T
Guest
I_T

So the GAFCONners did not “sign on” to the communique in any way…. just the part about excluding TEC.

You know, it is quite humorous that Welby apparently thought he could keep the illusion up that everyone is on board. He must get awfully dizzy.

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

Nathaniel – Welby knows htb well – it’s huge and full of young people; It’s important to understand why the man thinks as he does (theologically and practically). If he wants to reach English young people, he knows who is doing it most successfully in England. And he knows the numbers in Africa. That’s why it’s a waste of time for tec and English liberals to waste more years trying to be in the club as it will always be on the terms set by the biggest numbers

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

S. Cooper – I’m afraid I don’t know what htb is,, and wonder if not capitalizing TEC is intended?

At any rate English young people, indeed young people all over, are staying away from religion in general. It is seen – usually rightly – as exclusive, sex-obsessed, and reactionary. My ECUSA church is growing steadily among 30-somethings and people starting families who want their children to be part of an open and accepting community.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

The only problem with S Cooper’s analysis is that the Holy Trinity-alpha grouping has a very large drop out rate.Note how many evangelicals descend into liberalism and even drift away. As for African figures, their “soundness” on homosexuality is largely based on cultural prejudice , and behind the facade of numbers there is widespread immorality. What about Lambeth 125, 1988…a blind eye to polygamy. As I have pointed out before the time bomb in GAFCON is women bishops..with some African provinces wanting to move ahead. Also ACNA is a loose federation and is constantly on the verge of falling apart… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Speaking of unity around diversity. How wonderfully different it was for the Pope to invite our own N.Z. Archbishop David Moxon (Anglican Representative to the Holy See) – together with an Eastern Orthodox prelate – to share in imparting the final Blessing to those gathered at the end of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Rome! This desire for unity with those whose theology and praxis is ‘different’ from that of his own ecclesial community, puts Pope Francis above those GAFCON prelates gathered at Canterbury recently who wanted to exclude TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada from… Read more »

Leon Clarke
Guest
Leon Clarke

A couple more thoughts: On carefully re-reading the communique, I noticed that the weasel words about not criminalizing same-sex attraction were ‘re-affirming’. Is it the case that this is the exact words used in a previous communique. Does anyone know when these words were first affirmed? Also, I see absolutely no evidence that Welby’s idea of a looser communion was discussed. This may be a consequence of the democratic process for setting the agenda. When we thought that the unanimous desire to walk together meant something, we might have guessed that this would obviously inevitably lead to a looser communion.… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Father Ron
Although the Pope has not reversed Catholic teaching on homosexual relationships, he has demonstrated a clear personal interest and compassion. As you say, it is quite a contrast to GAFCON.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Nathaniel, HTB is Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, an Anglican church in London, England. They’re charismatic evangelical, and a runaway success (think a smaller, denominational Willow Creek). Once again, I think S Cooper’s analysis nails it. Regardless of turnover, Welby sees HTB (his old stamping ground) get the numbers, plant churches, and generally succeed. What does he see liberal churches do? Shrink and die, often literally: he sees aging congregations attend antiquated services, everything a corporate evangelical go-getter like Welby loathes. Yes, there’s the cathedrals, but he understands they’re about theater, not theology. Unless liberalism can present him with tens of… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I see absolutely no evidence that Welby’s idea of a looser communion was discussed.” This is not Welby’s idea. This is the current reality. The Anglican Communion is (and always was) a family of independent churches. Nothing more. Now GAFCON want it to be something more. But GAFCON are also trying to confuse the issue by pretending that there is more central authority than there actually is. Abp Welby’s idea was to stop issuing directives as though there were central authority. Obviously on this point he was outvoted. The Primates went ahead and purported to do something that they have… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Does anyone have any figures on how many Anglican leaders in Africa have more than one wife?

Thanks.

Ellen Campbell
Guest
Ellen Campbell

This has been an absolute circus. And Welby has demonstrated terrible leadership.

David Runcorn
Guest

Are we not allowed to rejoice in churches that are visibly thriving, making an impact and growing faith among the very generation the wider church is finding hardest to reach? I hope I celebrate that whatever tradition is achieving it. a. because we don’t have the luxury of being that choosy and b. because we are always part of a bigger story than our own preferences will ever quite reveal.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Beach had no more business at an Anglican primates’ meeting than the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA or the Chief bishop of the Moravian Church – both of whose churches are in communion with TEC. Being in communion with member churches of the Anglican communion doesn’t make you an Anglican or your leader an Anglican primate.

Kurt Hill
Guest
Kurt Hill

I realize that things may be different in England, James Byron. But here in America the Charismatic-Evangelical megachurches have a constant, churning turnover, with many members continuing only for a year, or two, or three. Sadly, these American Pentecostal denominations are filled with some of the most educationally challenged and least economically prosperous people in the country, many of whom continually vote against their own class interests (e.g., for Donald Trump). The heretical “Prosperity Gospel” is very popular among this social stratum, despite the fact that it doesn’t work for them. I can assure you that liberal Episcopal Churches are… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Kurt, there are of course success stories in all traditions, and research on church growth has found theology to be largely irrelevant (at least compared to practical factors like outreach, social support, service quality etc). Affirming LGBT people, since it has such real-world effects, blurs the line between theology and outreach. Much of this is about perception, and it’s undoubtedly true that evangelical churches are expert at portraying success. Given that virtually all church networks are evangelical (can anyone here even name a liberal leadership conference?), I suspect there’s at least some substance to this. Evangelicals are certainly successful at… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

S. Cooper said, ‘At any rate English young people, indeed young people all over, are staying away from religion in general. It is seen – usually rightly – as exclusive, sex-obsessed, and reactionary. My ECUSA church is growing steadily among 30-somethings and people starting families who want their children to be part of an open and accepting community.’ I think we should all resist the temptation to generalize. My brother is part of a New Frontiers church in northwest England; they meet in a school gym, and the vast majority of the congregation are under forty, with a lot of… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

@ Kurt Hill: I liked your posting directed at Mr Byron. I’m a member of St Luke’s for nearly 30 years. I don’t know enough about parishes in other parts of the country, but you give a good portrayal of Manhattan parishes’ thriving. when I travel outside NYC, i’m pleased at how often an Episcopal parish in conservative regions is an outpost of something I like to think of as sanity. I’ve found this to be the case i churches I’ve visited in Iowa, Tennessee, North South Carolina, Georgia and Arizona. And I’ve visited the websites of many more, which… Read more »

David Beadle
Guest
David Beadle

I don’t think it’s clear yet that Beach is speaking for Gafcon as a whole. We still have five Gafcon Primates who have not publically repudiated the communique, and at least some may well have had to leave for flights. Beach’s explanation for staying for the agreement on the communique, and then leaving later (because something that no one expected to happen didn’t happen) is tortured.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“have had to leave for flights”

Who’d have thought there’d be decisions made on the final day and/or there’d be a press conference at the end? Surely the flight arrangements could have been made such that everyone was there until it was all over?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Tim–One might also cite–in TEC circles–Incarnation in Dallas. Growing solidly. Traditional theology and practice. 800-1000 ASA.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘Their theology is very conservative and it hasn’t hurt their growth one little bit.’ (Time on Wednesday)

It will though. This kind of theology is unsupportable and for the majority of people, it is left behind , as part of growing-up.

Also, one has to question the ethics of inculcating ideas which are without foundation -untrue – in children and young people. It is bad for them in the long run, and for the truth.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Leave for flights. Just goes to show you that, to be Archbishop of Canterbury, you have to be able to convince yourself that you can spout whatever balderdash you need to in the moment and expect to be believed.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Laurence

If a bishop wanted to be back in New Zealand for Sunday services, they would have to leave on Friday. Those with shorter journeys have less of an excuse.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Even the leader of the schismatic ACNA said that the Primates’ Meeting was informal, and that his participation was actively wlecomed – which could not have been if this were a closed meeting of Anglican Primates – to which he was not a party. So those who think that this ‘Primates’ Meeting’ had any legal authority to discipline TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada need to think again. The fact that some of the Primates had already left before the Meeting officially ended, and the communique formulated, would lead one to suspect that the communique was not binding nor… Read more »

Mr David
Guest
Mr David

Re Holy Trinity Brompton and similar. There are pluses and minuses. It is great that so many young people are inspired by their services. The vast majority of its members are non-parishioners. Many Christian young people, especially students in London, who would otherwise attend local churches (CofE, Methodist and Baptist), attend instead HTB. So the local churches lose their input. The students themselves gain a strong and particular concept of Christianity, but it is one which once rejected leads to rejection of all Chrstianity. This is as decribed by Peter Woods (article on Saturday). If HTB draws to itself Christian… Read more »

John sandeman
Guest
John sandeman

A Gafcon perspective that might help readers here see how others view this meeting. “Was it a success? Yes! Because God is faithful. ‘People ask me, bottom line, was it a success or not? Does the fact that Canada was not mentioned in the one action of discipline mean it was a failure for us in Canada? “I don’t think anyone knew what to expect going in, but it is clear that what happened and how it unfolded was completely different from what anyone would have predicted. “It was the GAFCON Primates’ goal and prayer that this meeting would focus… Read more »

John sandeman
Guest
John sandeman

I should have made it clear in my earlier post that all the text after the first line comes from Bishop Charlie Masters of ACNA, and the purpose of my posting it is simply to provide information.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Thank you John Sandeman for posting the link to Anglican Network, Canada. I have a great deal of time for ++Justin Welby and fully support is desire for getting people together to talk. But like many other people I have been very saddened by the reported outcomes of the Primates meeting. In our congregation, in a small village, one key person has already resigned saying she is no longer able to be part of a discriminatory church. Others are also thinking about their position. I am trying to hang on in there, but don’t know how much longer I will… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Thank you to Mr David for the balanced comment about HTB. While I am no apologist for some of the theology that has been asserted there over the years (including the condemnation of gay and lesbian sexual relationships), nevertheless I have had previous involvement with HTB Christians, been on house parties with them in the summer, and worshipped at the church. We are talking about sincere fellow Christians, and I celebrate the call to faith that has actively occurred there over the years. We are one in Christ. Whatever diversity of theology there may be, I am gladdened when people… Read more »