The following appeared earlier on the Global South Anglican website as a comment to this article, but has now been removed. I have added some typographical emphases.
7. I just received the following confidential letter by e-mail from an esteemed Primate. I am overwhelmed that my remarks on GAFCON – posted as a mere comment in the Global South Anglican web blog, would attract such swift rebuke from an Anglican Primate. I am not sure whether he himself would be so out of character to use such harsh words to a priest begging for clarifications from the authorities. After all what will take place in GAFCON affects my future. The metadata of his Word-document reveals that it was in fact drafted by another person – by an equally esteemed new bishop in America. The issues he raised are public in nature, and are decisive to the future of the Global South Anglican movement. They call for considered response.
First, I enclose his comments:
I can only use the very words you yourself have chosen to express my great concern at your public statement – shocked and saddened.
How could you possibly believe it to be God’s will to make such a public scandal against your brethren without first consulting with us? Common courtesy and politeness alone would have insisted on that and the scripture clearly teaches us to exhaust private attempts at reconciliation before doing something public.
You assume authority and superiority (neither of which are yours to assume) and assault not only the entire enterprise but the integrity of those involved.
You use rhetorical questions thus adding inappropriate scorn to what you have perpetrated.
On top of this you used the Global South website for a personal matter. With whose authorization did you do so?
This conference is designed to move beyond the current paralysis in the Communion and pursue mission with those who have a common mind about what Biblical mission means. We are not suggesting that we are the only ones who have the “real” faith to share, but neither are we so naive to believe that all who call themselves Anglicans agree with what the church has always described as the content of the faith and the mission of the Church. If the intention were to foment division, there are far more effective ways to do it than the plans we are making. In addition it is being set up by leaders who believe that the theological crisis (which you wrongly limit to being a North American problem) has damning implications in real people’s lives.
Given that every clear statement on unity, faith, and order has been summarily ignored, it is unreasonable to suspect that continuing to do the same things will bring different results.
Please seek God over this and recognize the great wrong you have done to those who have trusted you and never imagined you might behave in this way.
I leave aside his questions on the use of web blogs and authority in blog posting, which I consider as confusion on his part on the nature of web blog. The Primate, as a senior member in the GSA leadership team, should well be aware that GSA has two important arms working for the long-term strengthening of churches in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Communion at large. They are the Economic Empowerment Task Force and the Theological Formation and Education Task Force, the latter of which I am the chair. The chairs of both Task Forces work closely with the central leadership in the GSA Primates Steering Committee. For myself, I keep in touch with the GSA Primates chair and General Secretary on weekly basis over the past year – if not more – on our long-term work outside of the limelight. Successive GSA communiqués have commended the work of these two tracks.
In particular, the Primates have commissioned the Theological Formation and Education Task Force to produce a draft of the theological framework for an Anglican catechism. The committee with Primate-representatives from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and South East Asia, alongside corresponding members from Northern churches endorsed by the Primates, has been working very closely together (and very hard) for the past year on this project. We have taken great care to produce a unitive and building document for the whole Communion, that it would complement the GSA theological input to the Anglican Covenant processes. We took particular care in defining orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion in the document. The 60-page Interim Report Anglican Catechism in Outline (ACIO), with Key Recommendations—that has received unanimous endorsement from all members— has important ramifications for Christian discipleship throughout the Communion. It will be submitted to the GSA Primates very soon. The GSA Primates who went to China in October 2007 saw an earlier draft and have commended on its work in their communiqué. They “urge [their] dioceses to make it available to all strata of leadership in preparation for its formal adoption in the first quarter of 2008”. According to agreed plans, it will be released it by mid February 2008, if not earlier, to the whole Communion for feedback. The Final report is due to be released by June 2008. All these plans were agreed by the Primates at least six months ago. The GSA Chair and General Secretary have received the successive drafts and were consulted on all major decisions as the draft was amended and re-crafted.
The drafting committee met in Singapore from 11 to14 December 2007, I believe it was in the same week as the Nairobi meeting took place. Archbishop John Chew was with us throughout the meeting and gave us vital leadership. I do not think any of us meeting in Singapore knew about the Nairobi meeting.
I hope this sets the scene in explaining why I was shocked and saddened by the GAFCON Statement.
I ask pose your questions gently back to you: Did you and those in Nairobi consult all GSA primates on such an important conference on Anglican future? Could there be better coordination between Global South Anglican initiatives and that of the GAFCON organizers? Are you setting up a new structure (Global Anglican) other than GSA to move the Communion forward? Would you not think given the publicity that GAFCON has attracted (quite aside from my humble questions) as splitting the Communion, how would others in the Communion perceive the ACIO Interim Report that is meant to build up the whole Communion upon the authority of the Holy Scripture when it is released? (Have you seen the document?) Would they not be prone to dismiss it off hand as another radical proposal from the Global South? This would be a great pity and great setback to the good work of the Global South Movement.
The GSA Primates leadership team has a prime responsibility to work and discern together with all churches in the Southern Hemisphere. Its authority is derived from this mandate. Consultation is vital to this.
I suggest GSA Steering Committee to meet soon to clear up the matter.
Please be assured of my continued effort to work to the utmost in defending orthodoxy with you in the Communion.
Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He’ll with a giant fight,
He will have a right
To be a pilgrim.
Affectionately in Christ,
Posted by Michael Poon on 12/31 at 01:29 PM