In the Church Times Ed Beavan reports under the headline Williams plans trips to mend fences
THE Archbishop of Canterbury will engage in a round of shuttle diplomacy in an attempt to improve relations with the Global South primates who boycotted last week’s primates’ Meeting.
Speaking during the closing press conference at the Emmaus Centre, near Dublin, on Sunday afternoon, Dr Williams spoke of his plans to visit some of the provinces of the absent Primates, such as South-East Asia. He said that he had recently met the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, one of the Primates who did not attend, taking part in “a very long and detailed conversation on a variety of matters”.
Such diplomatic endeavours would be a “long task”, he said; and trying to keep the diverse Communion together was “difficult”; but “the task we’ve been given, it’s part of the gift of living in the Church” and “part of the cross we carry”.
Dr Williams acknowledged that there remains a “critical situation” in the Anglican Communion. “Nobody would deny that. But that critical situation has not ended the relationships, often very cordial and very constructive, between Churches within the Communion.”
And Ed also wrote Impressions of ‘gracefulness’.
THE Dublin Primates’ Meeting represented “comfort-zone Anglicanism”, the Bishop of Argentina and chairman of the conservative GAFCON network, the Rt Revd Greg Venables, said this week.
Speaking on behalf of the GAFCON Primates of Uganda, Rwanda, West Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, and the Southern Cone — none of whom went to Dublin — Bishop Venables said that the meeting “had ignored the difficult issues that divide us.
“There was a denial of the seriousness of the crisis facing the Communion which led to the absence of Primates representing two-thirds of the Anglican Communion, and there remains a complete lack of trust, which every day is getting worse.
“The Dublin meeting has just made things worse, as they did not deal with the reasons why people stayed away, or the causes of the divisions in the Anglican Church.”
Commenting on the new definition of the standing committee of the Primates’ Meeting, Bishop Venables said that the creation of a new “centralised” body reminded him of Animal Farm: “It seems all Primates are equal but some are more equal than others.”
Update There is a further related report: Ed Thornton Kato murder ‘profoundly shocking’ – Dr Williams
Speaking at a press conference after the Primates’ Meeting, on Sunday, Dr Williams said that Mr Kato’s murder “illustrates the fact that words have results…Whenever people use any kind of language that dehumanises or demeans such persons [as homosexuals], we have to think these are the possible consequences.”
Dr Williams noted that the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, was “a signatory, along with all the other Primates to . . . statements . . . deploring and condemning all violence and demeaning language about homosexual persons”.
When contacted, the Archbishop of York’s office said that Dr Sentamu would not be commenting on the murder of Mr Kato, and referred to Dr Williams’s statement.
There is editorial comment at Leader: Decommissioning. It concludes with this:
…Those unfamiliar with recent Anglican history might overlook the importance of that dull list produced in Dublin, with an even duller title: “Towards an Understanding of the Purpose and Scope of the Primates’ Meeting”. Until their principled — and possibly unwise — decision to give the Primates’ Meeting up as a bad job, the conservatives saw the gathering as a potential power-base to rival the other instruments of the Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury was an individual attached awkwardly to an ex-colonial power; the Lambeth Conference met only once a decade; and the Anglican Consultative Council, well . . . This left the Primates’ Meeting, the most representative body in the Communion — if you saw no need to represent lay people, the parish clergy, women, etc. Not only did it meet every two years: there was the prospect of a permanent standing committee, which could govern between meetings.
Suddenly there was the prospect of an effective, powerful governing body, in charge of theological and ethical pronouncements, discipline, and membership. Furthermore, the conservatives might be strong enough to control it. It is in this light that the redefinition of the Primates’ Meeting, framed in their absence, must be seen. Note how the document refers to “taking counsel”, “being collegial”, “being consultative”, and “acknowledging diversity and giving space for difference”. On the pressing issues of faith, order, and ethics, the Primates are merely to “seek continuity and coherence”, whatever that means. And the standing committee has been tucked neatly away, to “act as a consultative council for the Archbishop of Canterbury” and to care for the “life and spirit” of the Primates’ Meeting, whatever that means. If the conservatives ever choose to return, they will find that the guns have been spiked.
Over at the Church of England Newspaper George Conger has written a report titled Dublin primates meeting marks an ‘end to the communion as we know it’.
He quotes conservative spokesmen as follows:
A spokesman for the Gafcon movement told The Church of England Newspaper that it was unlikely the primates affiliated with the conservative reform movement would comment on the meeting. Each archbishop made his own decision whether or not to attend, the spokesman explained, and there is no common response yet to what took place in Dublin.
A senior Global South leader told CEN, the Dublin meeting was “irrelevant” to several of the absent primates. “It doesn’t mean a thing to them,” he noted.
As Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Williams’ sole power lay in his ability to call meetings of the church. Lambeth and now Dublin has shown he has lost this “moral authority” as his invitations now go unanswered, the bishop noted. Dr. Williams cannot now claim that he speaks for a majority of Anglicans, he said.
(The quote used in the headline does not appear in the body of the article, but Dr Philip Turner, of the Anglican Communion Institute is quoted as saying
The “fabric” of the communion remains torn “because of a failure in leadership,” he said, noting that the “communion as we have known it is gone.”)