Thinking Anglicans

Reactions to the announcement of a primates gathering

Updated 4 pm Friday

GAFCON has issued this press release: GAFCON calls for ‘truth on the table’

Media Statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for a meeting of Primates in January 2016 shows that he has recognised the deep concerns of faithful church leaders around the world, including those belonging to the GAFCON movement who represent the majority of the global Communion’s membership.

GAFCON began with the first Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008 as an initiative to restore the integrity of Anglican faith and order as the Communion descended into deepening crisis.

We are now a global family standing together to restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion with a strength and unity that comes from our common confession of the Lord Jesus Christ, not merely from historic institutional structures.

It is on this basis that the GAFCON Primates will prayerfully consider their response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter. They recognize that the crisis in the Communion is not primarily a problem of relationships and cultural context, but of false teaching which continues without repentance or discipline.

Consistent with this position, they have previously advised the Archbishop of Canterbury that they would not attend any meeting at which The Episcopal Church of the United States or the Anglican Church of Canada were represented, nor would they attend any meeting from which the Anglican Church in North America was excluded.

It is therefore of some encouragement that the Archbishop of Canterbury has opened the door of this meeting to the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach. He has already been recognized as a fellow primate of the Anglican Communion by Primates representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South at his installation in Atlanta last October and he is a full member of the GAFCON Primates Council.

In the end, our confidence is not in any structural reorganisation, useful though it may be, but in the saving grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and in the abiding truth of the Bible. That is what empowers us and this is the assurance we bring to our broken world.

Editorial in the Guardian The Guardian view on the Anglican communion: catching up with reality

Andrew Brown Dissolving the Anglican communion would simply be a recognition of reality

Andrew Lightbown Thoughts on ‘our’ Anglican communion; Justin’s potential genius.

Mark Langham Too early to call time on the Anglican Communion

Ruth Gledhill How to understand Justin Welby’s vision for Christian unity

Peter Carrell Just In Time: ABC Changes Communion to Federation

Peter Stanford Justin Welby’s last throw of the dice won’t save the church

Irish Times Editorial Anglicanism in crisis: Canterbury’s risky move

Trevor Grundy RNS Proposal to loosen Anglican Communion ties draws mixed responses

Updates

Ian Paul A bluffer’s guide to the Anglican Communion controversy

David Moxon Explaining the Anglican Primates’ Meeting

Tom Ferguson It’s The End of the Anglican Communion As we Know It – And I feel Fine

Martyn Percy Diversity not divorce: Anglicans must aim for a broad church if they can’t agree

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P. DenisJeremyRod GillisDaniel Berry, NYCPerry Butler Recent comment authors
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Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Peter Stamford misses the point. Yes, there are different opinions in the CoE (and in all other churches), but that does not mean that the CoE does not have an official stance. While women priests and bishops are not accepted by everyone, the church as a whole has firmly accepted them. There are provisions for those who cannot agree but that is not the same as saying that “there are deep divisions within the church”, implying that there has been no formal solution of the question. Justin Welby’s attempt to re-establish the idea of a looser Communion where “unity” does… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

From the statement, “It is therefore of some encouragement that the Archbishop of Canterbury has opened the door of this meeting to the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach.” Archbishop Welby has been flanked. His invitation to the ACNA primate has given GAFCON a tactical, perhaps even strategic, political victory. He has essentially recognized the ACNA primate, something GAFCON has already done. No doubt “back channel” talks with GAFCON over the coming days will focus on trying to “manage” GAFCON’s continued demand to keep The Canadian and American Primates out of the meeting. GAFCON’s response… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I believe the NYT reported that +Curry said he was attending.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“A spokeswoman for the church, which has 2.1 million members, said Bishop Curry planned to attend the meeting.” NYT

Lionel Deimel
Guest

Unless everyone is at the table at the January meeting, no reconciliation is possible. TEC and the ACoC should not consider staying away. Doing so would effectively be opting out of the Communion (or Anglican Communion II, as I have called it). The ABC should call GAFCON’s bluff and let the chips fall where they may. It is really time to split into two communions, so each side can get about mission as it sees it.

Eric MacDonald
Guest

“What would be wise, at this point, is a joint statement from The Primate of Canada and the Presiding Bishop elect of TEC saying that in the light of the GAFCON press statement that they will seek council from their respective executive bodies, The Council of General Synod in Canada’s case, with regard to the nature of their participation in the meeting, given especially the participation of GAFCON’s guy on the ground in North America.” Quite so. The invitation itself is an anomaly, since it is inviting someone to a Primates’ gathering who believes himself to be the rightful Primate… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

When someone invited to an event says that they will not attend if someone else is invited and present, Miss Manners would suggest telling the protesting party, “I understand you will not be attending. Thank you for responding, and have a nice day.”

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Lionel Diemel, “Unless everyone is at the table at the January meeting, no reconciliation is possible. TEC and the ACoC should not consider staying away.” No doubt that is precisely the thumb screw being applied to Canada and TEC. However, the news that (1) ACNA has been invited to participate on some sort of basis and (2) GAFCON wants Canada and the TEC excluded, changes the water on the beans. Did the Canadian and TEC primates know about these two demands, and if so, when did they know it exactly? The GAFCON statement pretty much says, thanks for recognizing… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

++Michael (PB of TEC starting on All Saint’s) has to be there and he will. There’s no reason not to sit at the table.

Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners. This meeting of Primates will contain an amazing amount of sinners, including human rights abusers. We must sit with them anyway, if they come.

I’m looking forward to a large gathering of Anglican laity. I think we can sort this out more readily than those GAFCON bishops…

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

My view of this act is that ++Justin is putting this in the hands of someone above his pay grade. Perhaps I’m naive, but I believe that in this leap of faith, ++Justin is demonstrating an inspirational act of faith. If ++Justin’s heart is true here (and this is not a cynical maneuver) he isn’t only making space for difference, he’s making space for the Holy Spirit to do her loving work. TEC will be there. The ACC can do their work on our $1.2 million dollars, money we’ve paid faithfully even when our representatives were asked to leave, five… Read more »

John
Guest
John

How does one interpret Welby’s move? Is it good or bad? What will the consequences be?

Haven’t a clue. But nor, I respectfully suggest, does anyone here, whether those who have portentously written, blogged, or commented. Time we all got a life.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Archbishop Justin has a very defined way of looking at *difference* at the Anglican Communion. He seems to think that justice and reason are the way to go as long as he keeps one hand on the weight of the scales. Such tiresome posturing, dishonest and behind the scene discerning with the appearance of humility. No soap (don’t you think the ABC already arranged with the Gafcon fellows that ACNA Primate would be included? He has done this way before the official invitations were sent out?). What is the next hoop he will need to jump through?

Rod gillis
Guest
Rod gillis

@ Cynthia “Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners.” You are not alone in that sentiment, it’s very pious; but I think it is a non-sequitur. Problem is, the primates and GAFCON lads are not tax collectors and sinners. For one thing, they certainly aren’t as marginalized or powerless. The issues here are more complex. There are at least two features of this that require critical appraisal. One is the wisdom of continuing to support, tacitly or otherwise,the clericalism and hierarchicalism in this approach. As a supporter of synodical government I’m not impressed. Second, as a Canadian, I’m especially… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

What an odd response, John. This is the biggest news in decades in the Anglican world and we should all just shut up and get a life, as if none of us have one…

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

I think TEC want a settlement. Look at the massive property compromise they offered in South Carolina..however they don’t understand that the opposition will not tolerate any compromise.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Martyn Percy wrote – “Bishops are increasingly seen as managers and setters of targets – not as pastors and teachers,” I must say I had a bit of a giggle when I read on the retiring Dean of Durham’s “twitter” that when sorting out his personal books from the Dean’s stall he “Left (spare) copies of Hebrew, Greek and Latin Bibles for the next Dean.” A characteristically kind and generous gift but in the present climate wouldn’t a copy of “Management for Beginners” have been a more appropriate bequest? Also, may I humbly suggest that Dean Michael Sadgrove leave a… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

The invitation of the so-called ACNA does not bode well for any good intentions on Archbishop Justin’s part. It looks like a stitch-up designed to isolate TEC, ACoC and their allies.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I hope that whatever emerges will have a theological basis…perhaps something salvaged from the first 3 parts of the Covenant or a beefed up version of the Lambeth Quad or at least something along the lines of the C. Of Es Declaration of Assent.Given the amount of time expended over the last 50 years on ecumenical agreements there is surely a need for some sort of basic Anglican identity and vocation within the una sancta.. It will be interesting to see whether the longer term result will be a return to Lambeth 1948 with its understanding that Anglicanism should disappear….will… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I hope that whatever emerges will have a theological basis.” I seriously doubt there will be any written document of any importance that emerges from this meeting. The whole problem being addressed is that some people think that the Primates’ meetings are legislative bodies. They are not. Indeed, the powerlessness of the Instruments, vis-a-vis any member church, is exactly the point that Canterbury is trying to get across. And Canterbury knows that if there are any votes taken on language, the Global South will win them all. Canterbury is trying to let the Global South down gently–not give them another… Read more »

Rod gillis
Guest
Rod gillis

@ Jeremy, “The Communion has been dysfunctional in part because any pronouncement from a Primates’ meetings has no force whatsoever. The Primates have been making a pretense of power that they do not possess.” There is some limited veracity to this point of view, but it sure ain’t the whole enchilada. This relatively new “instrument” ( 197Os?) of prelates, even without legislative means, signals who really has got game in The Communion. It deepens the commitment and follows a trajectory of a particular kind of understanding of the ministry of oversight–one which is open to criticism on several levels. The… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I meant emerges in the longer term Jeremy, not this meeting.It seems we will move from Communion as understood since say the 1950s when Steve Bayne was appointed and MRI but was in fashion to something else….the World Anglican Federation…Autocephaly… Who knows…but whatever we need some theological self understanding….and not from a Primates meeting and not soon.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“This relatively new “instrument” ( 197Os?) of prelates, even without legislative means, signals who really has got game in The Communion.”

“Signals who has really got game”?

I’m afraid I have no idea what you are talking about.

The Anglican Communion is a family of independent churches. Nothing more.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

In seeking reconciliation – which, after all, is the church’s vocation – I doubt if much is to be gained by excluding or self-excluding anyone from the table. Meanwhile, it’s the experience of millions of people in the US and elsewhere that they hated and despised gay people–until they found out that people they already knew and loved were gay. The ACNA and GAFCON folks’ hatred of what they fancy is “the other” can be overcome only by their learning that “the other” isn’t–regardless of what the issue is.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

@ Jeremy, “I’m afraid I have no idea what you are talking about.”

Re, primates got game, pardon my love of North American vernacular. What I’m saying is, we know who is really important here. It’s not laity or priests, or deacons, or theologians. Its the top tier of the hierarchy. Even without the ability to legislate, and regardless of whether a primate is from North America or the global south, primates have charm, they have clout, they are sought after within their own circle, which gives the whole thing a kind of politically incestuous cast.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Rod, if you are saying that a gathering of primates is hard pressed *not* to think of itself, self-aggrandisingly, as a legislative body, I would agree with you.

Which suggests to me, that the more seldom the primates meet, the better.

Let’s hope the majority of primates choose to stay home in January.

In North American terms, I believe it was Twain who said that no one is safe while Congress is in session. I have a similar view of the Primates.

P. Denis
Guest
P. Denis

Today, Tuesday, Sept 22, the Council of General Synod of Canada will receive the report of a special committee established to recommend changes (if necessary) to the Marriage Canon, so as to accommodate same-sex marriages. The recommendations will be made public later today. This will certainly put the cat among the pigeons!