Thinking Anglicans

Primates gathering: Monday news and comment

Archbishop Philip Richardson ‘Walk or stay? We chose to stay’

BBC News Dr Richard Clarke: Church of Ireland primate defends decision on US Episcopal Church

Scottish Episcopal Church Primates Meeting 2016 – radio interviews with Primus

Hudson Kuteesa AllAfrica Rwanda: Canterbury Has Taken Best Decision On Gay – Bishop Rucyahana

Some blog posts from a range of perspectives

Andrew Lightbown A tale of two Primates

Richard Haggis Winsome, Lose some

Giles Goddard The Primates’ Meeting – good or bad?

Bosco Peters Primates Do Not Suspend TEC

Ephraim Radner First Things Reaffirming Communion: an Act of Hope


  • A Cooper says:

    How many more years – time for TEC and liberal provinces to be clear that they will not be forced to go back on the reforms they’ve made and exclusion is a price worth paying for integrity; time for TEC (UK) to start and TEC to be in other regions. If current English liberal clergy won’t let go of their nice robes and pensions, then a new generation should lead new TEC churches where all are genuinely accepted regardless of doctrinal or moral ‘purity’ . More years of compromising principles for institutional unity that does not exist will be horrible and damaging.

  • MarkBrunson says:

    Giles Goddard is naive. There were no gains for the liberal “team” just the same empty words (not even promises) that we’ve heard so often. I guess I should credit him for his unwavering loyalty to Cantuar. Of course they won’t be accountable or quit abetting violence against gays. I’m surprised they kept from laughing.

  • Jeremy says:

    A Cooper, I agree that the Archbishop of Canterbury is sacrificing the English baptized on the altar of unity with bigoted provinces.

    Why this is pleasing to the Lord is something that I will never fathom.

  • Disgraced says:

    The piece by Philip Richardson is quite disingenuous. “Walk or stay? We chose to stay” as if this was the first item on the agenda for everyone to deal with. When was walking or staying ever an issue for the primates of Aotearoa New Zealand and on what grounds would they have walked when they knew who else would be there, what was on the agenda and had travelled half way around the world to be there?

    I don’t doubt that some interesting and important matters that were discussed failed to hit the global headlines; but to ignore what happened to TEC or to explain what part they played in it’s condemnation or defence, beggars belief.

  • Rod Gillis says:

    Here is a very good article on selective Anglican outrage toward TEC from The Atlantic.

  • My question out of all this, still is:

    Are the Conservative Primates ready to ‘Break Bread’ (join in the Eucharistic Celebration) with Liberal Primates. This is the real test of their willingness to ‘abide in The Vine’ with fellow Anglicans. Until anmd unless this happens, it will be difficult for the rest of us in the Communion to take their latest pow-wow seriously.

    In other words, I am very suspicious of attempts to side-line TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada in ways that imply their lesser value as members of the Anglican Communion.

  • ‘A statement from the primates at the meeting says that the church (TEC) should “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity”.’

    It is not quite clear who the ‘us’ mentioned in the above comment actually represents – certainly not me, as an Anglican in ACANZP!

    Furthermore,do the originators of this statement realise the extent of this actual financial support given to ‘us’ by the Episcopal Church of North America (ECUSA)?

    Should, therefore, TEC withhold – during the period of the moratorium – any contribution towards the workings of the world-wide Anglican Communion; considering the fact that it will have no say in the business of the Communion during that period? This would seem to be a matter of justice in the circustances. Then TEC could direct its considerable contribution of people-power and financial support to those humanitarian causes closest to it own interests in pursuit of the working out of the Gospel in its own area.

  • My vote (if it were a possibility) for the next appointment to the Archbishopric of Canterbury would be the Rt. Reverend Michael Curry, Primus of TEC.

    His gracious comments on the outcome of the recent Primates’ Meeting – which has virtually side-lined TEC from the executive functions of the Anglican Communion for a period of 3 years – clearly state TEC’s discernment of the need to continue to focus on the inclusion of LGBTI people in the life and ministry of the Episcopal Church of America. This has incorporated TEC’s refusal to back-track on its commitment to open up its ministry and membership to ALL people – despite the efforts of the GAFCON Primates to expel TEC from the Anglican Communion.

    In the meantime, one expects that the more liberal Provinces of the Anglican Communion will continue to enjoy a full relationship with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada – in ways that do not involve any Communion executive participation.

    TEC’s gracious acceptance of the expressed concern of the more conservative Primates has undoubtedly helped the ABC’s desire for Unity, with a certain amount of diversity, for the time being.

    What might happen – after the requisite period of three year moratorium from TEC’s executive functioning within the Communion is over – one may not, at this time, prophesy. However, the pause for collective and independnet discernment may yet allow conservative provinces to re-think their opposition to the inclusion of intrinsically Gay and Lesbian people in the Church. Cartainly, TEC and the A.C. of C. have accepted responsibility for their actions in leading the Anglican Community into a new period of reflection on the importance of gender and sexuality issues in the Church’s mission of bringing justice to ALL.

  • MarkBrunson says:

    Richard Haggis – thank you. That’s it. And, sadly, being gentle, good, decent people, the TEC hierarchy does not get deceit and manipulation, so they don’t quite get what AC is doing.

  • Mark Brunson says:

    I would like to express my gratitude for Bp. Benhase, my bishop. He isn’t perfect, but we are truly blessed in comparison with what we might have gotten, as the last few decades have shown.

    “A Statement on Actions of the Primate’s Meeting
    The leaders of the churches which are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, referred to as Primates, met January 11-15 in Canterbury, England. The group asked that the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

    In response to these actions, Bishop Scott Benhase issued the following statement: “The Anglican Communion Primates have spoken through their vote. We respect their position, yet we are a communion of independent churches. Their voice, while important, has no effect on the mission of the Diocese of Georgia. We will continue to proclaim and seek to live out the gracious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do our utmost to welcome all God’s Children, regardless of who they are, into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. Our call and mission have not changed. I pray that everyone in the Diocese will redouble their efforts to include the lonely, the lost, and the left out in this part of Christ’s Body.”

  • Perry Butler says:

    Andrew Lightbown makes an important point. It will require African Primates to stand against the leaders of many Pentecostal and African Independent Church leaders as well as populist Politicians who ride on the issue of criminalising homosexuality.Will this happen? not least as African Anglicans fear losses to Pentecostal Churches. But if their rhetoric and support for criminalisation continues what will happen in three years time? Will they face sanctions?The Primate of Uganda may well say he isn’t bound by this in any case.

  • Leon Clarke says:

    Does anyone have links to the comments by ‘some conservative primates’ alluded to by Andrew Lightbown?

  • MarkBrunson says:

    You know, recently some unpleasant sorts who broke into a federal facility – don’t panic! It wasn’t guarded, because that might be hard – they then went online begging for money and snacks, because, you know, Jesusamericajesus.

    So people sent supplies.

    Perhaps, as the primates seem so desperate to see signs of approval for this measure, similar gifts as signs of support might be thoroughly appropriate, along with a note thanking them for their incredibly sincere commitment to ending homophobia and making peace in our time. Don’t forget Foley Beach! He’ll be on the AC soon enough!

  • Andrew Godsall says:

    I think the best analysis I have read so far of what the Primates’ statement means is in Bosco Peters’ piece. Thank you for the link.

    Surely the Primates themselves can’t actually make any suspension of TEC. The spin about ‘consequences’ is difficult because it sounds like implementation of the Anglican Communion Covenant, which our Dioceses in the C of E rejected pretty clearly. I hope there will be a question about this at General Synod next month.

    One question I can’t find an answer to, and would be grateful for is this: who leaked the decision from the Primates meeting? And to whom? I think that’s important for us to know.

  • F. D. Blanchard says:

    This very angry article in The Atlantic by Jonathan Merritt calls out the hypocrisy of Anglican hierarchs for sanctioning the Episcopal Church for marrying gays while deliberately overlooking African churches complicit in murdering them.

  • Interested Observer says:

    “the hypocrisy of Anglican hierarchs for sanctioning the Episcopal Church for marrying gays while deliberately overlooking African churches complicit in murdering them.”

    Why is it hypocrisy? The African primates have always been intensely relaxed about the murder of gays, when they weren’t actively cheering it on. They haven’t made any secret of this. You might argue that Justin Welby is being some sort of hypocrite by siding with them, but that would presume that Justin Welby sees the murder of gays, particularly black gays a long way away, as something worth losing sleep over. There’s no sign he sees it as a matter of the slightest concern.

  • Rod Gillis says:

    This just appeared on the Anglican Journal news site in Canada.

  • Nathaniel Brown says:

    For a thoughtful, informative and comforting statement on the primates’ meeting, see the open letter from the Canadian Primate:

  • I’ve been off the air for a few days, some of them ruminating on what the Anglican Communion has done. I argued some time ago that unity in communion might be possible if the Gafcon bishops were to recognise the differences in culture between those in the more liberal north, and those in the more traditional south. But this did not happen. Instead, the Gafcon bishops got all they asked for. TEC was repremanded and marginalised, and they got to go back to play the same tranditionalist game that reflected their own culture, but not those in the north. They had clearly planned well. Inviting the “Primate” of the Anglican Church of North America was the worst thing that could have been done, because he could say that the liberalism of the north is not shared by a minority of Anglicans in Canada and the US, thus bolstering the African case for refusing to compromise. And he had no official status in the Anglican communion in the first place.

    This was not an act of compromise. This was simply an act where the globan north simply folded in the face of intransigent bigotry. That is what Cynthia thought I was saying, but this is not so. There had to be some give and take here, and there wasn’t. The global south did not make one significant concession, and Britain, the US, Canada and others with more liberal traditions made all the sacrifices – which included all its gay members. I know what I would think of the agreement were I gay, and I think I should simply walk away in disgust. The Archbishop of Canterbury, accustomed to working with business men, not clerics, misunderstood his role, and the authority his office should carry in the Church, and he simply knuckled under to the demands of the south. No doubt he thought of it in terms of Christian charity. Fred Hiltz said they worked a prayed over several issues. Well, their prayers were obviously not answered, and what we ended up with is a communion where the African bishops (in particular) hold most of the cards, and, as someone has said, can now go confidently back to further marginalise gays in their own jurisdictions.

    In this situation, everyone loses, and those who walked away from Canterbury imagining that they had “saved” the communion, not even acknowledging that they paid too big a price. If the global south was unwilling to make any compromises (and I can’t see that that was required of them), then they should have gone back empty-handed. After all, it was not the north that was threatening schism, it was the south, and the only way to stop them seems to have been to give them what they wanted from the start. No doubt they returned after their victory thinking themselves piously justified in forcing retrograde actions on the rest of the communion. Well, they weren’t. Where are the backbones of the northern primates, who were prepared to sell part of their constituency for a meal of humble pie. Everyone is speaking about the grace of Michael Curry (Presiding Bishop of TEC). It may look like grace, but I wonder how many people in TEC think that this is what it was? To me, it looks like supine surrender of all the values that TEC “stood” for, and willingly accepting punishment from those whose sense of godly order is so absolute it does not even try to understand why it is so important for the church to recognise and welcome gay people as full members of Christ. So much for unity in the communion.

  • James Byron says:

    Interested Observer, hard as it is for me to defend the corporate drone of Anglicanism, I believe Justin Welby’s sincere about repenting of the abuses inflicted on LGBT (and “I,” as he’d have it) people. I don’t for a second believe that he sleeps easy about homophobic murder.

    Problem is, he defines homophobia only in those narrow terms. For Welby, homophobia is murder and abuse: but discrimination on biblical grounds, couched in polite language, is just dandy.

    Progress of a kind, I suppose.

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