By John Martin
Archbishop Justin Welby’s hopes for a well-attended Primates’ Meeting in January received a boost during the weekend when 11 representatives attending a Global South meeting in Cairo said their provinces would send their leaders.
A communiqué posted Oct. 18 on Global South Anglican confirmed this. The statement gave a “welcome” to Archbishop Welby’s idea that primates suggest items of the agenda. “We appreciate this very helpful approach, one that gives us a sense of ownership and responsibility to our meeting.”
The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria, was absent from the meeting and the list of signatories.
Even on Sunday Global South Anglican displayed a notice that the conference planned for Tunis (the Tunisian capital) had been cancelled for security concerns. The Cairo meeting was thus a scaled-down affair, with the government of Egypt arranging needed visas at short notice at the request of the Archbishop of Egypt, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, whose province includes Tunisia.
Lambeth Palace confirmed that Archbishop Welby managed to reroute his travel from the United States to attend the meeting in Cairo. The primates appreciated his participation, the communiqué said, and “he was keen to listen to our concerns and share his own in a collegial atmosphere.”
The meeting welcomed the Anglican Church in North America “as a partner province to the Global South, represented by its Archbishop, the Most Reverend Foley Beach.” The meeting received and discussed a report from Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, which receives primatial oversight from the group.
The communiqué added: “We were aware that we were meeting at a critical time in the history of our Communion. A time characterised by impaired and broken relations between Provinces.” Unity, it said, “is based on the truth revealed to us in the scripture; it is a unity on the essentials of faith. We also believe in principled diversity in the non-essentials. ‘In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.’”
It singled out for criticism “unilateral decisions” by the last General Convention of the Episcopal Church to redefine marriage and to accept same‐sex marriage (Resolutions A036 and A054). These were “a clear departure from not only the accepted traditional teaching of the Anglican Communion, but also from that of the one Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Church.”
The Global South Primates re-elected the current chairman, Archbishop Mouneer Anis, as well as the current Steering Committee. The cancelled Global South General Conference in Tunisia will be rescheduled, although a date and venue has yet to be decided.
The communiqué listed these bishops as meeting participants:
- Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis (Egypt)
- Archbishop Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean)
- Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya)
- Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi)
- Archbishop Bolly Lapok (Southeast Asia)
- Archbishop Hector Tito Zavala (South America)
- Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo representing Archbishop Daniel Deng (Sudan)
- Bishop Stephen Kaziimba representing Archbishop Stanley Ntagali (Uganda)
- Archbishop Henri Isingoma (Congo)
- Archbishop Foley Beach (ACNA)
- Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje (Rwanda)
- Archbishop Stephen Than (Myanmar)
- Bishop John Chew, Global South Steering Committee member, Singapore
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