Decisions vs. Statements

André Forget writes in Anglican Journal:

A number of primates within the Anglican Communion are pushing for a Primates’ Meeting agenda that “reflects not only concerns within the domestic life of the church, but around the urgent issues within our common humanity,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Returning from his December 9 meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Hiltz said he was informed by Welby that this particular call “is not coming from just certain parts of the Communion — it’s coming from every part of the Communion.”

… The Primates’ Meeting “is not a decision-making body — it’s a body for people that come together to pray and discuss and discern and offer some guidance. We don’t make resolutions,” Hiltz said.

While the Primates’ Meeting does not vote on resolutions, it issues statements, letters to churches, and working documents.

Five statements from the Primates’ Meeting of 2011 made direct statements about what the leaders urged for governments and member churches:

Statement on Climate Change
We press Government, industry and civil society on the moral imperative of taking practical steps towards building sustainable communities, and urge them to work to achieve agreement on the way forward at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) in Durban in November.

Statement on David Kato
We reiterate that ‘the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us’ (Primates Meeting 2005).

We reaffirm that ‘any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care’ (The Windsor Report).

Letter to Churches on Gender-Based Violence
As individual Primates we are committed, in each of our Provinces, to raise the profile of Millennium Development Goal 3 (‘Promote gender equality and empower women’); to affirm and pray for God’s blessing on initiatives already in place in our dioceses and parishes in response to violence against women and girls; to gather other church and faith leaders together to discern what we might say and do together; and to attend to the training of clergy and pastors so that they are aware of the nature and dynamics of gendered violence and how certain attitudes and behaviours can be challenged and transformed.

Statement on Haiti
We stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti as they continue to suffer the effects of a disaster that overtook them over a year ago.

We are dismayed by the lack of progress in rebuilding the nation and urge the governments who promised aid to deliver on those promises.

Statement on Zimbabwe
We believe that the appalling situation experienced by members of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe seriously infringes their right to justice, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and personal security under the law guaranteed by the constitution of Zimbabwe and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. Therefore, we respectfully beseech you to use all the power and authority of your office to put an end to these abuses forthwith. We are convinced that the unmerited, unjust, and unlawful persecution of the members of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe damages further the good name and reputation of the Republic of Zimbabwe and results in untold and unnecessary additional suffering for many thousands of people.


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