The Archbishop of Canterbury will attend the inauguration of the Province of Chile as Anglicanism’s 40th province on Nov. 4.
He will join a celebration in the capital, Santiago. The Rt. Rev. Héctor (Tito) Zavala Muñoz will become the province’s first primate.
“The birth of a new province of the Anglican Communion is a moment to rejoice and give thanks and praise to God,” Archbishop Welby said.
He said the new province “is a young, vibrant, Spirit-filled church that has seen huge growth. It is leading people to Christ in Chile and living out his call to serve others. We marvel and delight in the ways that God’s love is being seen through the creativity, passion, and faithfulness of Chilean Anglicans. In all this, we give thanks for the visionary leadership of Archbishop Tito.”
Anglicanism in Chile grew out of the work of the South American Missionary Society (SAMS) and during early years the focus of its work was mainly on indigenous groups. In the 1970s and 1980s there was a shift deliberate shift of emphasis to work in major cities and Spanish speakers.
That led to rapid expansion and new dioceses, paving the way to a province. Another important factor was strengthening of the Anglican church’s institutional spine through robust theological education. Here Chile has benefitted from links with Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia.
The Durham-based researcher David Goodhew has written that South American Anglicanism “has a distinct identity and trajectory” because it did not experience direct colonial rule by Britain.
It “has had to carve out an identity in an ecclesial landscape of Roman Catholicism and a burgeoning Pentecostalism,” Goodhew said. “Within this context, it offers a new version of the via media, which incorporates aspects of Roman Catholic and Pentecostal traditions, but in ways that are distinct from both.”