Photo: Michael Adel, Bridges Cultural Center
Delegates from sixteen Anglican Provinces were present along with Anglican leaders from Bangladesh, the United States, Canada, England and Australia.
The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomed the Primates while a number of prominent ecumenical guests attended the opening service in All Saints Cathedral.
The Primates were pleased with the steps being taken toward the formation of the new Province in Chile and the forthcoming inauguration of the Province of Sudan.
In a detailed 33-point Communiqué they stated, “We recall with joy the many ways that God has revived our Churches through his light-shedding holy Word and fresh anointing of his Spirit. He makes us able to take up responsibilities and initiatives for mission. He uses us to contend together in the face of false teaching for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).”
The delegates were reminded of suffering in the Church, particularly in North Africa. “Carthage calls us as Anglicans to focus on the cost of discipleship and to live faithfully and uncomfortably for Christ in a world dislocated from God.”
They aim to “pursue unity amongst the doctrinally orthodox” and to that end “will continue to extend our support and fellowship to orthodox Anglican dioceses and parishes in those Provinces which have departed from the biblical and historic teaching on human sexuality and marriage.”
Their Communiqué regretted the “powerful post-modern values and revisionist approaches that are creeping into the Church in the present time.” It continued:
“Authorisation of liturgies and making pastoral provisions for blessing of civil unions of same-sex couples and blessing or solemnising of same-sex marriage are clear departures from the historic understanding of Anglican faith and order. On the same basis, the consecration of bishops, ordination of priests and making of deacons who live in same-sex union makes a fundamental break from the teaching on marriage in our Anglican heritage. Churches that condone these practices are severing themselves from their own spiritual roots…. By departing from the historic faith and order of God’s people, they also undermine their moral witness to their own societies, and cause huge confusion among the Anglican faithful in our Churches in this globalising world.”
The Global South Primates were critical of the ineffectiveness of the four instruments of Communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates’ Meeting, the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Committee, arguing that they have failed “to discipline those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith.”
“To make matters worse, the instruments have failed to check the marginalisation of Anglicans in heterodox Provinces who are faithful, and in some cases have even sanctioned or deposed them. The instruments have also sent conflicting signals on issues of discipline which confuse the whole Body and weaken our confidence in them.” Such instruments are unable “to sustain the common life and unity of the Anglican Churches worldwide….This undermines the mission of the Church in today’s world.”
The Communiqué concluded that “We are deeply saddened that the Provinces of Scotland, Canada and Wales have recently made moves to change their Canon [Church law], teaching and practice in relation to same-sex unions. These have been done against the Primates’ Gathering Communiqué of 16th January 2016 (Addendum A, paragraph 2).”
They also noted that decisions the Church of England (COE) makes “on fundamental matters impact the Communion more deeply than those made elsewhere. This is both because of its historical role and the particular role of Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equal amongst the Primates. We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same-sex unions by COE. This would have serious implications for us should it occur.”
The Global South Primates also elected a new steering committee. Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) was reelected as the Chairman, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria) was reelected as Vice Chairman, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali (Uganda) was elected as Secretary, Archbishop Ng Moon Hing (Southeast Asia) as Treasurer Along with five other members: Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo (Myanmar), Archbishop Tito Zavala (Southern America), Archbishop Masimango Zacharie Katanda (Congo), Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyaboho (Burundi) and Archbishop Foley Beach (North America).
The Global South Primates first met in Limuru, Kenya in 1994. TAP