Global South meeting issues communiqué
By Matthew Davies
Friday, September 22, 2006
[Episcopal News Service] A meeting of Global South Primates, held
September 19-22 in Kigali, Rwanda, has issued a communiqué criticizing
the 75th General Convention's response to the Windsor Report and
announcing that "some of us will not be able to recognize" the
Episcopal Church's next Presiding Bishop "as a Primate at the table
with us" at the next Anglican Primates' Meeting, set for February 2007
The communiqué -- which expresses regret that the Convention "gave no
clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report" --
is available in full online at:
The communiqué stated that 20 of the Anglican Communion's 38 Provinces
were represented at the Rwanda meeting, but signatories among the
Primates in attendance were not included with the statement. It is
unclear how many, or which, Primates endorsed the communiqué.
According to the communiqué, the 20 provinces represented were:
Bangladesh**, Burundi, Central Africa, Church of South India, Congo,
Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria,
Philippines**, Rwanda, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Southern
Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, West Indies (** not
present but represented).
The Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop-elect, Katharine Jefferts
Schori, will become the first woman to lead an Anglican Province when
she formally takes office on November 4.
The communiqué asserts that she "cannot represent those dioceses and
congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion" and
proposes that another bishop, "chosen by these dioceses, be present at
the [Primates'] Meeting so that we might listen to their voices during
In a June 19 statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan
Williams, sent his greetings to Jefferts Schori offering his "prayers
and good wishes as she takes up a deeply demanding position at a
He noted that she will bring "many intellectual and pastoral gifts to
her new work," and acknowledged, with gratitude, "the strength of her
commitment to mission and to the Millennium Development Goals," but
also recognized that her election would have "an impact on the
collegial life of the Anglican Primates."
The Global South Steering Committee is chaired by Archbishop Peter J.
Akinola of Nigeria, a leading critic of recent actions taken by
Anglican Provinces that affirm and uphold the full inclusion of gay
and lesbian people in the life of the Church.
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Primate of the Church of the Province
of Southern Africa, who attended the Kigali meeting, has been at the
forefront of issues of peace, justice and reconciliation throughout
the Anglican Communion and has repeatedly delivered a message of "open
and loving support for our gay and lesbian members."
The Kigali statement says that Jefferts Schori's position on human
sexuality is in "direct contradiction of Lambeth 1.10 [resolution of
the 1998 Lambeth Conference] and the historic teaching of the Church."
On the day of her election, Jefferts Schori said: "I believe that God
welcomes all to his table, those who agree and those who disagree. The
Episcopal Church always has been a strong voice for including a
variety of opinions; the marginalized are welcomed at the table."
Referring to the response of the 75th General Convention to the
recommendations set forth in the Windsor Report, the communiqué stated
that "the actions and decisions of the General Convention raise
profound questions on the nature of Anglican identity across the
General Convention responded with six resolutions that commit to
interdependence within the Anglican Communion, express regret for
straining the bonds of affection, affirm pastoral care, and urge
restraint in consecrating bishops "whose manner of life presents a
challenge to the wider church."
The Anglican Communion Listening Process and the development of an
Anglican Covenant also received support in both Houses of Convention.
The Kigali communiqué noted the development of an Anglican Covenant,
one of the recommendations of the Windsor Report, as a "sign of
promise" and affirmed "the extraordinary progress made by the Global
South task group" in the Covenant's development.
"We believe," the communiqué noted, "that an Anglican Covenant will
demonstrate to the world that it is possible to be a truly global
communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith
and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and
The communiqué acknowledged that a growing number of congregations are
receiving alternative oversight from bishops in other provinces --
arrangements that are in contravention of the Windsor Report and the
canons and constitution of the Episcopal Church -- and that "in recent
days we have received requests to provide Alternative Primatial
Oversight for a number of dioceses."
In light of this "unprecedented situation in our Communion that has
not been helped by the slow response from the Panel of Reference," the
communiqué said: "We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to
meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative
Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Network and the 'Windsor Dioceses,' to investigate
their appeal in greater detail and to develop a proposal identifying
the ways by which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately
The Network refers to the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and
Parishes (NACDAP) led by Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan and composed
of 10 of the Episcopal Church's total 110 dioceses.
A group of Episcopal bishops with differing perspectives, who met with
Anglican Communion Secretary General Kenneth Kearon in New York
September 11-13, was unable to reach an agreement on how to meet the
needs of those dioceses that have asked for oversight with a Primate
other than the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
The constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Anglican
Communion's main policy-making body, makes no provisions for
alternative primatial oversight. Neither do the Constitution and
Canons of the Episcopal Church.
The communiqué also said that "the time has now come to take initial
steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate
ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA,"
however, the Archbishop of Canterbury continues to recognize the
Episcopal Church as the U.S.-based Province of the Anglican Communion.
The meeting asked the Global South Steering Committee "to develop such
a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity
of the Communion," according to the communiqué.
The communiqué affirmed a commitment by the Primates "not to abandon
the poor or the persecuted wherever they may be and in whatever
circumstances," such as the Rwanda genocide that claimed almost 1
million lives 12 years ago.
It also acknowledged the "agonizing situation in the Sudan,"
commending the terms of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement
between the North and the South, but vowing not to ignore the
continuing atrocities in Darfur. "We invite people from all of the
Provinces of the Anglican Communion and the entire international
community to stand in solidarity with the men, women and children in
Darfur, Sudan," the communiqué stated.
Positive developments in Burundi were also noted, as were encouraging
signs that an end to the conflict in Northern Uganda was in sight and
that the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
offer "promise for a peaceful future."
The communiqué recognized the challenges between Christianity and
Islam "and the complex issues that we must now confront at every level
of our societies throughout the Global South. We recognized the need
for a more thorough education and explored a number of ways that allow
us to be faithful disciples to Jesus Christ while respecting the
beliefs of others. We condemn all acts of violence in the name of any
The group -- which claims to represent more than 70 percent of the
active membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- recommits
itself "to the abiding truth of the Holy Scriptures and the faithful
proclamation of the whole Gospel for the whole world," but also "to
the vision of our beloved Communion as part of the One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church."
-- Matthew Davies is international correspondent for the Episcopal