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Global South meeting issues communique

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    Global South meeting issues communiqué By Matthew Davies Friday, September 22, 2006 [Episcopal News Service] A meeting of Global South Primates, held
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 23, 2006
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      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
      in Tanzania.

      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
      our deliberations."

      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
      critical time."

      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
      entire Communion."

      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
      mutual accountability."

      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
      News Service.
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