Anglican Mainstream Statement on the Outcome of the Primates' Meeting at Dar es Salaam
We thank God for this unanimous Communique.
We agree with Archbishop Orombi's assessment that this Primates' meeting has not solved the current crisis in the Anglican Communion but has 'clarified the steps needed for trust to be restored, healing to take place, and for our full bonds of affection to once again flourish'.
We welcome, in particular,
* the clear teaching on issues of marriage and sexuality [paragraph 11], based on Holy Scripture and set out in Lambeth 1:10.
* the clear evaluation that ECUSA/TEC has departed from that clear standard of teaching [paragraph 17] and that the General Convention's response to the Windsor Report was inadequate.
* the clear conclusion that ECUSA/TEC's relationships with the Communion have yet to be mended [paragraph 24].
* that the need for urgency is recognised (paragraphs 31-33 and Key Recommendations) and that a clear deadline for a satisfactory response from the Episcopal Church has been set.
* the clear commitment of the Archbishops from the Global South to stand by their promise not to abandon orthodox congregations in TEC/ECUSA until there is truly a safe and Biblically faithful ecclesial entity in America.
* the appeal for TEC to 'suspend all actions in law' with regard to property disputes.
We note that
· the Communion remains broken and divided and the Communique does not solve the current crisis but sets out the first steps which have still to be taken to achieve reconciliation.
· the Episcopal Church has been asked for reassurances. The response requested from the Episcopal Church needs to be expressed in clear and unambiguous language.
Other Churches are similarly placed (paragraph 36) as Archbishop Hutchinson has made clear.
We are concerned that
· the area of reassurance sought from the Episcopal Church should not be interpreted too narrowly. The stated beliefs of the Presiding Bishop regarding Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, radical liturgical revision that affects belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, other related resolutions at General Convention such as support for gay marriage and the actions of the Episcopal Church mean that the focus should not be placed too narrowly on precise words, but on the spirit and actions that those words represent.
· there are references in the Communique to 'consensus' and 'majority'. Christian faith and practice are rooted in biblical teaching and the Church's understanding, since its earliest days, of this biblical teaching. 'Consensus' and 'majority' describe modes of agreement. They cannot be definitive terms for expressing the faith once delivered to the saints, nor for expressing the mind of the Anglican Communion and its commitment to that faith.
· the process to date has been marked by delays and prevarication. Although a deadline for the Episcopal Church's response has been set, the process for assessing that response is not stated and the consequences if it is judged to have fallen short of what is required are not clearly specified.
· in all dioceses arrangements should continue to be made for ministry to homosexual persons, including their care and support, that is scripturally based and pastorally sensitive. To this end Anglican Mainstream is sponsoring with others a two-day conference later this year to contribute to the Listening Process.
· continued support for biblically orthodox, faithful Anglican congregations, clergy and dioceses in North America (both within and outside TEC), Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa and the British Isles, who continue to face irregular action by bishops, for example in ordaining active homosexual persons, failing to exercise proper discipline and, in some cases, harassing orthodox churches and ministry.
· to pray for all the Archbishops as they lead the Communion and exercise their calling to pastor and lead Christ's flock, as we seek to fulfil the Great Commission to proclaim His Gospel and build His Kingdom.
· to pray particularly for Archbishop Rowan Williams in his immensely difficult tasks in leadership of a Communion whose fabric has been torn at the deepest level.
Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary
For Anglican Mainstream
On the Mainline
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