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LAMBETH PALACE: Primates Issue Communique

LAMBETH PALACE: Primates Issue Communique

March 31, 2022

1. We, the Primates of the Anglican Communion, met at Lambeth Palace in
London, from 28 to 31 March 2022, at the invitation of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, and his
wife Mrs Caroline Welby. We extend our gratitude to Archbishop and Mrs
Welby for their warm welcome into their home.

2. As Primates in the Anglican Communion, our primary calling is to follow
Jesus' command to the church to "go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).

3. This meeting was our first opportunity to gather in-person since the
Primates' Meeting in Jordan in January 2020. We have benefited from
meeting online twice since then, but we wish to express how wonderful it is
to be able to meet, once again, face to face.

4. We deeply regret that, because of the continuing effects of Covid in parts of
the world, some of our number could not gather in person. We are
particularly aware of the situation in the Province of Melanesia, where
Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands are experiencing, for the first time, a
severe outbreak of Covid. We pray for them and all who have suffered and
who continue to suffer or grieve as a result of the pandemic.

5. We are thankful that many primates who could not join in person were
able to join the meeting online for our business sessions. We look forward
to the time when we can all gather safely.

6. We continue to lament the absence from our meetings of three primates
who choose to stay away. Our reflections, deliberations and fellowship are
diminished by their absence. We miss them and their prayerful wisdom,
and we long for the time when we will all meet together.

7. The prime purpose of our meeting was to pray and reflect together on our
identity in Christ in an attitude of pilgrimage. The Archbishop of
Canterbury offered us biblical reflections on leadership from John's Gospel
and we reflected on the capacity and ability of our global Communion,
working together, to meet the many challenges facing the world at this

8. Our Bible studies on 1 Peter helped us to prepare for the Lambeth
Conference, which will take place in Canterbury in July and August this
year. We were given a presentation outlining the programme for the
Conference. After a two-year delay due to Covid restrictions, we are excited
about gathering together in person with more than 700 other bishops of the
Anglican Communion for prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and
encouragement. Our hope and prayer is that our time in Canterbury will
produce fruit that will enable the Anglican Communion to live as "God's
church for God's world".

9. We were conscious that, as we gathered in London, many people in the
world are in a time of turmoil. We are particularly aware of the
humanitarian crisis and other catastrophic effects of Russia's invasion of
Ukraine. We call for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Ukraine. We know, from our experience in the different parts
of the world we are from, that conflict causes lasting damage. The longer a
war goes on, the longer it takes to heal shattered relationships and bring
about reconciliation.

10. We are also aware of conflicts in many other parts of the world, including
Afghanistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Mali, Congo, the Holy Land,
Myanmar, Bangladesh, Central America, and South Sudan, and many
others; and terrorism in Mozambique. These have forced many people to
flee their homes. We recognise the plight of refugees, migrants, and
displaced people around the world as one of the major tragedies of our
time. We pray for peace and urge those with the ability to do so to bring
about justice, sanctuary, and reconciliation.

11. We are also aware of the worsening disaster of climate change and its
effects on millions of people around the world -- not least the thousands of
people in Madagascar and Mozambique, where four cyclones in two
months have resulted in thousands of people being made homeless, and
infrastructures and crops destroyed. Environmental damage affects the
most vulnerable people in the world, including indigenous peoples who are
affected by the exploitation of forests and others natural resources. We
urge an end to the destruction of the Amazon from mining and logging.

12. During our meeting, we discussed proposals from the Church of England
for greater Anglican Communion involvement in the choice of future
Archbishops of Canterbury, and the large majority of the primates were
generally supportive of the direction of travel.

13. As we gathered we were able to talk and hear about the burdens we each
face in our provinces and home regions.

14. We reiterate that the Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria, spread
across 10 countries in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, is a full member
Church of the Anglican Communion. The Diocese of Egypt is an integral
constituent part of this Church. We stand with Archbishop Samy Fawzy
Shehata and support him and the Diocese of Egypt in their efforts to
maintain the legal recognition in Egypt of the Episcopal / Anglican Province
of Alexandria.

15. We are concerned by the unilateral decision to construct the Grand
Ethiopian Dam and the potential for water shortage in Egypt and Sudan
that may result from it. We strongly believe the Blue Nile is God's gift to the
countries through which it flows and should therefore be a reason for
cooperation between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to achieve sustainable
development. We wish to appeal to the three countries to resume, with
good will, their negotiations immediately to ensure a fair distribution of the
water of the Blue Nile.

16. We are also concerned at the continuing misuse of blasphemy laws in
Pakistan to unfairly target religious minorities, including Christians. The
laws are being used to defend malicious prosecutions, beatings, and the
forced conversion and "marriages" of young girls. We appeal to the
government of Pakistan to bring about legislative change to outlaw these

17. We are concerned by the increasing use of "fake news" and false reporting.
Such practices have a dangerous impact on democratic processes and can
be used to defend unjust wars and conflicts. We call on everyone --
especially politicians, campaigners and all Christian people -- to reflect on
the commandment not to bear false witness and to adopt this
commandment when making public statements.

18. The post-covid and war-generated rise in prices of basic necessities is a
great concern for the primates in its impact for the poor. We are alarmed
by increasing levels of hunger in the world. Eating is a human right and it
is a Christian duty to ensure that all are fed. We call on governments and
civil society organisations around the world to prioritise food security and
distribution to ensure that all have access to food. The need is urgent.
Hungry people can't wait.

19. At our last in-person meeting, we had the privilege of visiting the Holy
Land Institute for the Deaf in Jordan and were inspired by the work of the
staff there. We are grateful for the gracious hospitality of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan, the Episcopal Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

20. We were deeply disappointed not to meet in Rome, but we leave London
refreshed and spiritually renewed, thankful for the opportunity to connect
again with each other. As we return to our home Churches, we do so
knowing that we will gather again, soon, with our brother and sister
bishops at the Lambeth Conference. We encourage all bishops in the
Anglican Communion to attend this important gathering.

21. We are very grateful to the staff from the Anglican Communion Office and
Lambeth Palace who provided practical support to our meeting; and to the
Community of St Anselm and the Chemin Neuf Community who
surrounded us with prayer.

22. We return to our Churches and dioceses conscious of the calling that is
given to us by God, through Jesus Christ, and of our need for grace. We
have reflected on the servant leadership of Christ and our own roles as
shepherds of his flock, and on St Peter's exhortation to "tend the flock of
God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion
but willingly, as God would have you do it" (1 Peter 5.2).


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