UPDATE: See statement below from TEC representatives to ACC
Justin Welby is trying to gather the Primates once again for Fall 2017. No agenda is yet set, the Archbishop has solicited input from his fellow Primates on what they should be talking about instead of setting out a reason to meet in advance.
In the invitation he writes;
“I certainly feel the need to be with you, to share our experience and in prayer and fellowship, to support one another and seek how best we can serve the call to preach the gospel, serve the poor and proclaim the Kingdom of God,” he says.
In the invitation he offered his take on the recent declaration on human sexuality offered by the bishops of the Church of England in the lead-up to the upcoming General Synod where he affirmed as a “key outcome” the recommendation that the Church of England continue to insist that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Though he also noted the church’s need to repent of its homophobia and made clear the need for a better pastoral care of same-sex couples
The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also gave his full-throated support to the bishop’s declaration*;
“I support the Bishops’ declaration that doctrine on marriage should not change – that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between a man and woman. The Anglican Communion position is set out in Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That is our lodestar.
“But it is right that we acknowledge that some of our brothers and sisters do have same-sex attraction and I support the move for a ‘fresh tone’ in the way the issues are debated. Anglicans are called to love all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation. We are committed to welcoming and loving people with same-sex attraction. More than that, we need to fight against homophobia and anything that criminalises LGBTQ people.”
The plain meaning of that declaration is that there is unlikely to be marriage equality in the Church of England anytime soon. Welby, also again, refers to the Primates Lambeth Resolution of 1998 as being some sort of binding agreement on the Communion. This is a stance which many marriage traditionalist often state, but which has no real meaning or standing in the polity of the Communion.
The previous gathering was not intended as a regular “Primates Meeting,” but as some sort of informal gathering though he has since regularly referred to it as an actual Primates Meeting; a view also put forth in this post form ACNS, which also contains an outright “alternative fact” concerning the role and participation of TEC’s representatives at the most recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka. In fact, TEC’s representatives were full and active participants in that meeting.
“The 2016 Primates’ gathering drew worldwide attention. It concluded with a communiqué which set out consequences for the US-based Episcopal Church (TEC) following its decision to change its canon on same-sex marriage. As a result, members of TEC have stepped down from IASCUFO – the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order – and also from the IRAD ecumenical dialogue. Members of TEC participated in ACC-16 in Lusaka, but none voted on issues of doctrine and polity – another stipulation of the Primates’ communiqué.”
UPDATE: Statement from TEC representatives to the Anglican Consultative council regarding their participation in response to the false statement from ACNS referenced above:
Statement from the Episcopal Church’s members of the
Anglican Consultative Council
As the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council, we were dismayed to read in today’s Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) an article that claims we did not vote on matters of doctrine or polity at the most recent meeting of the ACC, known as ACC-16, held in Lusaka, Zambia in April 2016. This report is wrong.
Each of us attended the entire ACC-16 meeting and voted on every resolution that came before the body, including a number that concerned the doctrine and polity of the Anglican Communion. As the duly elected ACC members of a province of the Anglican Communion, this was our responsibility and we fulfilled it.
It could be inferred from today’s ACNS story that we did not fulfill our voting responsibilities at ACC-16 to comply with a communique issued by the primates of the Anglican Communion in January 2016. The communique sought to impose consequences on the Episcopal Church for its adoption of marriage equality at our 2015 General Convention. Such an inference would be incorrect.
At the beginning of ACC-16, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion issued a statement saying that it had “considered the Communiqué from the Primates and affirmed the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities.” After ACC-16 had concluded, six outgoing members of the Standing Committee released a letter reasserting that “ACC16 neither endorsed nor affirmed the consequences contained in the Primates’ Communiqué.”
As members of the Anglican Consultative Council, we thank God for the time we have spent with sisters and brothers in Christ from across the globe, and for the breadth and diversity of our global Anglican family. We are firmly committed to the Episcopal Church’s full participation in the Anglican Communion, and we hope that, in the future, our participation will be reported accurately by the Anglican Communion News Service.
Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine
Ian T. Douglas
Gay Clark Jennings
Episcopal Church members of the 16th Anglican Consultative Council, Lusaka, Zambia
*Correction. Our original post mis-attributed the general secretary’s quote as being from the Archbishop. We regret the error and apologize for any confusion this may have caused.