Archbishop of Indian Ocean seconds Anis and Orombi

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The Most Revd Ian Ernest, G.O.S.K, Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking for a Primates meeting which excludes the Primates of The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada, suspending communion with all except bishops who have publicly disavowed TEC and ACoC actions, and calling for a restructure of the Anglican Communion with the Primates in charge.

I believe that I have been patient and hopeful that our co-operation and listening, our reasoning and brotherly concern would have brought transformation. However it is now abundantly clear to me and to my people that the Episcopal Church has no intention of honouring any of the commitments it has made whether that be in terms of ‘moratoriums’ or ‘gracious restraint’. It is to my mind hell bent on a course that is in radical disobedience to the counsels of God in Holy Scripture.

Consequently, I feel constrained by my conscience to uphold my duty as shepherd of the flock and to forthwith suspend all communication both verbal and sacramental with both the TEC and the ACC – their Primates, bishops and clergy until such time as they reverse their theological innovations, and show a commitment to abide by the decisions of the Lambeth Conference. This suspension of communion would not include those bishops and clergy who have distanced themselves from the direction of the TEC (such as the Communion Partners group)

Both of them in their recent communications with you have expressed their disquiet at the way in which the teaching and leadership role of the Primates in matters of faith and order has been effectively subverted. I want to agree with them and with their call for an overhaul of the structures of the Communion to bring them into line with the changed demographics which are the reality of our church today.

UPDATE on conservative primates council elections and meeting in Bermuda here and on Abp Ernest’s letter here

read it all below:

The Archbishop of Canterbury

The Most Revd Rowan Williams,

Lambeth Palace,

England.

Your Grace,

As you well know I am totally committed to the health, vitality and effectiveness of our beloved Anglican Communion, and thus also to its healing from the current crisis. I have supported all efforts made by yourself and others to do so and to bring greater clarity and strength to our polity and mission as a communion.

As Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean and the Chair person of CAPA, I feel that I should express the heartfelt feelings of the people of God who are extremely distressed at the disrespectful and high handed manner in which the TEC continues to dismiss the concerns of the rest of the Communion and to undermine the decisions taken by the Primates.

I believe that I have been patient and hopeful that our co-operation and listening, our reasoning and brotherly concern would have brought transformation. However it is now abundantly clear to me and to my people that the Episcopal Church has no intention of honouring any of the commitments it has made whether that be in terms of ‘moratoriums’ or ‘gracious restraint’. It is to my mind hell bent on a course that is in radical disobedience to the counsels of God in Holy Scripture.

You have yourself been amazingly patient with TEC, we as Primates have made our position abundantly clear on occasions without number, some of us going so far as to declare broken or impaired communion with both the TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. This it seems has been to no avail, as the recent letter to the Primates from the Presiding Bishop of TEC makes clear that a deliberate course has been irrevocably chosen by that church. In it is stated that the intention to proceed with the consecration of a second person living in an actively homosexual partnered relationship and thereby to disregard the mind of the rest of the Communion is “…not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church.”

Consequently, I feel constrained by my conscience to uphold my duty as shepherd of the flock and to forthwith suspend all communication both verbal and sacramental with both the TEC and the ACC – their Primates, bishops and clergy until such time as they reverse their theological innovations, and show a commitment to abide by the decisions of the Lambeth Conference. This suspension of communion would not include those bishops and clergy who have distanced themselves from the direction of the TEC (such as the Communion Partners group)

Both Archbishops Mouneer Anis and Henry Orombi are to be admired for the way in which they have taken a stand and I am proud to associate myself fully with the sentiments they express. Both of them in their recent communications with you have expressed their disquiet at the way in which the teaching and leadership role of the Primates in matters of faith and order has been effectively subverted. I want to agree with them and with their call for an overhaul of the structures of the Communion to bring them into line with the changed demographics which are the reality of our church today. If over 80% of Anglicans live in the global south, why is this not reflected in communion structures? Further attention needs to be given to the adoption of the Anglican Covenant which would bring the communion back to its true calling. However the matter of credibility of the structures which are meant to oversee the process needs to be addressed.

I also support Archbishop Henry’s call for a Primates meeting. I also will only attend this meeting on condition that we as Primates be consulted first before the agenda is finalised, and on condition that the Primates of TEC and the ACC are not present.

I urge you to consider seriously our request. The failure to take prompt and decisive action at this time will only see the Communion falling into deeper chaos and disintegration.

With the assurance of my brotherly affection and prayers.

Yours at His Service

The Most Revd Ian Ernest, G.O.S.K

Bishop of Mauritius & Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean

12 April 2010

Source: Canon Dave Doveton, Canon theologian to the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius

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3 Responses to "Archbishop of Indian Ocean seconds Anis and Orombi"
  1. I continue to find it ironic that "gracious restraint" only seems to be a one-way street. I believe TEC has exercised substantial gracious restraint even when going ahead with the confirmation of the election and confirmation of Canon Glasspool. The diocese engaged in a careful process of discernment. The standing committees and the bishops considered the election carefully and prayerfully. There was no intent to inflame, agitate or condemn others in that process.

    What however is "gracious" and "restrained" about the actions of our primates in the Southern Cone and Africa? Their inflammatory rhetoric is anything but gracious and restrained.

    That these primates feel that they have "listened" is a singular joke. "Listening" means "listen to us, and do what WE say, OR ELSE!"

    Having failed to have TEC and ACC "executed" forthwith through the "instruments" of communion, the conservative primates council now opines, "Indeed we believe that the current structures have lost integrity and relevance … The Anglican Communion will only be able to fulfill its gospel mandate if it understands itself to be a community gathered around a confession of faith rather than an organization that has its primary focus on institutional loyalty."

    Having failed to manipulate the concept of Anglican unity and communion to enact their reactionary agenda, they trample the instruments of unity that they claimed so strongly to uphold, revealing that Anglican unity was only a tool for achieving their own ends, not something to be valued in and of itself.

    What's next, a new council to anathematize the heretics and "define" orthodoxy to their liking (making us what we have never been, a "confessional" church)? How very Anglican! (heavy sarcasm intended).

    If "gracious restraint" is over, perhaps we as TEC and ACC need to speak more strongly against these un-Anglican conservatives with a bolder and more prophetic voice. Maybe it's time for some "how about the LOG in your own eye?" kind of talk. I am beginning to tire of being "guilted" into feeling that we are what is destroying the Anglican communion and that we are the "racist, imperialist, evil, liberal West." TEC has not refused communion, conversation or hospitality to anyone who has wished to stay in conversation/communion/hospitality. I fear that our conservative global brethren have forgotten the lessons of Bloody Mary, Cromwell and the Elizabethan compromise and are ready for another religious bloodbath.

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  2. Nothing NEW here, not really, it´s just a tired and old approach at mangling the friendships, fellowship, and good-will at the Anglican Communion because this gentlemen hates LGBT people and finds us abominable (and all that Selective Scriptural illread razzamatazz.

    To me it´s almost embarassing that these looselipped ship sinking fellas have the nerve to blatantly attempt to exclude others at Gods Communion rail and at all levels of Christian service and life...this hatefilled and shameful beat goes on and on and it makes me wonder if these ¨complaints to the Archbishop of Canterbury¨ weren´t arranged to be put forward into the Public Forum by those inside and those outside looking in Lambeth Palace (why all the great grandstanding and drama just to restate that LGBT Anglicans are second rate?)...there is nothing here but another nasty publicity stunt (as was Orombi and Egypts demands)...grandstanding, excluding and hate-mongering is what angry DESPOTS do best at OUR beloved ¨Anglican Communion¨...someone removed the WE in their prayer, as in ALL Anglican everywhere...it´s all about THEM (and their accomplices)in this latest contemptable/discriminating letter of ugly demands. It takes little imagination to understand why all of THEIR Province countries are in spiritual chaos and civil unrest...the blood is flowing and they prefer to look a way.

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  3. It's sad to read this statement. Bp. Ernest always sounded conciliatory to me and while I can understand (but respectfully disagree with) his arguments regarding "gracious restraint for the sake of unity", I don't understand when he says that [TEC is in] "radical disobedience to the counsels of God in Holy Scripture."

    Of course the consents to Bishop-Elect Glasspool's consecration might be seen as demonic by many people around the world, who never really had any contact with inclusive theologies and who live in societies where sexual minorities are treated with severe punishments and have to hide to avoid them. However, Bp. Ernest is a former EDS scholar. Surely he had the opportunity of being exposed to a wide variety of theological and biblical viewpoints on several issues, including this one.

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