Dr. Ronald Caldwell wrote to Lambeth Palace to clarify the meaning of the visit by Bishop Zavala to South Carolina. He asked about the Press Release from the South Carolina independent diocese.
On May 20, 2015, Bishop Hector Zavala (Bishop of Chile and primate of the Anglican Church of South America) visited the independent diocese of South Carolina to assure the followers of Mark Lawrence they are “part” of the Anglican Communion. On May 22, the diocese issued a news release quoting Zavala: “I’m here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury.” The release went on: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was with the Global South Primates ‘Steering Committee’ in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when ‘we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Anglican Communion’ said Zavala.”
Caldwell received a reply from Lambeth Palace granting permission to share the following publicly:
A Lambeth Palace spokesman said:”The Global South Primates Steering Committee announced in 2014 the establishment of Primatial Oversight for the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, which had seceded from the Episcopal Church, in order to keep the diocese within the Anglican Communion. The steering committee informed Archbishop Justin of their decision when he joined them for the final day of their meeting in Cairo.
“Archbishop Justin has since had discussions about how the arrangements will work, exploring the exercising of pastoral, not episcopal oversight by Bishop Zavala. Archbishop Justin has discussed these developments with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori.”
The operative phrase here is: “pastoral, not episcopal oversight by Bishop Zavala.”
Thus the Archbishop’s office has clarified several points:
1-The DSC claim that the Archbishop of Canterbury was “with” the Global South primates’ steering committee when they decided to make the oversight scheme is not true. In fact, the Archbishop arrived only for the end of the meeting (Feb. 15, 2014; Cairo) and was presented a fait accompli of a primatial oversight scheme that had already been drawn up by the primates.
We already knew that the Archbishop had not signed this primatial scheme (released on Feb. 20, 2014).
2-The Archbishop has not approved of any primatial oversight scheme.
3-The Archbishop encouraged “pastoral” oversight only and did so while informing the Episcopal Church’s primate.
4-There is no evidence that the Archbishop “consented” to Zavala’s visit to South Carolina. Zavala did not define what he meant by the word “consent.”
In fact, the Archbishop of Canterbury approved of “pastoral” not primatial oversight for the Diocese of South Carolina. What is the difference between the two? A great deal as it turns out.
Read more here.
Despite the reassurances the Lawrence diocese may wish to give its members, it is a falsehood to say it is “part of the Anglican Communion.”
UPDATE: The Church Times has received a near identical reply from Lambeth Palace.
posted by Ann Fontaine
image from Lambeth Palace web site official photos