In an address to the General Body of the Church in Wales, the general secretary of the Anglican Communion Office, the Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon said,
There are differences and there will always be differences [in the Anglican Communion]. We must learn, not only to understand, but to respect our differences. I want us to go back to the Anglican understanding and theology of the Church. We have lost it by not talking enough about it.
The problem I see in the Anglican Communion today is that those on the right and on the left want to impose on those in the centre. But those on the right and those on the left must learn to live together with a good understanding of our differences.
Read more in Highlights of the General Body of the Church in Wales September 2015, page 5 [PDF].
The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a “gathering” of the Primates. The Presiding Bishop-elect of The Episcopal Church has accepted the invitation. Primates in GAFCON have reiterated that they will not attend a “meeting” of the Primates in which the heads of the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church are present.
The Church of England Newspaper has Gafcon unconvinced by plans for Primates’ Gathering:
Sources say that Archbishop Welby reached out to the Global South group, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of the Middle East, Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, Bolly Lapok of SE Asia, Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi — to help get this off the ground. They are said to have come on board before the invitation was issued publicly. It is their understanding the first order of business will be a discussion of what to do about the [American] Episcopal Church. …
Gafcon and ACNA people have told us they find it highly significant that the invitation is for a gathering of Primates. In other words this is not being called a Primates’ Meeting (one of the instruments of unity) but is something else. This is very important because some Churches cannot attend meetings of the instruments of communion if the Episcopal Church will be in attendance, according to decisions taken by their Churches. However, they can attend gatherings – for example, the Archbishop of Nigeria attended the installation of Justin Welby and participated in the informal gathering of primates that followed — but he would not attend a “Primates’ Meeting”.
Idowu-Fearon in his address to the Church in Wales drew on the ecclesiology of Robert Hooker. As reported in Church Times (gated):
Early Anglican theologians, he said, such as Richard Hooker, spoke of the visible Church, and the invisible Church. “To summarise: in the visible Church, to which we all belong, . . . there will always be
liars. There will always be hypocrites. And only God can decide who is in the invisible Church.
“What I hear, what I see within our Communion today, is that, even within the visible Church, we are beginning to decide who is qualified to be in the invisible Church. Anglicans must look back to our ecclesiology for the theology of the Church.”
Photo credit Church in Wales