Update appended adding remarks from ANIC, ACNA’s Canadian subsidiary
ACNA’s leader continues his back and forth with the press offices of the Anglican Communion Office and the Church of England over the extent of his voice and vote participation in the #Primate2016 gathering — gathering, not meeting because ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion. ACNA’s latest press release on the gathering adds that the majority of primates who are members of GAFCON had left before the final communiqué was approved by the primates:
Some have asked whether Archbishop Beach voted to approve the final Communique or the new members of the Standing Committee. Neither he nor a majority of the GAFCON Primates were present for these discussions on Friday. [Emphasis added.]
The press release continues
Although early in the week he joined the other Primates in affirming his desire to walk together, this desire was necessarily contingent upon The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada giving evidence of returning to Biblical and historical Anglican theology and morality (Amos 3:3). On Thursday evening, with the absence of repentance, restored order, and true unity, Archbishop Beach felt it necessary to withdraw from the meeting. [Emphasis added. Hyperlink added.]
In short, the “walking together” didn’t last long. The majority of GAFCON members only voted on the punitive section of the communiqué aimed at The Episcopal Church. (ACNA’s leader has made clear he abstained.) We know this because that punitive section was leaked by an insider, and first appeared at a conservative website (forcing #Primates2016 to confirm and publish that portion of the communiqué). It was later that the full communiqué was issued, revealing that what had been leaked was in addendum to the communiqué (points 7 and 8). The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and others have argued that the work of #Primates2016 was balanced, drawing attention to the other issues discussed beyond sexuality, and to this portion of the communiqué:
The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.
The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression.
What does “the primates condemned” and “the primates recognize” mean if the bulk of the primates from the organization most exercised by the acts of inclusion by the Episcopal Church were not present? By ACNA’s account of the gathering’s timeline, the majority of GAFCON primates can disassociate themselves from those paragraphs without saying they voted against them. Is this what walking together looks like?
Over at Thinking Anglicans, a number of cogent comments have been made. A sample:
So the unanimous agreement was only achieved with some people thinking it depended on things that everyone else thought would never happen, the balanced stuff in the final communique wasn’t agreed by GAFCON and we only had a semblance of any sort of agreement due to very clever timetabling.
I also note that Beach claims that the primates didn’t consider any part of this meeting to formally be a primate’s meeting. One could argue from this that any discussion about whether a primates meeting has the power to censure TEC is now moot; this was an informal chat, not a primates meeting.
Posted by: Leon Clarke on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 at 9:57am GMT
… So actually he is contradicting what the Archbishop of Canterbury said? He is saying that there is no real agreement to walk together? This is extremely sad and surely this is a significant statement and casts considerable doubt around the final communique?
Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 at 10:10am GMT
Who is in the photo, and when was it taken?