Tag Archives: Global South

All Anglicans Together?

I’ve written many times over recent months over the increasing contortions that parts of the Anglican Communion are going through in order to remain Anglican, but exclude another group in the Church that they think aren’t Anglicans. The Global South grouping of Churches within the Anglican Communion has recently had a meeting, which produced a communiqué detailing the results of the meeting. Interestingly the document as a whole is carefully phrased and in a number newspaper reports has been incorrectly described as being backed by all twenty of the provinces represented. As with previous letters it has transpired that the communiqué has not received unanimous support at the meeting, indeed the South African primate has already released a statement distancing himself from the document.

Not surprisingly the document relates back to the same ongoing issue over the actions of the Episcopal Church in the US, specifically the fact that they didn’t boot out Gene Robinson at their recent convention (not that they could). Of course the other issue is that the Episcopal Church also elected Katharine Jefferts Schori as their primate, so another part of the communiqué requests that somebody else be sent to the next primates meeting from the Episcopal Church to represent those parts of the church that don’t agree with her election.

The document also proposes what is effectively a church within a church in the USA having a ‘traditional’ Anglican Church under the umbrella of the Global South provinces, but one that is still within the Anglican Communion. The key part of this proposal being that ‘traditional’ churches in the US will join the traditional church This again goes back to the fact that the traditionalists cannot break with Canterbury because to many to be an Anglican requires being in communion with the Archbishop, and will result in this ludicrous arrangement whereby the two parts of the Episcopal Church will both regard themselves as being in communion with Canterbury, but not with each other. The irony in all of the mud slinging over the Episcopal Church not having responded to the Windsor Report is that another part of the same report explicity speaks against just the sort of meddling in other provinces that the Global South are proposing.

As I’ve said before, the increasing contortions that various groups are going through not to leave are just getting more and more tedious, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the ripples from this are bound to rock the Church of England too – in this case because there will be Churches in the Church of England who will decide to join the ‘traditional’ Anglican Church.

No Win Situation

I haven’t commented for a while on the whole Anglican issue, precisely because I’m finding the whole thing increasingly tedious. However, it was with some interest that I heard the news on Thursday that the Global South Anglican primates had written a letter criticising the Archbishop of Cantebury. The full text of the letter is available on the Global South web site, however it is worth reading this letter too from the Archbishop of Nigeria in response to certain of the signatories trying to disassociate themselves from the document.

The reason I found it interesting, is that just the day before, I’d been reading Father Jake commenting on the question and answer session held at the self same Global South conference that produced the letter.

To be honest, I get the impression after reading the two sides, it seems that Rowan Williams attempt to steer some sort of middle way is not really working. On the one hand you have the Global South picking up on anything that sounds too liberal as an example of how he hasn’t really changed, and yet people on the liberal side of the argument picking up on other points that they consider are leaning too much towards the Global South opinion.

To my mind there is an assumption that it is almost inevitable that the Anglican Communion will split, and we’ll have more of the Global South sending missionaries to the Western Churches, and providing episcopal oversight, for example the bizarre situation with Sandy Millar of Alpha fame being made a Bishop of the Diocese of Uganda, but remaining living in London, or the mission of the Nigerian Anglican Church in the USA. However as I commented more than a year ago I’d be surprised if a full scale split is imminent, as each side is working on the assumption that the other will either be booted out, or leave of their own accord, not on the basis that they will have to leave themselves. Although there are the loud voices in the debate, the majority of the people in the debate still regard themselves as Anglican – and those on the other side of the argument as being the heretics.

Of course I could be totally wrong, and even now a press release is being written. However, in the short to medium term, I think we’re probably heading for some sort of fudge that will please nobody, maybe with bits of the Anglican Communion being in communion with some parts, but not with others. The next big crunch will come when the invitations go out for Lambeth 2008, but even then I half expect that some sort of fiddle to avoid the issue of whether to invite the Bishop of New Hampshire will be found.

However, I do think that without a split, we’re really doomed to more and more of this endless Church politics being played out in the international media, but is ultimately of little interest to the majority of people, especially in the UK.

Update: Looks like Ruth Gledhill of the Times also thinks that this is just another step in the increase in tension, and that the next big crunch will be 2008 too. She also links off to a somewhat more lighthearted take from the Cartoon Church.