Global South Statement

Ouch.

Global South4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:

a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the  agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.

b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.

c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.

5. We appreciate the costly decision of the House of Bishops of the Church of England, as well as the pastoral letter and pastoral guidance of The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Archbishop of York, in regard to the decision of the Westminster Parliament for same-gender marriage. The faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.

Game on.

16 Comments on “Global South Statement

  1. I really want to be hopeful, and I’m grateful for the Global South’s Primates’ statement, but honestly I’m now so cynical about the CofE leadership that I expect all that will happen is another load of wooly minded platitudes about ‘unity’, ‘mutuality’, ‘pastoral discretion’ and ‘human flourishing’.

    Why can’t any of the bishops in the CofE actually speak their mind? I can’t accept at all that any of them are actually happy with the recent statements from the HoB, no matter which side they’re on. I’m increasingly agreeing with the TA crowd that their current position is absolutely toxic for the church – instead of leading they act like rabbits caught in the headlights. The biggest virtue in a bishop seems to be the ability to articulate precisely nothing at all.

    Brothers, am I wrong to feel this frustrated? Am I approaching things the wrong way?

    • I think that your frustrations are well founded. However, the PR perils incurred by the previous primus inter pares who appeared to lurch from one crisis to the next may account for the typical ‘startled rabbit’ countenances within the episcopacy.

      Enter Justin Welby, the CofE’s teflon-coated, kevlar-protected PR Messiah with the midas touch. Okay, that sounded a bit cynical. He deserves praise for highlighting the plight of those drowning in pay day loan repayments and on welfare. Also, instead, of ranting on about the banks, he sensibly proposed credit unions as the way forward. With such a flying start, perhaps they’ve all been told to shut up and nod.

      Nevertheless, what we’re seeing is not paralysis, it’s ecclesiastical arthritis: the church can move alright, but it’s the range of motion that’s severely limited. Instead of a creative personal response appropriate to each situation, they are hidebound by their overwrought over-managed scrutiny of every side of any issue.

      Think any topic (and I mean any topic) and present it to the CofE for a response. Let’s say its the fat content in oven chips.

      The church, of course, must first establish a Working Party headed up by a retired career civil servant, life peer, or bishop. The working party will spend months researching the problem, visiting McCain factories and fast food restaurants up and down the country. Of course, they won’t shy away from talking to consumers of all ages to get a grasp of the facts on the ground. They’ll remember to relay how appalled they were at the working conditions in some of the companies that they visited (possibly prompting Synod to commission yet another study).

      After 15 months of reviewing materials drawn from that listening process, they will compile a 300-page report called: Faith, Fries and Fast Food: Why Britain Starves in its Abundance. Key proposals include vetting all cathedral cafeterias to ensure they only use low-fat oven chips and to support a boycott of any brand found to be procuring their chip fat from those unscrupulous palm oil producers.

      The report will be laid before Synod. On behalf of Synod, both Houses will discharge the Working Party, commending them for completing a task of such exceptional erudition and thoroughness and declaring that what impressed them most were the personal stories of those who struggled with chip binges every day, but had mustered the courage to share their experiences with the group. As usual, the report will be commended to Synod and the wider church for study (if you can bother to download the 3MB pdf).

      As a result of this report, the HoB will establish a ‘Bread of Life’ Fast Food Action Committee, insisting on root-and-branch change throughout the industry, especially to improve the working conditions for the most deprived and tackle the industry’s endemic dependence on palm oil. As a result of stoking the fires of worker discontent, fast food sector will be blighted with industrial action. However, along with other public figures, the Archbishop will appeal for calm,urging all sides in the dispute to return to negotiating table in the spirit of compromise and forgiveness. He will offer to mediate beteen the parties involved.

      So, what’s wrong with this approach? It is the industrialisation and bureaucratisation of the gospel. Unless it involves a photo opportunity, they just don’t see the point of mentoring just a few individuals and leading those by such an example that they would be inspired to lead others.
      Yet, that’s how all great and lasting movements have started, including the one we all claim to follow.

  2. This seems interesting and important – but I don’t know who ‘Global South’ is (of course wikipedia is at hand, but still…), I don’t completely understand why the red paragraph is an ‘ouch’, and I’m not quite sure what ‘game’ is now ‘on’! I am on a C of E learning curve and I would be very interested to hear more from you on this, Peter.

    • Conservatives in the Communion feel that the “Instruments of Unity” have effectively been hijacked by the liberals. This is a clear warning that the Conservatives are going to try and take them back.

      • But if they did – could the CofE remain as the established national church,given that the current uneasy position is the most conservative the CofE felt it could go – largely to keep the Africans et al on board. Or would it lead to a much broader and inevitable split of the entire Communion? Because if the CofE was no longer in a prominent position in the Communion, it would have no need to appease the conservatives, and the importance of England ‘holding the Communion together’ would have disappeared

          • It really might be best for everyone long term. There simply isn’t going to be agreement, and I get the impression that people in general – those not actually involved – are starting to switch off from the whole thing. When all the church appear to talk about is women and gays, and that is how it appears, its not really surprising if people think they are the issues they really care about. If there was an amicable divide it might strengthen the two groups who could then present their vision

  3. This Primatial Oversight Council might be a rough & ready solution to the Church of England’s woes.

    The CofE follows the Episcopal Church in affirming gay people’s relationships, and dissenting parishes get “alternative oversight” from the Global South. Some kind of timeshare deal is fixed on the cathedrals.

    How about it?

  4. While I have some concerns about this group and their attempt to usurp some authority over Communion affairs, picking up on proposals long since abandoned, the name missing from the communique is not the Primate of Nigeria (significant as that is), but the Primate of All England.

    The ecclesial deficit is the absence of all the other Primates names from this PR stunt.

    Welby must be careful not to get sucked into this a Rowan was, it will undo him. The ACNA really must stop manipulating and sowing discord.

    • Ah yes the dastardly Acna – I thought it was the TEC and their friends over at TA that were rocking the boat, no? You can’t demand a change in doctrine then call those who want to continue in orthodoxy ‘manipulators’ and ‘sowers of discord’

      • I have no problem with those who think the Church has moved in a direction they cannot support, leaving and constituting a new community.
        I have priest friends in the ACNA, as I have in the Ordinariate (all of them gay as it happens), I respect their choice and they respect those who have chosen to remain.
        Some do not rest this easily.
        I am sorry for it, and I was just expressing a wish that those who are unsettled might take a different path.

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