Revealed: conservative plans to set up global network of 'authentic' Anglicans
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
MEMBERS of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) gather in Nottingham this
weekend under the shadow of leaked plans for a traditionalist grouping within
the Anglican Communion.
The plans were drawn up at the end of last year, but came to light only this
week. One suggestion is that they were put on ice in February, when the
Primates ' Meeting asked the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) and
the Anglican Church of Canada to withdraw from the ACC.
Representatives from the two provinces will be in Nottingham next week, but
only as invited speakers, to explain their Churches' policies on the
appointment of practising homosexuals as bishops and the blessing of same-sex
The leaked document consists of ten articles setting up an organisation
called the Anglican Global Initiative (AGI). It names the Primates of Nigeria,
Dr Peter Akinola, and the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, as
The Anglican Global Initiative would be run by an executive committee made
up of all the Primates who "publicly support the purposes of this organisation"
. They would be joined by "those person(s) recognised by said Primates as
providing comparable leadership for Anglican constituents within the AGI in
This reveals one of the key intentions, which is to provide leadership for
Anglican parishes in North America who declare themselves out of communion with
Article 3 states that one of the purposes of the AGI is "to plant churches,
make disciples, and provide pastoral care and oversight for persons from Global
South living in North America and for any others needing an Anglican parish
with godly spiritual leadership and orthodox episcopal oversight".
This has echoes of the announcement made by Dr Akinola (
News, 15 April) of the formation of the Convocation of Anglican Nigerian
Churches in America. This was ostensibly to provide episcopal oversight for
African congregations, but he spoke at the time of offering "safe harbour for
those in distress".
The AGI articles make it clear that support would be offered to any
"dioceses, convocations, parishes and congregations, especially those in need
of alternative episcopal oversight adequate to them". There is no mention of
observing diocesan boundaries, a key element in the communiqué produced by the
Primates' Meeting (
News, 4 March).
It is hard to see how the Anglican Global Initiative could exist within the
existing Anglican Communion, even though the articles state that members should
be "respectful of the historical role and authority entrusted to the Archbishop
of Canterbury; the Primates' Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference". No mention
is made anywhere of the other instrument of unity, the ACC.
The document proposes affiliating with other traditionalist organisations in
North America and the United Kingdom, "as an authentic expression of the
worldwide Anglican Communion".
None of these others is named, but the document does refer to the Anglican
Relief and Development Fund, which was established last autumn to channel aid
from traditionalist parishes in the US (
News, 1 October). The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes
and the Anglican Communion Network were involved in its setting up.
The articles also authorise the appointment of a chancellor and
vice-chancellor, to provide legal counsel. And they suggest that the executive
council stays in touch via "telephonic conference call". The executive offices
should be in Lagos and Nassau.
The leaked document was released by Progressive Episcopalians in Pittsburg.
Their president, Dr Lionel Deimel, said this week: "While this document
seemingly has not been put into effect, its existence shows that this group no
longer has any real commitment to maintaining traditional Anglican values of
unity, charity, and theological diversity, or to respecting diocesan
Archbishop Gomez could not be contacted on Wednesday. However, he told
The Guardian on Tuesday: "There is a group which is supposed to me
meeting here in July to discuss the possibility of forming something, but I was
not aware of the name."
The ACC's secretary-general, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said on Wednesday: "This
is one of a number of documents in circulation. I am not aware that this
particular document, which I note is dated 2004, has received any formal
backing and has any formal status."
For the constitution of the global initiative, see
For the Southern primates' response to the Windsor Report, see