THE PRIMATES of the Anglican Communion should meet urgently, without the Primates of the United States and Canada, and with an agenda set by the participants themselves, the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, has told the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In a three-page letter sent to Dr Williams on Friday and released to the press, Archbishop Orombi hints at a double standard in the treatment of Primates. He complains, moreover, that the responsibility of the Primates is being diminished.
He commends the “clarity and honesty” of the President Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Mouneer Anis, who resigned from what became the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion in February. Bishop Mouneer complained that his “presence on the committee had “no value whatsoever”, and that his voice was “like a useless cry in the wilderness” (News, 5 February).
Archbishop Orombi has not attended meetings of the Standing Committee since its failure, as he sees it, to uphold the “hard-won agreement” of the Primates at Dar es Salaam in 2007.
The letter is ambiguous about whether he has resigned. He writes: “I stand with my brother Primate, Bishop Mouneer Anis, in his courageous decision to resign from the Standing Committee. Many of us are in a state of resignation as we see how the Communion is moving away further and further into darkness.”
Archbishop Orombi protests at a perceived shift in the balance of power from the Primates to the Standing Committee — that he refuses to recognise — of the Anglican Communion. He tells Dr Williams that it was “adopted by yourself, with your approval and the approval of the ACC”, and charges the committee with “granting itself supreme authority over Covenant discipline in this latest draft”.
He objects to the presence of representatives from the US and Canada at the Standing Committee meetings — “the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis. How can we expect the gross violators of Biblical Truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism?”
The election and confirmation of a lesbian, Canon Mary Glasspool, as Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles proves that the Episcopal Church in the US has no interest in “gracious restraint” let alone “a moratorium on the things that have brought us to the point of collapse”.
The Archbishop insists on an urgent meeting of all the Primates bar those of the United States and Canada. “Your Grace, I have urged you in the past and I will urge you again.” Asking that the agenda be set by the Primates “and not by any other staff in advance of the meeting”, he complains that none of the GAFCON Primates’ submissions had been included in the agenda for the Alexandria Primates’ Meeting in 2009.
He concludes: “We cannot carry on with business as usual until order is brought out of this chaos.”