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Primates of South opt for unity

26 July 2012

By a Staff Reporter


Walterside: Global South delegates meet beside the Chao Phraya river, in Bangkok

Walterside: Global South delegates meet beside the Chao Phraya river, in Bangkok

A CONFERENCE of leaders from the Global South has emphasised the strength of the worldwide Anglican Church.

In a communiqué that focused on mission, it was agreed that the strength of the Anglican Church lay in its presence throughout the world, and its unity.

The final statement said: "The nature of the global Anglican Church affords us an opportunity to serve, work, and learn together. This is a gift from God to the world. . . Our unity is both a witness and a conduit by which this work and witness flow."

Delegates, including some from what the communiqué describes as "orthodox Anglican churches in the West", attended the five-day conference in Bangkok, on the theme of mission and networking. They agreed "we can expect a resurgence of traditional religious-cultural groups on the one hand, and hardened secularism and materialism on the other. In the face of these challenges, our greatest need is for discipleship to take root and go deep."

The conference statement said that the Global South was committed to a "strong society marked by the rise of a civil society, political stability, sustainable economy, reduction of poverty, and the eradication of all forms of violence, endemic diseases, and corruption".

The tone of the statement was different from previous communiqués issued after Global South conferences, which have attacked moves by the US Episcopal Church, in particular, to ordain gay clergy.

A second, separate communiqué was issued on behalf of the Primates of the Global South after the conference, however, which, although also more muted than previous statements, expressed "great sadness" at the authorisation of a liturgy for same-sex blessings by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church ( News, 20 July).

Primates said that the action "confirms our disappointment that the Episcopal Church has no regard for the concerns and convictions of the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide".

The statement suggested that no action should be taken beyond "upholding in prayer and supporting in fellowship" those who disagreed with the Episcopal Church's latest action.

The Primates' communiqué also confirmed that they have written to the Crown Nominations Commission "with principles for consideration as it nominates candidates for the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury".

Although no signatories were attached to the Primates' communiqué, there was a list of those present, including the Primate of Sudan, Dr Daniel Deng, and the Primate of the Indian Ocean, the Most Revd Ian Ernest.

There were suggestions that some of those named did not know of this second communiqué, and had not authorised it.

A retired Bishop of Malaita, the Rt Revd Terry Brown, said in a comment online that the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Rt Revd David Vunagi, who had attended the conference, knew nothing of the Primates' communiqué.



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