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Primates on Welby’s to-do list

16 August 2013


Primates' meeting: Archbishop Welby with Archbishop Armando Guerra Soria (left in picture), outside St James's Cathedral, Guatemala City, where he preached on Sunday

Primates' meeting: Archbishop Welby with Archbishop Armando Guerra Soria (left in picture), outside St James's Cathedral, Guatemala City, where he p...

THE Archbishop of Canterbury visited Barbados, Guatemala, and Mexico this week, as part of an ambitious plan to visit every Anglican Primate during his first 18 months in office.

Archbishop Welby flew to Barbados on Thursday of last week with his wife, Caroline, for a two-day visit, at the invitation of the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of the West Indies and Bishop of Barbados, Dr John Holder. The Archbishop met the Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, and the Governor General, Elliott Belgrave, and clergy from across the diocese.

On Friday, the Archbishop preached at Christ Church, Barbados. He said: "In this part of the world there is a history of the Church in the past having acted in oppression. We cannot forget that, in every age and every place, the Church is human, and humans make terrible mistakes and do terrible wrongs. But it is still the family of God."

On Saturday, the Archbishop and Mrs Welby travelled to Guatemala for another two-day visit, at the invitation of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Central American Region and Bishop of Guatemala, the Most Revd Armando Guerra Soria.

Preaching at St James's Cathedral, Guatemala City, on Sunday, Archbishop Welby said: "We must learn ways of peace, as Anglicans always have, through scripture, tradition, and reason, reflecting together and alone on the Bible, on what we have inherited, and on the world around. They are held in tension, but unless the tensions we face are covered in prayer, the tensions will destroy the Church."

Speaking on Monday, Archbishop Welby said that he prayed that the Church in Guatemala "may continue to be an agent of God's healing and reconciliation for the whole country."

Archbishop and Mrs Welby flew to Mexico on Tuesday morning for a two-day visit, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Mexico, the Most Revd Francisco Moreno. It was the first time that a serving Archbishop of Canterbury had visited Mexico, Lambeth Palace said. 

During the visit, Archbishop Welby preached at a celebration of the Eucharist in the city of Monterrey, and visited the Community of St Jude in Juarez in the State of Nuevo Leon. 

Archbishop Welby said in a statement that the Anglican Church in Mexico worked with "some of those most marginalised by poverty and insecurity". He wished to express "special appreciation of the witness to Jesus Christ of La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, and of its participation in the witness of the Anglican Communion as a whole on global challenges such as food security, sustainable development, and climate change."

Archbishop and Mrs Welby were due to return to London on Wednesday night.

Ed Thornton writes: Archbishop Welby has committed himself to visiting every Primate in the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office. Lambeth Palace said that the purpose of the visits was "to get to know each of them in their context - personally as well as professionally - in the hope that friendship and mutual understanding may follow. Such relationships are the essential basis for growing collaboration and trust at a wider level across the Communion."

The visits to Primates have not replaced official visits: official provincial visits will resume in 2015.

But the Archbishop is keen to meet Primates and bishops in a more informal setting, travelling without an entourage and staying as a private guest. This enables him, Lambeth Palace said, "to reach a greater number of people and places than would otherwise be possible, not least those that might be perceived as isolated or remote".

THE "crisis" in the Anglican Communion has "deepened", and will not go away because there is a new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali said on Wednesday, writes Ed Thornton.

In a statement to supporters of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) and GAFCON, which meets for the second time in Nairobi between 21 and 26 October, Archbishop Ntagali said that the consecration of the Rt Revd Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire ten years ago (News, 7 November 2003) "threw the entire global Anglican Communion into chaos".

The Archbishop continued: "We have a new Archbishop of Canterbury who is born again and has a testimony. I have personally met him, and I like him very much. But the problems in the Communion are still there, and they don't change just because there is a new global leader. In fact, ten years later, the crisis has deepened."

Archbishop Ntagali said that the Church of Uganda would be sending 200 delegates to GAFCON 2013, which he described as an "important revival meeting. . .

"GAFCON is to the Anglican Communion as the East African Revival was to the Church in Uganda. At first it was small revival fellowships meeting outside the Church structures and Church services. But, as the revival spread, it became mainstream in the Church. Now, most of the Church of Uganda is led by clergy and bishops shaped by the East African Revival.

"In the same way, we are going to GAFCON 2 in Nairobi to see that the biblical faith of GAFCON spreads like revival throughout the whole Anglican Communion; so that global Anglicanism is brought back to its biblical and evangelistic faith."

Last month, the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the GAFCON Primates' Council, said that the C of E was "advancing down the same path" as the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada (News, 19 July). He made the comments after the Archbishops of Canterbury and York spoke in support of civil partnerships.



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