PRIMATES from the Global South of the Anglican Communion have
announced that they intend to offer pastoral oversight to
dissenting parishes and dioceses in other provinces.
After a meeting on 14 and 15 February in Cairo of archbishops
and bishops from Africa, South America, and Asia, the Global South
Primates' steering committee released a statement declaring its
plan to create a "Primatial oversight council".
The statement, which was not signed by the representative of the
Primate of All Nigeria, also accused the Episcopal Church in the US
and the Anglican Church of Canada of causing "broken relations, a
lack of trust, and dysfunctional 'instruments of unity'" within the
Communion since 2003, the year in which the Rt Revd Gene Robinson,
an openly gay man, was appointed Bishop of New Hampshire in the
The Primates wrote that they believed the time had come to
"reshape the instruments of unity" to create a Church that was more
accountable. They also called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to
call a Primates' Meeting in 2015 "in order to address the
increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican
"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."
Archbishop Welby, who intends to visit every Primate during his
first 18 months as Archbishop, was present at the Cairo meeting,
together with his director of reconciliation Canon David
Asked for a statement afterwards, a Lambeth Palace spokesman
declined to give Archbishop Welby's reaction to the Primates'
The Rt Revd Michael Doe, formerly Bishop of Swindon and general
secretary of USPG, now Us., recently taught a session on the state
of the Communion to overseas bishops at Canterbury Cathedral (News, 14
February). On Monday he criticised the statement, saying it
amounted to an attempt to expand the authority of the Global
"Their statement misrepresents the role of the Communion-wide
Primates' Meeting. It is not a policy-making body," he said. "There
is no provision and no authority [for alternative oversight] in our
kind of Communion."
Bishop Doe also warned of the dangers of what he called "reverse
colonialism", where, as in the 19th century, one group of nations
decides it has spiritual superiority and tells others how to
He called for a return to a policy that acknowledged diversity
and difference within the Communion, which was upheld at the last
Primates' Meeting in 2011.
The Global South statement also praised the "faithfulness" of
the House of Bishops in the recently released pastoral guidance on
same-sex marriage (
News, 21 February).
Assembly cancelled. The World Evangelical Alliance
(WEA) has postponed its next General Assembly, planned for October
in South Korea. A WEA statement focused on "recent internal
divisions among the Evangelical community" in Korea, which made the