THE Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, was in Cairo this month to address a meeting of Global South Primates on “the challenges facing orthodox Anglicans in England”, a communiqué issued by the group last week says.
On Wednesday, Bishop Henderson said that he had written to all clergy in his diocese to “make them aware I had been issued an invitation, in my capacity as President of the Church of England Evangelical Council”. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York had also been made aware.
“There are growing concerns about different points of view in the Communion regarding the Church’s teaching on marriage and human relationships,” he said. “This invitation was an opportunity to hear and share what other Anglicans in different parts of the world are thinking at present.
“It was a chance to build bridges, maintaining and strengthening the links between the Church of England and Anglicans in the Global South, and providing some insight at a time when relationships are strained and uncomfortable.”
In his presentation, he had talked about “the fast-changing culture in England and the recent debates in General Synod”. He had explained that “the Church of England has not changed its teaching on marriage: that GS 2055 is the most recent statement by the House of Bishops that holds to a traditional view of marriage.”
GS 2055 is the House of Bishops report Marriage and Same-sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations, which General Synod voted not to take note of, in February (News, 24 February).
Bishop Henderson said that he had also informed the group about the work under way to produce a teaching document and pastoral advice (News, 30 June). He had been “reassured to hear that most of those present will be attending the Primates’ meeting in Canterbury in October”.
The Cairo communiqué says that “the conscience of some does not allow them to attend” the Canterbury meeting. “Some intend to go in defence of the Gospel and some are continuing to discern what the Lord is asking of them in this hour.”
The Global South Primates have held a series of “encounters” since 1994. The group is distinct from GAFCON. Its steering committee is chaired by the President-Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Dr Mouneer Anis, who last year said: “We cannot continue to focus on the faults of others while neglecting the needs of our own people” (News, 14 October).
The communiqué says: “For many of us, natural disasters and political unrest have created new waves of refugees, yet at the same time this instability is being accompanied by an extraordinary outpouring of God’s Spirit.”
It announces work on a “new structure for the Global South” that will have an emphasis on “ministry formation, economic empowerment, mission partnerships, discipleship and youth ministry”. A planning meeting will take place in Singapore next month.