JAMAICA: Archbishop of Canterbury Makes Final Plea for Communion to Stay Together
By David W. Virtue in Jamaica
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams made a final appeal for unity here saying that both sides in the Communion must make a final stab at reconciliation "before we say goodbye to each other. We owe it to the Lord of the Church to try one last time."
In a meeting with delegates to the Anglican Consultative Council-14 here in Kingston, Dr. Williams appealed for the Covenant process to play itself out and for unity among the four instruments of unity, urging a renewal of the "listening process" and requesting the "moratoria" be maintained. Williams acknowledged that an "ecclesial deficit" exists and that what these words mean is that the Anglican Communion suffers from a lack of clarity about what kind of fellowship it is meant to be.
"Only if the dialogue is seen to continue, and if there is an all-round readiness to engage in conversation and discernment to the Listening Process, is there a hope of persuading the advocates of revision in the teaching of the Anglican churches to remain committed to the period of 'gracious restraint'."
We need a common mind upon the issues which threaten to divide us, he said. Williams noted that where the Moratoria created impaired communion, there were "consequences" and that something should be done at either the diocesan or provincial level. Williams acknowledged that the Moratoria demanded that no further bishops living in same gender unions be permitted, that permission for rites of blessing for same sex unions not be put in place and that interventions in provinces should cease.
The Windsor Continuation Group called on Dr. Williams to appoint an executive officer to carry out (but not enforce) the recommendations of the Instruments of Communion to deal with emerging situations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said that the Bishops are not a College of Cardinals and that the Primates are still struggling to find the right balance.
He also acknowledged that the Anglican Consultative Council it not working effectively and that a review on ACC's effectiveness should be commissioned.
During a question and answer period, Nigerian lay delegate Abraham Yisa asked how long would the Listening Process and Moratoria continue as he is of the opinion that nothing is coming out of it so what is the point of sticking at it ad infinitum. "We have to make a decision," he said.
Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis said a lack of trust now exists and "gracious restraint" won't bring unity. "We need a safe distance so we can really say we will listen till ACC-16. Some of us are in impaired communion. If there is a ceasefire this would allow the process to go ahead."
Peruvian Bishop Bill Godfrey asked if the church is listening to the Lord and would the Instruments of Unity be subject to the Word of God.
Williams concluded his remarks by saying that his prayer for the church was that the Covenant will help the Anglican Communion respond to the Lord of the Church.
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