SINGAPORE: Middle East Archbishop Calls for New Structure for Global South Anglicans
By David W. Virtue in Singapore
April 20, 2010
In a groundbreaking speech to some 130 delegates to the Fourth Global South to South Encounter, the Archbishop of the Middle East said that the Anglican Communion is dysfunctional, at war with itself and that a new structure is needed for Global South Anglicans.
The Most Rev. Mouneer Anis proposed a new structure to sustain and enhance Christ's mission. He blasted the North American Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada saying that a new structure is necessary to compensate for the ongoing "ecclesial deficit" in the communion, homosexual unions, litigation, depositions of bishops and threats from TEC bishops and the undermining of the authority of bishops and primates who made vows to guard the faith. The result, he said, has been the breaking off of ecumenical partners, and cessation of dialogue, especially with the Roman Catholic Church the Oriental churches and the Greek Orthodox Church.
"We need a new structure to face the challenges together. We do not want to create another communion. They (the North American provinces) have departed the faith. They have left us we have not left the faith of the communion. They have made the Anglican Communion dysfunctional. We need to move forward now and not just be reactive."
He said a new Primates' Council of the Global South should be raised up with the function of the council to discuss issues of faith and order. "There are limits to Anglican diversity. We must be under the submission to the authority of Holy Scripture. We should appoint an ad hoc design group to write a new Global South constitution."
He opined that the Primates Council be drawn from the general assembly. Anis saw two tracks: mission and evangelism and economic empowerment. "They should be put directly under the primates and meet every three to five years. The Primates should take the initiative in restoring unity. Working groups should be formed in accordance with the developing vision of the Global South. We need to have a solid financial commitment. We need to be focused and we must own the Global South movement."
The archbishop drew from his own area's history and likened the crisis in the Anglican Communion to that of the 4th Century (325) heretic Arius who wanted to reconcile the Christian Faith with Greek philosophy. "He made Christ less than divine and because of this there was division in the church in Alexandria. There were faithful people and then there were heretics who followed Arius. The faithful got smaller but fought persistently. The heretics started to increase and got the support of the emperor.
"The Arians became the bigger church. The Church Fathers of the orthodox church stood for the faith were discipled in the desert and later became leaders of the orthodox church. By 600 AD there were no Arians in Egypt. Where is Arianism today? There are none."
Anis urged that the Anglican Communion not waste its time reacting. "We should spend our time bringing the Good News to the world, discipling and baptizing people for Christ."
FOOTNOTE: VOL has revised this story following a personal conversation with Archbishop Mouneer. There was a misunderstanding in what I thought I heard him say. The fault is mine. I understood him to say that he was calling for a new structure for the Anglican Communion. In fact he was calling for a new structure for Global South Anglicans. Another problem is that English is not the first language for the majority of these archbishops and bishops and therefore understanding what they say can, at times, be difficult. I apologize to all for this misunderstanding of the bishops' words and have corrected the story for the record.
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