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DUBLIN: Fifteen Anglican Archbishops Absent Themselves from Primatial Gabfest

DUBLIN: Fifteen Anglican Archbishops Absent Themselves from Primatial Gabfest

By David W. Virtue in Dublin
January 25, 2011

Fifteen of the Anglican Communion's 38 archbishops - nearly 40% - have absented themselves from a meeting of the Primates called by the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss the moral, theological and ecclesiastical crisis in the Anglican Communion.

The Primates are meeting behind closed doors for six days at the Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre in Dublin.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, was also invited to allow the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to fulfill his role as president of the meeting.

Among those not attending are:

The Most Revd Eliud Wabukala, The Anglican Church of Kenya

The Most Revd Purely Lyngdoh, The Church of North India (United)

The Most Revd Valentino Mokiwa, The Anglican Church of Tanzania

The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak, The Episcopal Church of the Sudan. (He cited his country's referendum, but he has also been an outspoken opponent of The Episcopal Church's drift from a Biblical understanding of human sexuality and gave an impromptu press conference at Lambeth 2008 blasting TEC.)

The Most Revd Onesphore Rwaje, L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda, (two days after his installation). He is not attending for the same reasons his predecessor Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini would not have attended - the crisis in the Anglican Communion brought on by the sexual innovations of The Episcopal Church.

The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest, The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

The Most Revd. Mouneer Hanna Anis The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East

The Most Rt Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh, The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi, The Church of the Province of Uganda

The Most Revd John Chew, Church of the Province of South East Asia

The Most Revd Hector Zavala, Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America

The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi, The Church of the Province of West Africa

Three other primates also could not attend.

The Most Revd Henry Kahwa Isingoma, Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo cited visa problems.

The Most Revd Carlos Touche-Porter, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico; and

The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma) claimed reasons of health.

In an earlier announcement, the Primate of Canada, the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz said there is a real need for clarity with respect to the place and influence of the Primates' Meetings and the nature of their service as one of the Instruments of Communion.

"As challenging as this meeting will be...I hope we will not be so consumed with tensions in the Communion that we fail to address the real global issues that demand our attention as leaders of the Church."

Archbishop Maurício José Araújo de Andrade Primate of Brazil & Bishop of Brasilia, (a TEC plant and clone) said he was looking forward to a positive meeting.

"It is important that in this meeting dialogue continues between the different parts of the Anglican Communion. If it is possible to sit together with different ecumenical and interfaith partners, how much more do we need to continue to sit down and dialogue with bishops from other parts of the Communion."

The Dean of the Province of Central Africa, Bishop Albert Chama said he believes God will enable the Primates to remain in unity and to love one another as the body of Christ.

"My hope is that in this meeting we will be able to continue the conversations that have been happening in terms of pulling the Communion together," he said. "It is my hope that our meeting will be fruitful and that we will continue to discuss matters with openness and we will be able to listen to one another."

Those archbishops who have declined to come say that such a meeting has little value because they are disillusioned by what they see as Dr. Williams' failure to act on decisions made and expressed in the past.

In Charleston, SC last week, Archbishop Anis said, "We need to sort out the crisis. The Global South and other orthodox diocese should start today if we want to rescue and revive our beloved communion. We need another reformation within the Anglican Communion."

Reflecting on the upcoming primatial meeting in Dublin, Anis noted it is all being manipulated and that nothing would happen. "It is a waste of time, the results and outcome have already been decided. It has been cooked and pre-cooked.

"We asked that the recommendations of the previous meeting be followed through otherwise the meeting would be meaningless. We recommended and decided and now is the time for decisions. All we got was an invitation to sit in two separate rooms and we wanted to sit in one. There is no consultation. That is why the Global South and other Primates are not going," he said.

Other Primates have called for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to be replaced as the figure around which the Communion unites. Recent moves by a number of Anglo-Catholics to leave the Church of England for Rome and the boycotting of this conference by leading Anglican archbishops have raised eyebrows among England's liberal establishment. VOL has been told that there are behind the scenes moves to pressure Williams into resigning.

Archbishop Anis and former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali have both called for a council of orthodox Anglican primates to resolve the deep theological and ecclesiological crisis in the Communion.

Archbishop Anis recently called for Global South Primates and orthodox bishops in the North and West to hold a Church Council with binding resolutions to break the ecclesiastical logjam in the Anglican Communion.

Speaking to several hundred orthodox Episcopalians and Anglicans at the 6th Annual Mere Anglican Conference at St. Phillip's Church last week, Anis said there is now "no trust left at all" in the communion with "provinces taking actions and moving from the norm of Anglican tradition." Anis called for a Conciliar meeting of orthodox Anglicans to resolve the fundamental theological differences that now pervade the communion. "The Anglican Covenant has not worked. We have a Conciliar model to express the mind of the communion on controversial resolutions.

Bishop Nazir-Ali told participants at Mere Anglican, a conference dedicated to a reformed, renewed orthodox Anglicanism within North America, that a church council of orthodox Anglican primates should be called to resolve the deep theological and ecclesiological tensions in the Communion.

Whatever is concluded should be binding on the Anglican Church, said the outspoken bishop. "In resolution of some of these matters, Anglicans need to bring to bear the Word of God on the issues and to be the guardian and interpreter for the church. We should have a healthy perspective on a proper conciliarity basis that Anglicans have evaded for 150 years. What is needed now is a binding conciliar gathering."


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