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JERUSALEM: Historic Moment As Orthodox Anglicans Ratify New Direction for Church

JERUSALEM: Historic Moment As Orthodox Anglicans Ratify New Direction for Church

By David W. Virtue in Jerusalem
June 29, 2008

Describing it as a solemn and important moment, Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen told 1,200 pilgrims at the Renaissance Hotel that the Anglican Communion "is about to receive a dose of order."

Moments later, Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola stepped up to the podium and announced that a statement had been written and accepted by the leadership. Copies were then handed to all the participants. Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi proceeded to solemnly read it aloud.

At the conclusion of the Statement, the delegates rose to their feet as one and broke into applause.

Akinola then returned to the podium and asked, "Is it your will it be adopted. Cries of 'yes' resounded throughout the ballroom."

The Archbishop of Tanzania, the Rt. Rev. Valentino Mokiwa then rose and asked for the people's prayers. Immediately, Archbishops Peter Akinola (Nigeria), Henry Luke Orombi (Uganda) Greg Venables, (Southern Cone) and Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda) stepped up to the podium and publicly signed the document. Archbishop Mokiwa (Tanzania) still needs to obtain clearance from his House of Bishops, but indicated that would not be a problem. Archbishop Peter Jensen also affirmed the document, but could not sign it as he is not a Primate. Archbishop Justice Akrofi (West Africa) also signed it.

"That glorious future we have been looking forward too has been borne," cried Akinola. The 1200 pilgrims then stood as one and broke out in the doxology.

The Nigerian Primate then gave the final blessing. The delegates roared "Amen" and sang an African hymn. Following this, they all broke out and sang, "To God be the Glory great things he has done."

Dr. Os Guinness, author, social critic, and plenary speaker told VOL, "This is an historic moment. 200 years of slow hemorrhaging of faith from the liberal revisionism of the Enlightenment has finally been staunched by a major movement of faith and truth."

What has happened here today in Jerusalem is momentous. A new day has dawned for world Anglicanism. The Anglican Communion will never be the same again.

What they told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, was clear and unequivocal. They will not tolerate a global communion with a colonial structure. They then said Dr. Williams had overturned the conciliar authority of the Communion by deflecting the Primates' demand in 2003 for discipline of TEC. Above all, they stated that they don't need to go through Canterbury to get to Jesus. The participants also affirmed the need for a new North American Anglican province, which will undoubtedly get Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop, riled up and consulting her attorney, David Booth Beers. Since none of the U.S. bishops here signed the document, there is not a lot she can do.

What the participants heard today, they will carry back to their parishes and dioceses in the US and Canada. What they say will only hasten the schism started by liberals and revisionists with their actions in 2003.

At a press conference, the five primates, including Bishop David Anderson of CANA, were questioned on the statement with one reporter asking if the statement was more magisterial than expected. Archbishop Orombi replied that it was within the framework of the Anglican Communion with recognition, for the moment, that Dr. Rowan Williams was still the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola said that with the turmoil in the Anglican Communion this Declaration is "a fresh hope and fresh beginning. We are going to send it out with a covering letter as a chance to renew... to start all over again and march on."

Asked if GAFCON is "a church within a church" Akinola said "No". "I don't agree with that description. We are part of the worldwide church."

He said that history has been made. "What we have today is not just Global South members, but a global coming together of faithful Anglicans from around the world. What the official Instruments of the Communion have not been able to do this conference has done."

Questioned about who would support a new North American Anglican orthodox Province, Bishop David Anderson said all the Episcopal bishops present were on board. "There was an overwhelming consensus. Our hope is for a re-gathering of a portion of the church that has scattered. Heterodoxy is untenable."

He said that the new province will not be just the US and Canada, but it will be transnational in character. Asked about a timeline, Anderson said, "We want to go home and figure out what needs to be done."

Questioned about the American Anglican Council and the American Anglican Network, Anderson said, "to the extent that they are part of the communion, they are all signatories of Common Cause and Bishop Robert Duncan is moderator of both AAN and CCP.

Asked about the implications of the province being a new legal entity, Anderson said they would have to explore that over the coming months.

"The Province is in a proto stage. It has gone a long way and we would need to see how that plays out. Perhaps, by the end of the year, we will have a petition to lay before the Primates."


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