Mere Anglicanism

Primates Task Group agrees to talk to each other

Organizers roll back primates’ mandate of consequences for the Episcopal Church

The Task Group formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury following last January’s primates gathering Canterbury held its first meeting last week in London. In a statement released on 8 Sept 2016 the Anglican Communion News Service said the team had met and “stressed its determination to work together. But it acknowledged the process would take time and could not be rushed.” At their January 2016 meeting the primates adopted a motion asking that representatives of the Episcopal Church not be permitted to represent the Communion in interfaith and ecumenical bodies or dialogue commissions, nor serve on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, nor vote at meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council. Unlike the recommendations of the Windsor Report, which called for the “voluntary withdrawal” of the Episcopal Church from the life of the Communion, the January voted directed the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, to discipline the American church. The Episcopal Church may not take part in the decision making process “on issues of doctrine or polity”, either, agreed the primates, who further asked Archbishop Welby to “appoint a task group to maintain conversations among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of commonality, and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held in the love and grace of Christ.” Events surrounding the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Meeting in Lusaka and Archbishop Welby’s alleged failure to honor the agreements reached by the primates have dampened enthusiasm for the project among the archbishops of the Gafcon movement. However the ACNS cited the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls of the Anglican Church of Canada as saying: “What we are trying to do here is mirror what we desire for the whole Communion. We are trying to practise in our engagement with each other here what we long for in the wider Communion.” Conservative leaning primate the Most Rev. Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean stated: “What has come out very clearly is the level of transparency that we have in the group. We have been able to be open and speak openly about our differences,” he said. “We also recognise the richness of the Communion. And we all love our Communion – that is what binds us together.” The communique stated future meetings would be held by video conference and the group hoped to gather next year again in London. It also noted that one member, the Rt Rev. Govada Dyvasirvadam, Moderator of the Church of South India, “will not be taking part because of allegations he is facing in India.”

 
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