Bishop of Blackburn Julian Henderson briefs primates on the situation within the Church of England
We, the Primates of the Global South, met in Cairo from 8-9 September 2017 to work together in service of the Church, to follow up the recommendation of the 2016 Global South Conference and to discuss arising issues. We give thanks to God for our time of prayer, worship, and communion. In particular, we benefitted greatly from the ministry of Dr. Os Guinness who led us in a Bible Study on the topic of biblical Covenants and the love of God. We were blessed by the tremendous hospitality of All Saints Cathedral, the Diocese of Egypt, and Bishop Mouneer Anis. We are also grateful to the Egyptian government for all the efforts taken to ensure granting visas and the security of the meeting.
We remembered and gave thanks for the encouraging fellowship that our delegates shared here in Egypt last year at the 6th Global South conference. We were reminded of that conference’s theme “Being Found Faithful.” By God’s grace we have been saved and there is nothing in this life that matters more than our faithfulness to Christ.
We shared together the challenges and blessings that we are experiencing in our provinces. We noticed common themes across our fellowship. For many of us, natural disasters and political unrest have created new waves of refugees, yet at the same time this instability is being accompanied by an extraordinary outpouring of God’s Spirit. We heard testimonies from areas in our provinces where people are coming to Christ in thousands, new schools and hospitals are being built to care for the poor, and new provinces and dioceses are emerging. We pray that God will provide more labourers to disciple these new believers that He is bringing into His kingdom, and pray that He will provide us with the resources to share His love with all in our communities.
We welcomed The Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo of the new province of the Sudan, and we rejoiced in the news of the desire to form new provinces in Chile and Egypt.
As faithful members of the Anglican Communion, we are working on a new structure for the Global South to ensure fellowship in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the advancement of the kingdom of God, with emphasis on Ministry Formation, Economic Empowerment, Mission Partnerships, Discipleship and Youth Ministry. Under the chairmanship of Bishop Rennis Ponniah the Structure Committee will convene its work in Singapore at the end of October 2017.
We express our sadness for the decision taken by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its doctrine of marriage and are thankful for the faithful remnant of the Scottish Anglican Network that continues to contend for God’s Word. We are also saddened by the decisions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to allow same-sex marriage. If this decision is ratified it will further tear the fabric of the Communion.
We invited Bishop Julian Henderson, President of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), to address us about the challenges facing orthodox Anglicans in England. We commend the recent CEEC statements reaffirming the biblical definition of marriage. We encourage Anglicans in England to continue to stand firm in defence of the Gospel and to speak up for the central place of Scripture in the life of our Church, particularly in this 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
We are saddened that the 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia, did not unequivocally accept the decisions of the last Primates Meeting. While we expressed a desire to walk together as a Communion, this was contingent upon our decisions regarding The Episcopal Church being respected and upheld. Unfortunately, this agreement was not enforced and The Episcopal Church has been allowed to take part in decision making regarding “matters pertaining to polity and doctrine.” They have also represented us in ecumenical meetings. This has led to a further breakdown of trust and confidence.
In light of this reality, we discussed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to the upcoming Primates’ Meeting. The conscience of some does not allow them to attend. Some intend to go in defence of the Gospel and some are continuing to discern what the Lord is asking of them in this hour. We have all agreed to pray that the outcome of the upcoming meeting will be decisive and lead to coherent and responsible action regarding the issues which continue to tear apart the fabric of the Communion, issues that have eternal consequences.
We rejoice and pray for the upcoming meeting of Gafcon in June 2018 in Jerusalem and give thanks for this renewal and reformation movement.
We gave thanks for the sacrificial and significant service of Bishop Mouneer Anis, asking him to continue as our Chairman. Our next Global South Primates Meeting will be 8-13 October 2018.
We ask you to continue to pray for the Church, especially that we might be found faithful stewards contending for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Jude 1:3
The Most Rev. Mouneer Anis (Chairman)
Diocese of Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa
The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh (Vice Chairman)
The Church of Nigeria
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali (Secretary)
The Church of Uganda
The Most Rev. Ng Moon Hing (Treasurer)
The Church of the Province of Southeast Asia
The Most Rev. Foley Beach
The Province of the Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev. Masimango Katanda
The Anglican Church of the Congo
The Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo
The Church of the Province of Sudan
The Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo
The Church of the Province of West Africa
The Most Rev. Paul Sarker
The Church of Bangladesh
The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo
The Church of the Province of Myanmar
The Most Rev. Gregory Venables
The Church of the Province of South America