CANTERBURY: Archbishop of Canterbury Seeks Lambeth Compliant Partners from Global South

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

A rival Global South movement is being set up here in Canterbury in an attempt to divide and conquer the Global South movement. A Lambeth compliant “Communion Partners” movement is being encouraged in an effort to isolate mainstream evangelical and Anglo-Catholics who number 40 million of the 55 million church-going Anglicans throughout the world.

Between 150 and 200 bishops from 17 provinces of the Anglican Communion met, last Tuesday at the Kent University campus, with a number of North Americans.

Among the speakers were bishops Michael Scott-Joynt (Winchester), Tom Wright (Durham) and Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh) moderation of Common Cause Partnerships. The Rt. Rev. Ian Ernest, chair of CAPA spoke and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis addressed the gathering speaking about of the 2009 Global South Conference. They are to meet again, thought this is not certain, a source told VOL.

Senior members of the Global South Primates who are not here include Archbishops Peter Akinola, (Nigeria), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya) and Henry Luke Orombi (Uganda), majority representatives of the Global South.

The design of this Lambeth Global South group of primates and bishops, which comes with the full support of Dr. Williams, is to blunt the Global South group of Primates who met in Jerusalem recently. That group includes Archbishops Peter Akinola, Peter Jensen, Gregory Venables, Emmanuel Kolini, Benjamin Nzimbi and Henry Luke Orombi and Valentine Mokiwa (Tanzania).

The list of 17 provinces of GAFCON includes Hong Kong, South Korea, North India, West Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, Myanmar (Burma) Papua New Guinea, Jerusalem/ Middle- East, South India, Burundi, the Southern Cone, West Indies, Central Africa and the Philippines.

Together they represent approximately 6 million Anglicans. Deeply involved in this group is said to be Archbishop John Chew of Singapore, Secretary of the Global South Group and Bishop Mouneer of Egypt who is treasurer and whose chairman is Archbishop Peter Akinola. Ironically the Assistant Bishop of Singapore, the Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah is not present at Lambeth.

The Rt. Rev. Albert Vun, Bishop of Sabah is also not present at Lambeth, although he was present at GAFCON and the ANiC ordinations in Vancouver. Archbishop John Chew did not attend GAFCON. John Chew is a member of the group who produced the St Andrews Draft Covenant, which has been critiqued by the Theological Resource Group of GAFCON. Archbishop Chew, as Bishop of Singapore, has the resources to make this happen.

Dr. Michael Nai Chiu Poon, a priest in the Diocese of Singapore who writes on the website “Global South Anglican”, supports this initiative.

He has been particularly critical of the emergence of GAFCON. “I am saddened and shocked by the Statement on ‘”The Global Anglican Future Conference, June 15-22, The Holy Land'”, he wrote at his blog. “On what basis was the Statement “announced by Orthodox Primates”? What is the basis of orthodoxy? Historically, the Communion takes Canon A5 “Doctrine of the Church of England” and C15 “On the Preface to the Declaration of Assent” of the Church of England as the basis of its belief.

“This underpins Section 2 (“The Faith we share”) of the proposed Anglican Covenant. On what basis did the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Southern Cone, and Tanzania declare themselves as orthodox primates?” he asks. “For some, it may remain unclear what ‘”Global South'” and its cluster of related terms stand for, and which churches it represents. Is it a movement, a power-bloc, a lobby, or an ultra-conservative group that centres on certain personalities?”

The formation of a new Lambeth Global South movement in Canterbury would be designed to reinforce Williams’ leadership of the Anglican Communion giving support to his policy of non-action in the face of the actions of the U.S. Episcopal Church. Archbishop Williams’ underlying strategy is to produce an inclusive church that will sideline evangelicals of the Global South who reject the theological and moral relativism that has emerged in Global Anglicanism.

Chris Smith, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s aide de camp is reported to have met with Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East — leaders of center right Communion Partners group, and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone – a member of the more traditionalist GAFCON primates’ council. The Bishop of Durham and other English bishops also met with the primates to formalize a way forward for conservatives amidst the chaos of the Anglican Communion and the unfolding train wreck of the Lambeth Conference.

The two conservative factions currently disagree on the best way of responding to the crisis of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. The GAFCON wing, led by seven primates and comprising over 60 percent of the Communion’s members, are seeking to reform the Anglican Communion and affirm that Anglican doctrine rather than recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury is the basis of Anglican identity.

The difference between the “Communion Partner” primates and the GAFCOIN primates can best be summed up in the words of Chew when he spoke to the Church Times, “Whether you like it or not, Canterbury has got to take the lead, and we pray for him and wish him well.” Archbishop Chew said that he expressed strong support for the recent Sudan statement.

Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, TEC Presiding Bishop was recently overheard to say that TEC could not only stand for The Episcopal Church but also for The Episcopal Communion, a direct swipe at the Archbishop of Canterbury saying, in so many words, that if The Episcopal Church is any way disciplined or ostracized by the Lambeth Conference of bishops, she will simply announce her own communion with some 16 provinces, all of whose flags flew at the 2006 General Convention in Indianapolis.


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