Friday, September 22, 2006

Kigali Communiqué

Editor's note: Selected primates of the Global South provinces of the Anglican Communion have been meeting in Kilgali, Rwanda. Today they issued this statement. Members of The Episcopal Majority are preparing a response, which will be posted on this site as soon as it has been approved by the group.

Global South Primates Meeting - Kigali Communiqué

Kigali, Rwanda September [22] 2006

1. As Primates and Leaders of the Global South Provinces of the Anglican Communion we gathered at the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda, between 19th and 22nd September 2006. We were called together by the Global South Steering Committee and its chairman, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola. Twenty provinces were represented at the meeting*. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome shown to us by the Right Honorable Bernard Makuza, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, and the hospitality provided by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, members of the House of Bishops of the Church of Rwanda and all of the members of the local organizing committee.
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2. We have gathered in Rwanda twelve years after the genocide that tragically engulfed this nation and even its churches. During this time Rwanda was abandoned to its fate by the world. Our first action was to visit the Kigali Genocide Museum at Gisozi for a time of prayer and reflection. We were chastened by this experience and commit ourselves not to abandon the poor or the persecuted wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances. We add our voices to theirs and we say, "Never Again!"

3. As we prayed and wept at the mass grave of 250,000 helpless victims we confronted the utter depravity and inhumanity to which we are all subject outside of the transforming grace of God. We were reminded again that faith in Jesus Christ must be an active, whole-hearted faith if we are to stand against the evil and violence that threaten to consume our world. We were sobered by the reality that several of our Provinces are presently in the middle of dangerous conflicts. We commit ourselves to intercession for them.

4. We are very aware of the agonizing situation in the Sudan. We appreciate and commend the terms of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and the South. We dare not, however, close our eyes to the devastating situation in Darfur. We are conscious of the complexities but there must be no continuation of the slaughter. We invite people from all of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion and the entire international community to stand in solidarity with the men, women and children in Darfur, Sudan.

5. We are here as a people of hope and we have been greatly encouraged as we have witnessed the reconciling power of God’s love at work as this nation of Rwanda seeks to rebuild itself. We have been pleased to hear of positive developments in the neighboring country of Burundi as they have recently completed a cease-fire agreement between their government and the Palipehutu-FNL. We are also beginning to see an end to the conflict in Northern Uganda and we note that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is approaching a historic election that offers promise for a peaceful future. All of these developments are occasions for hope for the future.

6. We have met here as a growing fellowship of Primates and leaders of churches in the Global South representing more than 70 percent of the active membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion. We build on and reaffirm the work of our previous meetings, especially our most recent gathering in Egypt in October 2005. We are mindful of the challenges that face our Communion and recommit ourselves to the abiding truth of the Holy Scriptures and the faithful proclamation of the whole Gospel for the whole world. We recommit ourselves to the vision of our beloved communion as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

7. We recognize that because of the ongoing conflict in the Communion many people have lost hope that we will come to any resolution in the foreseeable future. We are grateful therefore, that one sign of promise is the widespread support for the development of an Anglican Covenant. We are delighted to affirm the extraordinary progress made by the Global South task group on developing an Anglican Covenant. For the past year they have labored on this important task and we look forward to submitting the result of their labor to the rest of the Communion. We are pleased that the Archbishop of Canterbury has recognized the exemplary scholarship and leadership of Archbishop Drexel Gomez in asking him to chair the Covenant Design Group and look forward with anticipation to the crucial next steps of this historic venture. We believe that an Anglican Covenant will demonstrate to the world that it is possible to be a truly global communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and mutual accountability.

8. We have come together as Anglicans and we celebrate the gift of Anglican identity that is ours today because of the sacrifice made by those who have gone before us. We grieve that, because of the doctrinal conflict in parts of our Communion, there is now a growing number of congregations and dioceses in the USA and Canada who believe that their Anglican identity is at risk and are appealing to us so that they might remain faithful members of the Communion. As leaders of that Communion we will work together to recognize the Anglican identity of all who receive, hold and maintain the Scriptures as the Word of God written and who seek to live in godly fellowship within our historic ordering.

9. We deeply regret that, at its most recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church gave no clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report. We observe that a number of the resolutions adopted by the Convention were actually contrary to the Windsor Report. We are further dismayed to note that their newly elected Presiding Bishop also holds to a position on human sexuality – not to mention other controversial views – in direct contradiction of Lambeth 1.10 and the historic teaching of the Church. The actions and decisions of the General Convention raise profound questions on the nature of Anglican identity across the entire Communion.

10. We are, however, greatly encouraged by the continued faithfulness of the Network Dioceses and all of the other congregations and communities of faithful Anglicans in North America. In addition, we commend the members of the Anglican Network in Canada for their commitment to historic, biblical faith and practice. We value their courage and consistent witness. We are also pleased by the emergence of a wider circle of ‘Windsor Dioceses’ and urge all of them to walk more closely together and deliberately work towards the unity that Christ enjoins. We are aware that a growing number of congregations are receiving oversight from dioceses in the Global South and in recent days we have received requests to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight for a number of dioceses. This is an unprecedented situation in our Communion that has not been helped by the slow response from the Panel of Reference. After a great deal of prayer and deliberation, and in order to support these faithful Anglican dioceses and parishes, we have come to agreement on the following actions:

a. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network and the ‘Windsor Dioceses’, to investigate their appeal in greater detail and to develop a proposal identifying the ways by which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately provided.

b. At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations.

c. We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.

11. While we are concerned about the challenges facing our Anglican structures we are also very much aware that these issues can be a distraction from the work of the Gospel. At our meeting in Kigali we invested a great deal of our time on the day-to-day challenges that confront our various Churches including poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS, peace building and church planting. We were enormously encouraged by the reports of growth and vitality in the many different settings where we live and serve.

12. We received a preliminary report from the Theological Formation and Education (TFE) Task Force. We were pleased to hear of their plans to provide opportunities for theological formation from the most basic catechism to graduate level training for new and existing Anglican leaders. We request that all Global South provinces share their existing Catechisms and other educational resources with the TFE Task Force for mutual enrichment. We were pleased by their determination to network with other theological institutions and theologians in the Global South as well as with scholars and seminaries who share a similar vision for theological education that is faithful to Scripture and tradition.

13. We were blessed by the presence of a number of Economic Officers (Advisors) from around the Communion. Their determination to find creative ways to offer means of Economic Empowerment at various levels throughout the provinces of the Global South was an inspiration to all of us and resulted in the issuing of a separate summary statement. We note especially their proposed Ethical Economic and Financial Covenant that we adopted as Primates and commended for adoption at all levels of our Provinces. We were impressed by their vision and fully support their proposal to convene an Economic Empowerment consultation in 2007 with participation invited from every Global South Province.

14. We received ‘The Road to Lambeth,’ a draft report commissioned by the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) which they have commended to their churches for study and response. It highlights the crisis that now confronts us as we consider the future of the Lambeth Conference. We commend this report for wider reflection.

15. We were challenged by a presentation on the interface between Christianity and Islam and the complex issues that we must now confront at every level of our societies throughout the Global South. We recognized the need for a more thorough education and explored a number of ways that allow us to be faithful disciples to Jesus Christ while respecting the beliefs of others. We condemn all acts of violence in the name of any religion.

16. Throughout our time together in Kigali we have not only shared in discussions such as these we have also spent time together in table fellowship, prayer and worship. We are grateful that because of the time that we have shared our lives have been strengthened and our love for Christ, His Church and His world confirmed. Accordingly, we pray for God’s continued blessing on all members of our beloved Communion that we might all be empowered to continue in our mission to a needy and troubled world.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)


* Provinces Represented:

Bangladesh**, Burundi, Central Africa, Church of South India, Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines**, Rwanda, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, West Indies (** Not present but represented)

From the Anglican Communion News Service, dated 22 September 2006

12 Comments:

Anonymous Bill Carroll said...

"there is now a growing number of congregations and dioceses in the USA and Canada who believe that their Anglican identity is at risk."

What a horrifying, fearful world-view, where something as basic as one's Anglican (or Christian?) identity can be contaminated by intercommunion with those who believe differently. It reminds me of myself when I was a young Christian, which was the last time that evangelicalism had any attraction for me. The Kingdom of God is far bigger than the Church and it is certainly bigger than the Anglican Communion. If the Anglican Communion of the future has any value, it will be Kingdom centered and far less concerned with Anglican "identity."

It also reminds me of the belief of some that one can be "recruited" into the gay lifestyle. So much insecurity about one's own sexual identity. Difference is not to be feared. It is to be observed. Difference makes life interesting.

If we had a little more confidence in who we are, don't you think that we could be with those who disagree without worrying about a risk to our own identity.

I know that I will remain Anglican in any meaningful sense in which I ever was, no matter what the Archbishop of Canterbury and others might do. Being Anglican is a matter of historical identity. We are never exhaustively defined by the past. Some of us have different responses to the challenges of the present. There would be no risk to these congregations if the right and its allies were not working like hell to exclude us, defying all Anglican precedent and ethos, not to mention some of the sharp things Jesus says about power.

This seems a case of poor self-differentiation to me. Could someone manage an I statement here? As in this is what I believe, rather than this is what we believe or you must believe X.

I for one believe in what we are doing and will continue to advocate moving forward until those who form their identity by exclusion exclude themselves. I won't let them define me, either positively or negatively.

9/22/2006 10:17 PM  
Anonymous J.C. Fisher said...

"At risk", indeed...

It also reminds me of the belief of some that one can be "recruited" into the gay lifestyle.

Or puritan fears re "contamination".

Or Donatist fears that, "If my priest/bishop ______ [or don't ______], then I might not receive Christ in the sacraments---my salvation, ergo, might be at risk."

And yet, what is the message of Our God, again and again and again and again and again?

FEAR NOT!!!

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us. If anyone says says "I love God," and hates their brother/sister, that one is a liar; for one who does not love their brother/sister whom that one has seen, cannot love God whom that one has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that one who loves God should love their brother/sister also. I John 4:18-21

May we ALL love more and fear less!

9/23/2006 7:29 PM  
Blogger Phil S. said...

bill carrol and fisher;

With respect, I think you are misreading both the passage in question and conservatives in general, if you think that what conservative Anglicans mean by the risk to their Anglican identity is about a fear of contamination from homosexuals or a Donatist fastideousness. The key phrase that bill left off was the subordinate clause just preceeding the passage quoted. Let me quote the sentence in full

We grieve that, because of the doctrinal conflict in parts of our Communion, there is now a growing number of congregations and dioceses in the USA and Canada who believe that their Anglican identity is at risk and are appealing to us so that they might remain faithful members of the Communion.

What this passage suggests to me is that the foundations of this argument is about doctrine and its application. The simple fact is that it is as wrong to reduce conservative opposition to homosexual ordination and marriage to mere homophobia and ignore conservative arguments as it is to suggest that liberals just don't care about the Bible and are merely emoting.

The simple fact is that men and women of good character stand on either side of the debate and it is fundamentally wrong to ascribe these less than worthy motives for the other side's beliefs. This is a time for clarity, folks, not for reaction. We don't have to agree, but how would it be if we just drop the polemic and, finally, sit down and talk.

Peace,
Phil

9/24/2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Bill Carroll said...

Phil,

I can see from where you sit that it might look like I am misrepresenting the conservative side. There is not one conservative side, just as there is not one liberal side. From where I sit, one's Anglican identity is a historical identity, not a doctrinal one. Anglicans do not have any doctrinal standards which set us apart from other orthodox Christians. Nor should we.

I can assure you that the conservatives that I have known have seen me be quite respectful of the reasons that they take themselves to have for their position. Ultimately, I don't think there could be any good or convincing reason for the position and doubt that I could ever be convinced otherwise.

If conservatives would quit abusing global Anglicanism to avoid the governance of the Episcopal Church, you would find no one more accomodating than me to their right to dissent and follow their conscience.


When I embraced my vocation as a priest, I accepted a call to serve all God's people, including those who disagree with me.

9/24/2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger Phil S. said...

bill;

Thanks for your comments. I wasn't trying to suggest you were being unkind to conservatives as a habitual thing (I couldn't know that from your post), but to call you on a post which I was fairly sure was written in the heat of the moment. You've addressed that, so fair enough.

Just a couple of comments. I should note that, as a conservative, I have stayed in my church, the Anglican Church of Canada, throughout the last three tumultuous years and have no plans to leave. I remain in communion with my bishop and my Primate, even though my own position on several issue is at odds with theirs. I understand the impulse to leave, but I, also, believe that schism is hardly ever the right course of action. The difficult in this situation is figured out just who is entering in schism and who isn't. There is, after all, an argument with some validity that TEC and (potentially) AC of Canada are breaking into schism through their actions on the same-sex issue.

While I agree with you that the Agnlican identity is, at least in part, a historic one, I think I hae to challenge you on the doctrinal comment you made. Not so much that I think we need a Summa in the lines of Aquinas, but that your comment that Anglicans really need no other standard than that of orthodox Crhistians is one that I find interesting. I find it interesting because many orthodox Christians would have (and do!) serious problems with the position of the TEC and AC of Canada on the homosexuality issue. Could you explain your point a bit more because, to my eyes, this seems to work better on my side of the fence :).

As for the liberal position, I think I'm in a similar place as you are with the conservatives. I have heard the arguments and I'm unconvinced. I'm not sure I can see an argument which will convince me. Yet, I keep in the discussion in the hope that, perhaps, the Holy Spirit will move and square the circle or something. Stranger things have happened.

Peace,
Phil

9/24/2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous David Huff said...

Ahhh, so that explains it :) I had always wondered how Phil usually maintains a sense of courtesy, even while he disagrees with most of us. Well, if I may indulge in a bit of stereotyping, it's easy to explain now - he's Canadian!

Yeah, I know, I know... but on a trip up to Ontario last Fall, I really was terribly impressed. Canada is by far a more sane and, well...polite country than my own - even when they disagree with each other. Not only would I go back in a heartbeat for another holiday, but it wouldn't take much to convince me to live up there, either (it'd take a bit more for my wife to consent to that - she hates cold weather ;)

9/24/2006 9:17 PM  
Blogger Phil S. said...

Well, thanks for the kind words, both about me and about Canada. I must say that, for all my Canadianess, I've been commenting on this issue (well, the same sex issue) on several Anglican boards for about eight years and have long since come to the realization that, if we expect to get anywhere in this discussion, we have to listen to each other. The real pity is that we really stopped doing that around GC 2003. There are good reasons for that, of course, but look around and see where that has gotten us.

As for cold weather and Ontario, if you were in the southern part of the province (I live in Toronto), you passed through the banana belt of Canada (with the possible exception of BC) as my Winnipeg-born wife points out. She barely concedes that we have a winter in Toronto :).

Seriously, if you find your way up to Ontario again, let me know. If we can work it, I'd be happy to meet up.

Peace,
Phil

9/25/2006 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Bill Carroll said...

Phil,

I'd argue that the quadrilateral is enough. Our doctrinal statement is meant to be a statement of the features of the undivided Church: the Holy Scriptures, the Nicene creed as the "sufficient statement of faith," the historic episcopate, and the two great sacraments of the Gospel. Of course, it doesn't solve the problem about whether its commitment to Scripture entails a commitment to the "conservative" position on sexuality (is there just one?). I personally don't think we need a formalized covenant or expanded hierarchy to keep us together. If I wanted that, I'd join a confessional church (like the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) or a Church with a global hierarchy (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church). But it may well be true that nothing with comparable georgraphic and cultural diversity of the current Anglican Communion can be kept together without these moves. But really can it be kept together with these moves? It seems to me that what Kigali shows, among other things, is that the self-proclaimed Global South (excluding provinces that disagree with them stipulatively) and its allies in the Global North and Global Middle are willing to sacrifice universality, i.e. Catholicity, for purity.

What I hear from you is not so much Canadian-ness as Anglicanism, albeit of a more conservative hue than my own. The spokespeople for "conservatives" are much more Calvinist and neo-Puritan and in some cases Pentecostal. They have as much right to the label as anybody else, I suppose, and I wouldn't for my part exclude them from the family. But if they do successfully insist on conformity as the price for retaining the name, I have much less reason to contend over this particular piece of real estate. I will be an Anglican in any sense that ever mattered to me, sharing in the theological legacy of Gore, Temple, and Ramsey, the liturgical tradition of the books of common prayer etc., as well as a certain historical legacy (amgiguous since it is tied up with empire). But I have no interest in signing up for a global Communion with enforcement powers. It's a bad idea.

I will continue the conversation. That's what Anglicans do. Until it becomes a monologue in which my voice is no longer welcome. But I won't yield for a minute to those who claim an authority over the Episcopal Church which was never theirs to claim. At most they had a certain moral persuasive authority, and their arguments have not been found convincing.

On the ground, I have worked very carefully to be a pastor for all, but I have also preached full inclusion without apology. It's what all my training and for that matter catechesis taught me to do.

9/25/2006 7:53 AM  
Anonymous David Huff said...

Phil,

Matter of fact, we were in your neck of the woods. Stayed in Niagara Falls, but took several day trips up around Toronto with our (then 8-yr old) son - the Zoo, Canada's Wonderland, etc... Oh, and Marineland there in Niagara Falls (Ye gods, I can still hear their jingle in my head - "Everybody loves Marineland!" Nice park, my son got a big kick out of it)

Neat city, Toronto. Someone remarked that it's like New York if it were run by the Swiss. I chuckled, and responded, "No, run by the Canadians" :)

9/25/2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger Phil S. said...

bill;

I agree with you that the quadrilaterial really should be enough as a doctrinal statement. I also agree with you that it leaves the debate over a theology of sexuality and all that entails entirely up in the air. In itself, that doesn't bother me. I continue to believe that the conservative case presents a better case than the liberal, but I concede this isn't proven to the point that we have a large number of liberals conceding this. I think we can take it as read that the opposite remains true as well. As for as the theological argument, we are still in stalemate.

Yet, where I think the need for a Covenant is in the regulation of relations between provinces. I recognize that provinces have a right to act within their provinces in the ways they see fit, but we would be very much mistaken if we tried to argue that those decisions won't have an impact outside those provinces. They manifestly do. This is why I really don't buy the jurisdictional argument set out by TEC. There is no doubt that they have a jurisdiction and that, under ordinary circumstances, is that. Yet, we also have to recoginize that we are part of the body of Christ and that what we do has an effect elsewhere.

The simple fact is that we need a definition of our mutual responsibilities to each other for the simple reason that we have obviously forgotten about them. GC 2003 permitted the ordination of Gene Robinson, despite knowing how much of a stumbling block they are setting in relation to other more conservatives provinces. The Global South are increasingly interfering in TEC's provincial affairs, knowing well that they are poaching. This does not look to me like a church which is keeping its ecclesiological house in order.

I do understand the fears of liberals that any Covenant is going to make intolerable doctrinal demands on them. I hope it doesn't because that will pretty much ensure a split. What I hope for is a rather more Windsor like solution in which we figure out how to live with each other amid disagreement, without breaking into schism either by undertaking divisive measures like the ordination of Gene Robinson or undertaking schism like the 'Continuing Anglican' churches.

You will notice that I'm not even approaching the same-sex issue. I'm not approaching it because I don't think it is the essential issue for the Communion today. What is more important is how are we supposed to avoid schism. A Covenant, I hope, may help do this, at least, because we will know the boundary lines of what is and is not okay in our interactions as a church.

david;

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Ontario. I haven't been to Marineland for decades, but I'm glad that they are still there and doing well. Perhaps when my son gets older (he's due in December), we'll go.

Peace,
Phil

9/25/2006 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Bill Carroll said...

Not only do I believe that preventing the ordination of Gene Robinson would have been an intolerable doctrinal demand, it would have been immoral. Better to break up the Communion.

What I see from the more conservative provinces is an unwillingness to live with disagreement and a desire to impose their will on others. We might have done something that we knew it would be difficult for others to accept. We did not require that they do likewise. I personally find the restrictive policies of other provinces to be scandalous, but I don't break communion over it.

Why should the discernment only be carried out by Lambeth? Can God not speak in an absolutely binding way to a province, a diocese, a parish, or an individual? What I see happening looks from my perspective like a concerted effort to stifle the Holy Spirit.

9/26/2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger Phil S. said...

bill;

I recognize that you believe it would be immoral not to ordain Bishop Robinson. Yet, to a conservative, it is also immoral to have done so. So, we are at an impasse here which explains the situation we find ourselves in. Both sides are willing to split on this issue, so is there any wonder why that is precisely where TEC is?

In passing, can I note this position also means that you can't argue that conservatives are making a mountain out of a molehill. If liberals are ready to split on the issue, is there any wonder conservatives are?

As for one side imposing its will on the other, can I point out that this is precisely the perception of conservatives? That, by ordaining Bishop Robinson ,TEC was imposing a candidate which much of the communion believes was ineligible for the office of bishop in the first place. That it is imposing a precedent which liberals in all provinces will attempt to emulate. What liberals are forgetting is that the ramifications of a decision like this radiates out of the provinces, whether they are intended to or not.

Besides, if we take seriously the suggestion that this ordination was a prophetic action, inspired by the Holy Spirit, it was, indeed, meant to affect other provinces. That is, TEC was deliberately acted to ordain a practicing gay bishop for the purpose of moral suasion. Okay, fair enough, that is your right. Yet, are you surprised when your opponents say that you are imposing your own views. You really can't have it both ways.

Must run, but that is the gist of what I was trying to say.

9/27/2006 9:44 AM  

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