The Reverend Dr. Caroline Hall
Former Integrity VP of International Affairs
The bishops of the Global South (read GAFCON) have just completed a meeting in Singapore. As is customary they have provided a closing statement. Most of it is unremarkable and you can read it all here.
The Global South bishops also keep trying to make the Primates Meeting the highest authority in the Communion and to cut the Anglican Consultative Council (which includes lay people) out of the picture, so now they describe the Primates Meeting as responsible for “Faith and Order”. This is not part of the original purpose - the Primates Meeting was created for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation” nor is it the “enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” recommended by the 1998 Lambeth Conference. To say that the Primates Meeting is responsible for “Faith and Order” is to imagine a completely different Anglican Communion - one which is a single church with a hierarchical structure rather than the communion of churches which it is today. It’s never going to be a single church because no Primate wants to give up power.
So where next? The Global South bishops commend those Primates who are refusing to participate in meetings with the North American reprobates, they say the proposed Covenant is not good enough and they want to change the structure of the Anglican Communion. They justify their demands by saying that they represent the majority of the Anglican Communion. It is a democratic premise that the majority gets their way. But what the Global South wants is a less democratic structure. What the Global South wants is to get their own way and send the more democratic US and Canada packing. Would England be far behind?
In their final paragraph they lament “Over the last 20 years we have been distracted by conflicts and controversies that have kept us from effectively fulfilling the Great Commission.” Yet they keep revisiting and adding to the conflicts and controversies. Might I respectfully suggest that they stop allowing themselves to be distracted and concentrate on fulfilling the Great Commission in their own countries so that we can get on with fulfilling the Great Commission in our own way?
The Reverend Dr. Caroline Hall (‘Caro’) is a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP). She grew up in the Church of England and had a varied career in social work, education and business in England, Scotland and the US before ordination. Her PhD was earned through the University of Leeds, UK.