Monday, April 26, 2010

Anglican Covenant no longer enough for Global South.

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.

Of course they’re unhappy that we’re about to ordain Mary Glasspool as a bishop. The sting is in the tail. Here they suggest that everyone who signs the Anglican Covenant must also be in compliance with Lambeth 1.10. It’s like a stuck record (remember those?) which just keeps going round and round and coming back to the same thing. And so we keep pointing out the irony that the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1:10 says a lot more than they want it to. There’s probably no Anglican Province which is in ‘compliance’ – those who condemn homosexuality are not listening to the experience of gay people while those who listen to us also accept us as full members and do not see this as contravening Scripture.

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.




Obadiah Slope said...

The Global South coalition and Gafcon are not the same group. Many members of the global South attended lambeth and not the gafcon conference.

Episcopal Bear said...

Yah know, if I was seeking a secretive, overbearing, patriarchal, anti-intellectual, abusive hierarchy, I'd have simply bypassed the Episcopal Church and gone straight for the "tender mercies" of Rome.

But I wasn't, so I didn't, and have found in TEC my first spiritual home in years. Consequently, I'm not about to let a small handful of ignorant, arrogant, IRD-funded reactionaries blame MY church for THEIR irrational terror.


So here's what the AAC's David Anderson has to say in his most recent newsletter:

"Some Anglican official sources announce that the Communion has 80 million members, but the truth is far from that, and the majority is in the orthodox provinces of the Global South. Take a look at the numbers and you will agree that there are actually more like 60 million. The Global South makes up 50 million of them, and of that 50 million, at least 45 million are standing firm in their faith and holding off Western revisionism. So the numbers are essentially 45+ million vs. 13+ million, with some too close to call. It's time for the orthodox Anglicans to recover their Communion."

Sounds like hostile takeover time to me! (And an Anglican Communion without Canterbury? Really? And then WE get to be the revisionists?)