Cairo meeting boosts Welby
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has bolstered his wavering support from overseas church leaders following a closed-door meeting last week in Cairo with Asian, African and South American archbishops.
The day after the House of Bishops approved its Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage, the Most Rev Justin Welby met in private with the steering committee of the Global South Primates at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo to explain the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Accompanied by his director of reconciliation, Canon David Porter, Mr Welby alleviated fears the Church of England would be changing its teaching on the morality of homosexual practice by permitting the blessing of samesex unions and allowing married gay clergy amongst its ranks. The archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda had publicly WARNED the archbishop in recent months that they were prepared to break with Canterbury should the Church of England follow the British government’s lead on gay marriage.
Sources tell The Church of England Newspaper that while the overseas primates did not relent in their demands that Archbishop Welby take action to discipline the Episcopal Church of the USA, they were pleased with the Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance and applauded the course taken by the Church of England and in a statement released on 20 February applauded the “faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.”
The statement, which received the backing of all but the Church of Nigeria who abstained, withdraws pressure on Mr Welby from the spectre of the Anglican Mission in England – the shadow organization backed by the 2013 Gafcon meeting in Nairobi to support traditionalists should the Church of England slide into chaos.
The 14-15 February meeting was conducted in secrecy. Queried by the CEN as to the archbishop’s activities when Justin Welby was spotted on the ground in Africa, Lambeth Palace declined to answer. A spokesman for the archbishop later confirmed the Archbishop had visited Cairo at the invitation of the Bishop of Egypt Dr Mouneer Anis to “hear from the Global South Steering Committee.”
However, the Lambeth Palace spokesman said this meeting was not out of the ordinary as “he is visiting all the Primates of the Anglican Communion to listen to their perspectives.”
In its statement the Global South group welcomed the “frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.”
However they asked Archbishop Welby to convene a Primates’ Meeting in 2015, but at this meeting they requested the agenda focus on the “deteriorating situation facing the Communion.”
The Anglican Communion was not working, they said, and was “currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional ‘instruments of unity’.”
“We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report,” the Global South leaders said.