Cairo meet­ing boosts Welby

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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