Fulcrum comment on the 2003 Primates Meeting (2)

Fulcrum welcomes the fact that the Primates have found a way to keep the
global Anglican Communion together, even if it is simply "a holding job".

A lot can be accomplished in a year and we hope the promised Commission will
have an important educational role, both about issues of leadership and
sexual ethics in church life and helping Anglicans better understand what it
means to be in communion and the complexities involved in breaking it.

It is right that the Primates sounded a note of censure of the Episcopal
Church USA. The American Church clearly acted in the face of a call by the
Primates not to take unilateral action on an issue that is divisive for
Anglicans globally. Their action reflects in its own way an unhelpful
American tendency to unilateral action in world affairs.

The most telling arguments against the American action were those advanced
by churches who are weak, isolated and on the margins of their own
societies. They spoke of the vulnerability they experienced in the matter.
There are untold Christians for whom being linked to the Anglican Communion
is literally life-saving. Fulcrum notes with satisfaction that this is now
better understood by Western church leaders.

The corollary must be, however, that the break-up of the Anglican global
network is no solution to the kinds of problems that the American action put
them in. More than ever Anglicans need effective global connections and

Fulcrum reiterates that:

  • Sexual ethics are central to Christian discipleship, but the debate
    about this must take place within the context of the mission of the church and
    must not be allowed to become a distraction from that.
  • The unity of the church is important, not simply for its own sake
    but because it is essential to the church's mission.
  • The on-going unity of global Anglicanism is vital for many reasons,
    chiefly because it provides an international network of support for churches
    that are poor, isolated and on the margins of the societies in which they
    are set.
  • Anglicanism cannot afford to lose the voices of churches from south
    of the equator, where most of the churches are vibrant and growing while
    many northern hemisphere churches are in recession.
  • These churches can claim statistically to be the most representative
    of world Anglicanism as we know it - the average Anglican today is probably
    African, black and poor.

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