The 'End' of the Anglican Communion:
a Discussion with Inclusive Church
The communiqué and other significant theological papers from the recent Global South (GS) meeting in Kigali have once again highlighted the significance of developments in the Anglican Communion over recent decades for our life together. We are clearly witnessing the coming to theological and political maturity of Anglicanism's worldwide growth and perhaps experiencing the birth-pangs of a new way of being a global communion of churches. There is here much cause for encouragement but aspects of the Global South's approach are also causing major concern, especially in parts of Western churches. Along with the outcome of two meetings in the US (the inconclusive meeting in New York and the letter from bishops at Camp Allen identifying with Windsor and Communion teaching and including, for the first time, bishops who voted for Gene Robinson in 2003) the Kigali communiqué has apparently caused near-panic in some quarters, with Inclusive Church asking if we are seeing the end of the Communion, clearly understood not in terms of its coming to fulfilment through the world-wide growth of Anglicanism but in terms of it being finished.
The Inclusive Church statement (written by its Chair, Giles Goddard) and the GS documents to which it responds make evident just how serious are the differences and how wide is the gulf between Anglicans. They also signal how seriously - and how soon - we may face realignments that would bring about 'the end of the Communion' as we know it. The differences now becoming very clear relate not only to where we go from here but also understandings of where we are and how we got here.
The following offers an initial response to Giles Goddard's various points in the hope that, by dialogue and listening, we may in the months ahead come to understand better where different perspectives are coming from and whether they are ultimately irreconcilable within the same ecclesial structures. The paragraphs numbered in bold italics are the Inclusive Church statement which is then followed by a commentary and response
1.0 As a result of the statements issued by the meeting of the Primates of the "Global South" in Kigali, the Anglican Communion has been moved into completely new territory. We are presented with a situation where the possibility of dialogue between believing Christians is being closed down. Both the tone and the content of the communiqué of the Primates of the Global South reflect an understanding of the Church which is profoundly un-Anglican, and represents a radical departure from both our ecclesiology and our traditions. We are sleepwalking towards a new church, and unless the silent majority of Anglicans do not take action we will wake up find we have lost the Church and the Christianity we hold dear.
While there is little doubt that the statements from Kigali are a significant development, the idea that they move us into 'completely new territory' fails to acknowledge our recent history. It fails to recognise how many around the Communion - including the Lambeth Commission and the Primates (who three years ago spoke of 'tearing the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level') - have seen us in deep crisis. It also fails to recognise just how consistent the Global South have been ever since the election of Gene Robinson. Strange as it may appear to some, they have also, in some ways, actually been remarkably patient.
The proposal from Kigali is very similar to that first proposed in Nairobi prior to the emergency Primates' Meeting at Lambeth in 2003, nearly three years ago now. The Primates of the Global South there called for clear discipline of The Episcopal Church (TEC) by the Instruments. Emergency action would involve requiring TEC bishops rapidly to repudiate General Convention (GC) and reaffirm Communion teaching. Failure to do this would lead to their reduction to observer status within the Instruments. By Easter 2004, failing full repentance by TEC, those bishops committed to Communion teaching would be recognised as the true TEC.
Having failed to secure agreement to this as the immediate response at the Primates' Meeting, and instead allowed the Lambeth Commission to work, they reiterated their concerns in April 2004. In January 2005, before the Primates' Meeting at Dromantine and after the publication of the Windsor Report, the Global South Primates met again and stated:
We call on the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to take seriously the need for "repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ" (Windsor Report ) and move beyond informal expressions of regret for the effect of their actions to a genuine change of heart and mind. We are grieved that actions within both provinces have torn "the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level" and that to date there have been no concrete steps taken towards repentance and reconciliation. This indicates that they have chosen to walk apart from the rest of the Communion. Failing any substantial change of direction within the next three months (ie by 31 May 2005) the Global South Primates and the others who share our convictions would confirm that they have chosen to "walk alone" and follow another religion.
Again the Primates were persuaded by the wider Primates' Meeting at Dromantine not to pursue this course but to allow the Episcopal Church General Convention to give the official response of the province to Windsor. In the interim, as a recognition of the difficulties caused by its presence, TEC was asked to withdraw from the ACC until the next Lambeth Conference.
The Global South meeting in Egypt in November 2005 clearly signalled by its communiqué and subsequent letter to Archbishop Rowan the continued insistence on TEC's repentance and further strengthened their ties with the Network in TEC.
The statement from Kigali therefore should not be a surprise to any who have been genuinely listening to the Global South over the last three years. This is especially the case given the fact that at General Convention, in the judgment of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his advisors, "although some aspects of these [Windsor] requests have been fully dealt with, there remain some that have not". It may well be that the Global South believe that the last three years simply demonstrate that they are living out the patience and forebearance of God towards us but that the American church is misunderstanding this and showing contempt for kindness, tolerance and patience which was intended to lead to repentance (cf Romans 2:4).
Does this mean that "the possibility of dialogue between believing Christians is being closed down"? It cannot be denied that the rhetoric from some in the Global South can sadly give this impression. However, the same criticism can be applied to other voices in the Communion as well. For most if not all of those in the Global South the problem is that dialogue is desired but can only take place within the parameters agreed by the wider Communion and its instruments (ie Lambeth I.10 and Windsor). For them, the actions of the Episcopal Church at GC 2003 represented a determination to end dialogue and proceed by unilateral action against the mind of the Communion and wider church. In the words of Archbishop Rowan to General Synod in February 2005, debating the Windsor Report, one of the main challenges we have been facing is that "An action that appears to foreclose the outcome of a debate or discussion doesn't actually breed confidence in a common language in a common frame of reference".
Even the document "The Road to Lambeth" which arose from within CAPA and is referred to in the Kigali communiqué, includes a recognition of the need for reflection and repentance in the African churches in relation to homosexuality. It also, however, clearly states, "What we are not prepared to do is to suspend the unchangeable standard of God as a part of this conversation. Let the Western churches first affirm God's plan for the sexes, then let us dialogue". While some will insist such affirmation should be a wholehearted personal conviction of the truth of I.10, it is widely accepted that this is not necessary. What is needed in order to maintain the unity of the Communion and restore the bonds of affection is simply a clear and unequivocal affirmation to uphold that teaching in the church's internal ordering while there is dialogue as to whether it needs to be changed.
While the tone of the communiqué is certainly not that of diplomatic, civil-servant English, it is difficult to defend the claim that it reveals an "understanding of the Church which is profoundly un-Anglican, and represents a radical departure from both our ecclesiology and our traditions". It is, after all, not that different from (indeed in some ways slightly more cautious and polite than) what one finds in parts of the New Testament (eg Galatians or even, perhaps especially, on the lips of Jesus) . It is also simply painting - more starkly - the situation described in the final paragraph of the Windsor Report.
The deeper concern expressed by Inclusive Church is clearly that "We are sleepwalking towards a new church" and "if the silent majority of Anglicans do not take action we will wake up find we have lost the Church and the Christianity we hold dear". Here we see that many in the Western churches are perhaps only just beginning to wake up to the church that God has been building around the world in and through Anglican churches. It began to become clear at the 1988 Lambeth Conference, was very evident in 1998, and continues to grow, not least in places like Nigeria. That many are still, however, not awake to this reality is evident in the final sentence which suggests that 'the silent majority of Anglicans' are still understood to share a Western, broadly 'liberal' or 'inclusive', understanding of the Church and Christianity. While the claim of those in Kigali to represent 70% of Anglicans may need to be more nuanced, their vision of the Church and the Christianity they hold dear - biblically based and reformed catholic in order - is undoubtedly where the 'majority of Anglicans' are. It is also significantly where the majority of growing parishes and dioceses are theologically in both the US and England. Unless we in England can recognise and come to terms with (and perhaps even learn to welcome) the new reality of global Anglicanism - challenging as it may be to the remnants of our colonialist mindset - we will not recognise how God is at work among Anglicans today.
2.0 "One church, one bishop, one territory" is fundamental to our Anglican polity and identity; to say that it is now "outdated" is to deny the whole history of Anglicanism . To say that many of the Primates can either not be in communion or to be in "impaired communion" with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC) represents a theological and ecclesiological nonsense, The sacrament of Holy Communion is a sacrament given to us by God which is not capable of impairment. We trust in God and give thanks to Him for the gift of communion; it is as the Body of Christ that we exist.
For those in Kigali (and those in England who, to varying degrees, share their concerns and vision), there is little doubt that 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' will be considered more fundamental to Anglican polity and identity than 'one church, one bishop, one territory'. What many still have clearly failed to acknowledge is that, in the words of the Windsor Report, "The overwhelming response from other Christians both inside and outside the Anglican family has been to regard these developments [in North America, especially GC 2003] as departures from genuine, apostolic Christian faith" (para 28). Whether or not one agrees with it, that is the judgment of the Communion and the Communion and the provinces within it cannot continue as if that made no difference to its life.
To demand that, in the face of this reality, territoriality and mono-episcopacy are inviolable and must determine our response is to major on what is comparatively minor. Even today - without the added complication of local churches being widely perceived as having 'walked apart' or 'departed from genuine apostolic, Christian faith' - there are numerous places (not least Europe) where 'one church, one bishop, one territory' is not the reality. For much of the history of the Church of England many diocesan bishops exercised jurisdiction in places beyond what we would consider their diocese's strict geographical boundaries. Inclusive Church's vision here is therefore remarkably conservative and Christendom-shaped and yet also (as often with conservatism) distorting of historical reality.
While there are currently real dangers - especially in North America - of serious disorder (hence Windsor's valid concerns about boundary-crossing, though that was notably modified by the Primates at Dromantine), it is in part to limit this threat of anarchy that some now talk of creating new structures. There is no sign that anyone seriously advocates the nightmare scenario Archbishop Rowan recently spoke of in which we "see the Anglican Church becoming like the Orthodox Church, where in some American cities you see the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church. I don't want to see in the cities of America the American Anglican Church, the Nigerian Anglican Church, the Egyptian Anglican Church and the English Anglican Church in the same street". Any new 'parallel' structures must therefore be viewed as provisional, emergency measures. But that is not to say that we cannot and must not be open to new models. It is interesting to note that as far back as 2003, before the confirmation of Gene Robinson at General Convention, Archbishop Rowan was writing that "I suspect that those who speak of new alignments and new patterns, of the weakening of territorial jurisdiction and the like, are seeing the situation pretty accurately" (New Directions). That is increasingly proving accurate and, whatever the future holds, we must recognise that, as the Archbishop said in his 'Challenge and Hope' reflection, 'there is no way in which the Anglican Communion can remain unchanged by what is happening at the moment'.
Inclusive Church's strong rejection of any language of being 'out of communion' or in 'impaired communion' as "a theological and ecclesiological nonsense" fails to recognise that, although an area needing much more thought and discussion both in terms of theology and law, such phrases have been standard in Anglicanism and indeed wider ecumenical circles for some time. Although related to a shared eucharist, the language of 'being in communion' and 'degrees of communion' is not restricted to this aspect of our common life in the body of Christ.
3.0 The proposal to create two parallel jurisdictions within the Anglican Communion, separate but both nominally Anglican through their relationship with Canterbury, rides roughshod over the Instruments of Unity and over the Windsor process. It also represents a misunderstanding of the nature of Anglican identity. If we are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury we cannot be out of communion with one another. But we remember that many of the primates of the "Global South" absented themselves from a Eucharist to which they were invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Dromantine Conference in 2005. We draw the conclusion from that that their allegiance to Canterbury is at best skin deep, and subject to his confirmation of their particular position on matters of human sexuality. We also note that the communiqué did not involve or receive the assent of the Archbishop of Cape Town and the Province of Southern Africa, and we wonder how many other Provinces' assent has been assumed instead of confirmed.
There are serious questions to be raised about any proposal to create 'two parallel jurisdictions within the Anglican Communion' - especially if this is proffered as a positive and permanent solution (something rejected by Windsor, para 154). However, the Inclusive Church account here fails to do justice either to the current situation or to the communiqué. The Kigali communiqué significantly does not seek to 'ride roughshod over the Instruments of Unity and over the Windsor process'. It explicitly states that the Global South will develop "a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion" and the Windsor Report itself recognised that its process could end in failure and "withdrawal from membership". The communiqué does not talk of 'two parallel jurisdictions' but of "the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA". That is an important distinction and a much less specific proposal than that understood by Inclusive Church. The ecclesiastical structure could be something closer to a 'church within a church' than a 'parallel province'. Its rationale is that the failure of GC to respond adequately to the Communion's requests to walk together on a path of reconciliation means that there is - from the viewpoint of the GS - no longer any obvious 'structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA'.
The GS speak of a future recognition of this entity as a structure of the Communion. That clearly is not simply recognition by a few provinces but would require recognition by Communion Instruments, presumably Lambeth 2008 and/or the ACC. It must not be forgotten that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself has spoken of the possible development in future years of 'constituent' and 'associate' status and of this distinction developing not just between existing provinces but within them. What the Global South has said is compatible with that vision.
Inclusive Church claim that this proposal "also represents a misunderstanding of the nature of Anglican identity" because "if we are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury we cannot be out of communion with one another". This opens up a complex and contentious area of the transitivity of ecclesial communion and recognition: the extent to which, if A and B are both churches in ecclesial communion with C, they are also, by definition, in communion with one another. Here the experience of ecumenism suggests the reality is not as simple as suggested here (a brief introduction to these and other important issues is found in Norman Doe's important paper for the Lambeth Commission, Communion and Autonomy in Anglicanism, here at pp 6ff). It is also the case that there are already churches in communion with the see of Canterbury (eg the Porvoo churches) that are not members of the Anglican Communion. Though raising serious ecclesiological questions, it is therefore not strictly impossible to envisage a situation within which there are two ecclesiastical structures in the US, both of them in some sense in communion with Canterbury, but only one being the 'recognised structure of the Anglican Communion'. This is because the Communion is not simply 'all the churches in communion with Canterbury' and would be even less likely to be defined solely in those terms under any new covenant.
Inclusive Church's reference here to Dromantine again highlights that the current communiqué has not in fact moved us into completely new territory but is rather mapping out territory we have been in for some time. It also shows that it is indeed sadly very possible for Primates to all be in full communion with Canterbury - as they were at Dromantine - but not with each other. While some Global South Primates were able in good conscience to receive communion with Frank Griswold at Dromantine, others were not until he had shown his willingness to walk the path of repentance proposed by Windsor. To caricature this as a political ploy signalling 'skin deep' allegiance to Canterbury fails to take seriously the possibility that it was a sincere attempt (which many may judge misguided) to put into practice apostolic and indeed dominical injunctions about how to treat unrepentant sinners in the Christian community (eg Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11).
The final reference to South Africa highlights a possible problem with the communiqué and aspects of the still developing pattern and structures of Global South political organisation (which would not be unprecedented). Nobody should seriously claim that the Global South as presently constituted is perfect or that it represents Anglicanism's fulfilment ! However, much here still remains unclear at present (and the response of Archbishop John Chew offers an alternative account of events in Kigali). Whatever happened, It is peculiar - not least given past gatherings of the Global South and some controversy over subsequent statements - that nobody from South Africa enquired about whether a communiqué would be issued or in what form or under what names. According to Archbishop John Chew's statement it now appears that there was no secrecy about the intention to issue a communiqué. It is also important to recognise that the communiqué is ambiguous rather than misleading and deceptive in that (unlike the letter from Egypt) there are no named signatories but simply a note of provinces represented at the meeting.
4.0 Those who believe in a church which is both inclusive and welcoming have
until now sought to respond to the actions of the Primates of the "Global South" with reason and restraint. As a result, factions within our Church have pushed harder and harder at the bounds of communion. Their proposals now bear only a tangential resemblance to the Anglicanism which has until now defined and developed the Communion.
One of the problems of the last three years has perhaps been that in fact there has been little direct dialogue between 'those who believe in a church which is both inclusive and welcoming' (though that of course is a description few Christians would reject) and 'the Primates of the "Global South"'. As a result, there has often been misunderstanding and caricature on both sides.
The description by Inclusive Church that follows appears to accuse the Global South of behaviour - pushing harder and harder at the bounds of communion - which the Communion as a whole has judged to be more applicable to those in the Episcopal Church who, acting out of a desire to be inclusive and welcoming, 'breached the bonds of communion'. The final sentence certainly needs to be more specific about which proposals fall under this criticism (especially given the assessments of the Windsor Report on events since 2003 and the previous paragraph's debatable construal on the communiqué). It must also take on board the reality that we are undergoing a fundamental shift in the nature of Anglicanism and "neither the liberal nor the conservative can simply appeal to a historic identity that doesn't correspond with where we now are" (Challenge and Hope).
5.0 We note too that significant amounts of funding for many of the organisations which have led on these - notably the American Anglican Council, Anglican Communion Network and Anglican Mainstream - have come from the Ahmanson family and other non-Anglican, politically conservative foundations based in the United States. (http://www.edow.org/follow/part1.html) This funding has enabled the due processes of the Anglican Communion to be subverted and hijacked, raising issues of family life and human sexuality to a prominence within the life of our church which is unjustified and contrary to the Gospel values of love and justice.
There are valid questions to be raised about funding sources in our increasingly politicised environment (especially if they are non-Anglican and politically motivated). However, great care is also needed in this area on a number of counts. Firstly, there remains considerable debate as the extent to which the bodies named are dependent on finance from these sources and to what extent their financial backers control their actions. Secondly, similar questions could also be raised about the funding of those opposed to these networks. Thirdly, the focus should really be more on the beliefs and actions of the groups concerned rather than their alleged financial backers.
To claim that 'the due processes of the Anglican Communion' have been 'subverted and hijacked' again seems to level a serious accusation at the wrong party. It is the Episcopal Church which has consistently disregarded the appeals of the Communion (and indeed its own past resolutions such as that in 1991 stating that these issues 'should not be resolved by the Episcopal Church on its own'). As noted above, the Global South has, on at least two previous occasions, issued strong statements but then worked with the Instruments and gone at a slower pace for the sake of the unity of the Communion.
The claim that issues of human sexuality have been given a prominence within the life of the church that is unjustified, although having rhetorical force, avoids the substantive issue in dispute. It also forgets the fact that it can often be what to some are seemingly minor practices (eg indulgences at the time of the Reformation) that highlight more fundamental theological issues. Here, for many, the question is serious precisely because part of the church has determined to bless and commend patterns of behaviour which the wider church has judged to be sinful and unbiblical and many believe risk leading to exclusion from God's kingdom. There are also deeper questions about the whole theological (or non-theological/idolatrous) culture of the American Church, powerfully examined by Ephraim Radner and Philip Turner in their recent work The Fate of Communion. Faced with such weighty issues, dismissal of these serious concerns about recent actions focussed on matters of sexuality as simply 'contrary to the Gospel values of love and justice' is to sidestep a whole raft of serious theological and moral questions and seek comfort and identity in shibboleths.
6.0 We have noted with concern that although the Archbishop of Canterbury
has implicitly on a number of occasions publicly been critical of the actions of TEC - for example in his recent Pastoral Letter he has as yet not been critical of the very serious breaches of the Instruments of Unity by the Church of Nigeria; for example, the creation of a Bishop in the United States in complete contravention of Windsor guidelines on provincial boundaries. Neither has he challenged the actions of the Church of Nigeria in its vociferous support of the criminalisation of homosexuality in Nigeria despite his condemnation of homophobia on several occasions.
The statements of the Archbishop of Canterbury have been careful and cautious and more balanced than this summary suggests. As it notes, the public criticism of TEC has itself been more implicit than explicit. His regular condemnations of homophobia (many noted here) have been seen by many as a similarly implicit criticism of actions such as those in Nigeria. He did however speak more directly about that situation to Simon Mayo in December 2005 and explicitly addressed the question of his limited public comment in his Guardian interview of 21 March (giving a strong signal he was privately questioning various Nigerian actions).
7.0 We note that the communiqué from the Primates of the "Global South" identifies the Church of England as being compromised by its attitude towards the civil partnership legislation in this country. We believe it is important in this context for the Church of England to be clear on its current practice. Namely, that hundreds if not thousands of same-gender partnerships have been celebrated over the past thirty years, in churches,
by priests and deacons. Further, that there have been, and in the future no doubt will be homosexual bishops in relationships within our church. Any Covenant, therefore, which excludes members of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada will have also to exclude the Church of England. (http://www.episcopalmajorityonline.org)
The communiqué nowhere refers to the Church of England or civil partnerships and so this paragraph is both confused and confusing. It presumably refers to a part of the 'Road to Lambeth' document which is a CAPA document that the Kigali meeting received and commended for wider reflection but which (as Michael Poon has subsequently noted) must not be treated on a par with the communiqué. As the South African primate has made clear, "Our 'commending' should not be interpreted as 'endorsing' the text as it currently stands".
The description offered here of the Church of England, although having elements of truth, is partial and disputed. In particular, it fails to recognise that, in as much as it is true, the actions concerned are a departure from the Church of England's teaching and discipline and have never been supported by either the House of Bishops or General Synod. In that sense the Church of England remains in a category distinct from that of TEC. It is certainly not perfect. It has not lived up to its own (and the Communion's) standards fully. It is also doubtless guilty in places of the sins of compromise, hypocrisy and duplicity. However, it has not changed the standard it teaches and by which it expects Christians, especially church leaders, to live. For that reason, and given that we as yet have no covenant proposal, it seems rash and presumptuous to assert that "any Covenant, therefore, which excludes members of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada will have also to exclude the Church of England". The reality is more likely that in the Church of England as in other provinces, as Archbishop Rowan noted, 'given that lines of division run within local Churches as well as between them...it [the covenant] could mean the need for local Churches to work at ordered and mutually respectful separation between 'constituent' and 'associated' elements'.
8.0 In the light of what is being produced by the "Global South" we have the
following questions for which we request urgent clarification from the
Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion Office
8.1 Will they confirm that all Bishops duly elected or appointed and with
current responsibilities in the Communion will be invited to the 2008
Lambeth Conference? There can be no other way to ensure that those loyal to
the principles of Anglicanism are duly and properly involved in the life of
8.2 If "Alternative Primatial Oversight" is granted for the Dioceses seeking
it in the United States, what equivalent oversight will be offered to LGBT
Christians experiencing danger and discrimination in Nigeria and other parts
8.3 What structures exist to permit the selection of an "alternative" to the
Presiding Bishop of TEC to attend Primates' meetings?
8.4 Is the development of parallel jurisdictions acceptable to the ACO? If
it is, then what is to stop the development of more jurisdictions on other
8.5 The "Global South" Primates appear to be seeking to pre-empt the
Covenant process by preparing a draft with the clear intention of requiring
assent to confessional propositions related to homosexuality. What
implications does this have for the process of agreeing a Covenant which
recognises the depth and breadth of Anglicanism, both Catholic and Reformed?
8.6 What brief was given to the Bishops of Durham and Winchester in their
recent attendance at a meeting of Bishops of TEC?
While these questions are addressed to the Archbishop and ACO, some comment is possible on a few of them.
(8.1) The ACC and Lambeth have already made clear, according to the Living Church, that "invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops are made solely at the discretion of the Archbishop of Canterbury and no decision has been made on who will, or will not, be invited". It is far from being the case that "there can be no other way to ensure that those loyal to
the principles of Anglicanism are duly and properly involved in the life of
our Communion" than a blanket invitation. Apart from the situation in North America there is, for example, the situation in Zimbabwe and the Windsor Report has made quite clear that "the Archbishop of Canterbury should invite participants to the Lambeth Conference on restricted terms at his sole discretion if circumstances exist where full voting membership of the Conference is perceived to be an undesirable status, or would militate against the greater unity of the Communion" (para 110)
(8.2) Clearly the appeal for APO - if it is the way this situation is taken forward by the Communion - may well be taken up by others. However, just as the initial request for APO has come out of a long process of discussion and discernment and is seen as a sign of failure to achieve reconciliation so any other instances would need to be the fruit of sustained Communion-wide reflection on the failures of any particular province.
(8.3) Given that the new Presiding Bishop shortly after her election described the Episcopal Church in terms of conjoined twins, the request for more than one representative in Communion councils is not unreasonable. This is especially so given that the new PB is one of those asked by Windsor (para 144) to consider withdrawal from Communion instruments as she authorized same-sex blessings in her diocese and has offered no apology for doing so. Although there is obviously no existing mechanism for selecting such an alternative, one could easily be developed (for example, through the Network or the wider Camp Allen/Windsor bishops group). Once again it is important to recognise that it is ultimately for the Archbishop of Canterbury to decide who is invited to the Primates' Meeting and on what terms. The recent discussion of inviting the Archbishop of York to the next Primates' Meeting shows that attendance at the meeting is not fixed nor only limited to one individual from each province.
(8.5) No evidence is offered for the claim that "the "Global South" Primates appear to be seeking to pre-empt the Covenant process by preparing a draft with the clear intention of requiring assent to confessional propositions related to homosexuality". In fact, the communiqué offers one of the strongest statements of support for the covenant process and the Communion processes by which it will be advanced (under Archbishop Drexel Gomez). Clearly any groups in the Communion are welcome to offer suggestions or even drafts to the covenant design group. It remains unlikely that a statement on homosexuality would be written into any agreed covenant. It is, however, likely that the covenant will describe the nature of life together in communion and that it will do so in such a way (as in Windsor) that those who subscribe to it will have to renounce taking unilateral action against what the Communion has declared to be its understanding of the limits and boundaries for a common life, especially when those boundaries are understood to be given in Scripture. Such likelihood is implied in the recent statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury that "it is clear that the Communion as a whole remains committed to the teaching on human sexuality expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and also that the recommendations of the Windsor Report have been widely accepted as a basis for any progress in resolving the tensions that trouble us. As a Communion, we need to move forward on the basis of this twofold recognition".
9.0 We are also concerned by the silence from the Bishops of the Church of England. The implications of the "Global South" developments may well, in the near future, have an impact on the Church of England. Indeed there have already been actions which indicate the shape of things to come, such as the unauthorised ordinations in the Diocese of Southwark. There are significant numbers of English Bishops who are deeply perturbed by the actions of their colleagues across the world, and deeply concerned to counter homophobia and prejudice. Why are they not speaking?
It is certainly true that there may be 'an impact on the Church of England' but post-Kigali it is now more likely that this will result not from actions of the Global South but from the decisions of the Instruments, especially the Primates' Meeting because the failure of General Convention to respond adequately to the agreed Windsor report "poses some very challenging questions for our February meeting and its discernment of the best way forward" (Archbishop Rowan). The Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear that "he must always act collegially, with the bishops of his own local Church and with the primates and the other instruments of communion" (Challenge and Hope) and in February the Church of England may well also have the Archbishop of York present to represent its concerns. We can be fairly sure that in the House of Bishops' meetings recently and in January prior to the Primates' Meetings, bishops will have recognised the importance of sharing their concerns. Given that many believe that part of the problem has been bishops speaking out publicly rather than taking counsel together, it is unclear in what ways more public taking of stances by English bishops will assist in the discernment of the best way forward for the Communion.
10.0 Today we celebrate the life of Lancelot Andrewes, one of the fathers of our church. We deeply regret the way in which the Communion is being undermined and sidetracked by a false Anglicanism which neither reflects nor pays tribute to our history. We trust and pray that the dialogue to which we are all as Christians called will continue so that the Gospel of Christ may flourish in this country and across the Communion.
It sadly appears that the current crisis increasingly extends beyond differences over sexual ethics, the nature of 'inclusion and welcome' and questions of biblical authority and interpretation. It is increasingly raising the question of the nature of Anglicanism. In this, appeals will perhaps increasingly be made to different 'fathers' - Hooker and Cranmer will be other favourites claimed as allies - with the danger that we become highly selective in tracing our lineage and are tempted to see stronger family resemblances with some of our ancestors than can be justified (has anyone made a serious case that Andrewes can be used to justify the recent actions of the Episcopal Church?)
If it is indeed the case that the leaders of almost half the Communion's Provinces, representing approximately 70% of Anglican worshippers, are viewed by others as engaged in a process of undermining and sidetracking the Communion by 'a false Anglicanism' then it would appear that some form of major realignment is going to be necessary. However, if this is ultimately becoming a question of true and false Anglicanism, perhaps it is likely that the Communion's future lies more with the vision of those in the Global South, despite their faults and failings. Perhaps it is by listening with greater respect to their voices that we will discover where our end - in terms of our goal and fulfilment - as a Communion lies. In contrast, perhaps it is some of those in the declining churches of the West (having disregarded the mind of the Communion and breached the bonds of communion in the name of 'autonomy') who, in the light of Scripture and our history, risk - to adapt Giles' words - undermining and sidetracking us, foreclosing the possibility of true dialogue by unilateral 'prophetic' actions, damaging the spread of the Gospel of Christ both in their own provinces and across the Communion, and potentially finishing off the Communion rather than helping it towards fulfilment.
Andrew Goddard has been on the Leadership Team of Fulcrum since its launch in 2003. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics based in Cambridge (where he was previously Associate Director). He has taught Christian Ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and Trinity College, Bristol and is also an Adjunct Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He is a canon at Winchester Cathedral and Assistant Minister at St James the Less, Pimlico where his wife, Lis, is Vicar. He is author of a number of books, most recently Rowan Williams: His Legacy (Lion, 2013) and co-editor with Andrew Atherstone of Good Disagreeement? Grace and Truth in a Divided Church (Lion, 2015).