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Global South won't split Communion, says ++Venables
Church Times ^ | 9/16/2005 | Pat Ashworth

Posted on 09/21/2005 5:49:00 PM PDT by sionnsar

A MEETING of leaders from the Global South in Egypt next month will not be the occasion for a split in the Anglican Communion, says a member of its planning committee, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables. He emphasised that it was a private meeting by personal invitation.

Much speculation has surrounded the gathering, which starts on 23 October. The refusal to invite the Province of Brazil and its liberal Primate, the Most Revd Orlando Santos de Oliveira, has already led to controversy ( News, 9 September).

In the past year, and especially since the House of Bishops' statement on civil partnerships, which allows clergy to register partnerships while pledging celibacy (

News, 29 July), the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, has made a number of pronouncements against the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury (News, 5 August and 12 August). These have fed rumours that in Egypt he would make a bid for a new Anglican Church under his leadership.

On the issue of civil partnerships, Archbishop Akinola, who is also chairman of the Global South Working Committee, told a press conference in New York last week: "No one can choose who my friends are supposed to be or who I listen to. If England adopts a new faith, alien to what has been handed to us together, they can walk apart."

He also told the conference (pictured, right): "Let there be no illusions. The Communion is broken and fragmented. The Communion will break."

On Monday, he told the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria: "Britain has joined its brethren in the 'civilised West' to legitimise civil partnerships, which to us simply means same-sex marriages. They are also putting a ban on preaching because it offends Muslim minorities. Britain has, of course, made Sunday a working day."

Archbishop Akinola has been criticised for failing to consult his fellow Primates before putting out statements on their behalf. The Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd John Chane, also expressed concern this week about Archbishop Akinola's claims to speak for the whole Anglican Communion.

In a response to ECUSA's presentation to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Nottingham and Archbishop Akinola's response to the House of Bishops' statement on civil partnerships, Bishop Chane challenged the presumption of "a small group of men to speak for the entire global Communion".

"He has almost single-handedly led the attack against the Episcopal and Canadian Churches with his zealous pronouncements against homosexuality. More recently, he has set his sights on the Church of England," he wrote to his diocese.

Quoting Archbishop Akinola's warning to the C of E that "No Church can ignore the teaching of the Bible with impunity, and no Church is beyond discipline," he speculated:
"I must ask myself who has been left with the ultimate authority to interpret the teaching of the Bible? Certainly not the Archbishop of Nigeria alone."

Speaking from Buenos Aires on Tuesday, Bishop Venables said that the meeting of Global South leaders was not an official meeting of the Anglican Communion, but "very definitely" a private meeting for those invited. Whatever was being said in England because of civil partnerships, there was no talk of separation from England and Canterbury.

He said: "The rampant rumours and assumptions that the Anglican Communion will fracture in Egypt and be reconstituted in a different form at our upcoming Global South meeting are not in any way founded on reality.

"Apart from any other consideration, they fail to take into account the fact that a structural change of this magnitude in the Communion would have to be approved by each provincial synod around the world. There is great resolve and commitment to move forward in a way that is consistent with historic teaching and discipline, but it is not as simple as just having a small number of leaders make a declaration.

"Rest assured that, although Anglican leaders will doubtless act and speak clearly in Egypt, 50 or more years of conflict will not be resolved in the week we spend there."


THE online Kairos Journal ( seeks to "embolden, educate, equip and support pastors and church leaders, writes Pat Ashworth. Its annual Kairos Awards go to those it considers to have made "a bold and consistent stand for historic orthodoxy in the light of theological decline".

It judged Archbishop Akinola, and Bishop Venables, as well as the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, and the Archbishop of South East Asia, the Most Revd Datuk Yong Ping Chung, to have shown "exemplary fidelity to the authority of scripture and pastoral courage in their efforts to restore the prophetic voice of the Church".

The website quotes a response by Archbishop Akinola to "the practice of appointing homosexual bishops in the Anglican Church". His nine points include:

‘ Homosexuality and lesbianism, like divorce, breed a society of single parents which gives rise to a generation of bastards. And in the context of much poverty and lack of education, this further produces an ill-bred generation of hooligans, portending much terror to the peace and stability of the society. ’

‘ In a society where many women are finding it difficult to have husbands of their own due to depletion of men by many factors, homosexuality will exacerbate the disequilibrium, leading to much social unrest. ’

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 09/21/2005 5:49:01 PM PDT by sionnsar
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