Skip to comments.Inside 'Ring of Steel,' Primates Under Intense Pressure to Reach Agreement
Posted on 02/17/2007 5:52:34 PM PST by sionnsar
Main Entry: pri'mate
Etymology: Middle English primat, from Old French, from Medieval Latin primat-, primas archbishop, from Latin, leader, from primus
Date: 13th century
1 often capitalized : a bishop who has precedence in a province, group of provinces, or a nation
2 archaic : one first in authority or rank : LEADER
3 [New Latin Primates, from Latin, plural of primat-, primas] : any of an order (Primates) of mammals comprising humans, apes, monkeys, and related forms (as lemurs and tarsiers)
-pri'mate-ship \-*ship\ noun
--pri-ma'tial \pr*-*m*-sh*l\ adjective
While the third full day of the 2007 primates' meeting heard presentations on theological education and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the core of the work on Feb. 18 remained fixed upon The Episcopal Church and its response to the Windsor Report.
Cloistered inside the north wing of the White Sands Hotel near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the 35 other meeting participants have less than two days to craft a common declaration on The Episcopal Church.
Primates from across the theological and ecclesial divide declined public comment on details of the proceedings, universally honoring a commitment not to speak to the press until the final communique is released. They are united in their determination to prevent a repetition of the premature release of information that in 2005 nearly derailed the meeting in Northern Ireland.
Participants have confirmed that the primates and staff are working under intense pressure to pull together a large quantity of data and incorporate disparate views into a single statement. Archbishop Williams faces the challenge of his ministry in building a document that satisfies the demands of the Global South coalition while not endangering the historic integrity of Anglicanism or creating new fissures in the Church of England and other divided provinces.
Global South leaders have disputed suggestions that the lack of dramatic moves early on in the conference against Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and The Episcopal Church are indicative of a weakening of their resolve or a diminution of their coalition's strength. The coalition is working towards a common goal, one of its leaders noted, and would not abandon its friends.
A second leader of the group noted that attempts to gauge the state of play within the meeting by divining a political meaning from the statement of seven primates who refused to receive the sacraments, were unwise. Such opinions were being formed in ignorance of the primate's personal views on the nature of the Eucharist and the theological significance of receiving the sacraments. The Global South coalition contains a wide range of theological views from Anglo-Catholic to low-church Evangelical, the leader said.
The breach of Eucharistic fellowship in 2005 by 14 primates was with the person of Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, he noted, arguing that this personal breach did not automatically extend to the new Presiding Bishop for all recusant primates. While sharing many of the views of his American counterparts, Canadian Archbishop Andrew Hutchison's strong relations with many of the Global South leaders, had blunted a similar reaction to him, sources told The Living Church.
Following morning prayers, the primates returned to the topic of The Episcopal Church and their discussion of the adequacy of its response to the recommendations of the Windsor Report. The communique drafting committee continued work on The Episcopal Church-focused document as the remaining primates returned to their second morning session dealing with theological education. Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of Australia led discussion on plans for a proposed Communion-wide teaching document on Anglican Biblical hermeneutics, or principles of interpretation.
Following lunch and noonday prayers, Southern Africa Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane and Mrs. Hellen Wangusa, Anglican observer to the United Nations, led an afternoon discussion on the MDGs. Promulgated by the United Nations in 2000, the MDGs seek to decrease by half the number of people living in poverty by 2015. At the 75th General Convention last June, The Episcopal Church adopted peace and justice work in support of the MDGs as its chief mission priority.
At a 6:45 p.m. media briefing following evening prayer, Archbishop Ndungane characterized the world situation as one of "global apartheid where the rich are getting stinkingly rich and the poor are getting desperately poor."
The situation in Africa was grim, with an anticipated 50 million orphans from wars, natural disasters, and sickness such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Over 800 million people across the globe lived in poverty, Archbishop Ndungane said. "This is not only immoral, it is a sin; it is evil."
Archbishop Ndungane shared plans for a March meeting in Boksburg, South Africa called TEAM (Towards Effective Anglican Mission) that through social activism was "seeking to discover strategies of how Anglicans can contribute to make the world a better place for everyone."
Mrs. Wangusa noted that as Christians, we are "informed by our scriptures to go beyond" the call to cut poverty in half, and to seek to alleviate the plight of all the poor. "When Christ got people together, and they got hungry, he said what do we have? He didn't feed half or a fraction, he fed all of them. We cannot say this half eats and this half doesn't."
The communique drafting committee returned to its work following dinner, while in a second floor private dining room, leaders of the Global South primates' coalition met with American and British supporters staying at the hotel.
On Feb. 18 the primates will sail to Zanzibar for a service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, also known as the Cathedral of the Universities Mission in Central Africa. The episcopal see for the Diocese of Zanzibar, the cathedral was built in 1873 on a site where slave traders loaded their manacled human cargo into the holds of ships for transport to auction markets in the Western Hemisphere.
(The Rev.) George Conger
More on the Primates' Meeting
Amid Lowered Tensions, Primates Review Draft Covenant
Communion Broken, Says Global South
Cordial Day of Listening Marks Opening Sessions in Tanzania
Presiding Bishop Attends Primates' Orientation Session
On Day 1, Spotlight on The Episcopal Church
Primates' Official Opening Session Likely to Be Contentious
UN Anglican Observer May Brief Primates
Primates' Session with Episcopal Bishops Changed to Thursday
Alternate Primates' Meeting Agenda Proposed
Global South Will Propose Two-Province Solution
Elections and Politics Part of Tanzania Meeting
Large Class of New Primates in Tanzania
Heros Sendoff For Presiding Bishop
How does one honestly reconcile the irreconcilable?
Just keep extending 'discussion' into the forseeable future...
Sadly, you are probably correct.
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