First Worldwide Anglican Commission to Meet in England

( [email protected] ) Feb 10, 2004 09:16 AM EST

In lieu of the strokes of divisions faced by the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a special round table discussion between seventeen Church leaders, theologians and lawyers. This week’s council, the first full meeting of its kind, will consider how to structurally respond to the schisms that are rapidly spreading across the communion.

The Commission will consider two major issues at hand: the election of the first openly gay bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire and the approval of rites for blessing same-sex unions in Canada.

While the commission is not responsible for making judgments on issues of sexuality, they must consider how to deal with subsequent divisions that arose throughout the communion.

The weeklong Commission will not make judgments on issues of sexuality, but rather on how the 77-million member Anglican Communion can deal with the subsequent divisions.

Robin Eames, Primate of all Ireland, has been assigned as chair to the meeting in England, At a meeting of Primates in Lambeth Palace last October the Archbishop of Canterbury was invited to appoint an international Commission under the chairmanship of Archbishop Eames.

“The divisions which are emerging are serious and question what sort of Anglican Communion its members wish to see in future. Sincerely held views are being expressed on all sides of the argument but it is vital that ways are found of dealing with division on any issue which will stand the test of time,” Eames commented.

“There is a widespread desire to maintain Anglicanism as a world Communion. To enable this to happen decisions need to be taken which will allow autonomy to relate to communion and relationships while acknowledging the on-going mission of the Church throughout the world,” he continued.

The reports and findings will be submitted to the Primates and Provinces shortly afterwards.

In related news, thirteen Primates that are part of the commission, released a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, criticizing the actions of the North American churches, and the lack of action thereafter.

The members of the Commission are:

Archbishop Robin Eames

Primate of All Ireland, Chairman

The Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan

Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry, the Anglican Church of Canada

Bishop David Beetge

Dean of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa

Professor Norman Doe

Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University, Wales

Bishop Mark Dyer

Director of Spiritual Formation, Virginia Theological Seminary, USA

Archbishop Drexel Gomez

Primate of the West Indies

Archbishop Josiah Iduwo-Fearon

Archbishop of Kaduna, the Anglican Church of Nigeria

The Revd Dorothy Lau

Director of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council

Ms Anne McGavin

Advocate, formerly Legal Adviser to the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church

Archbishop Bernard Malango

Primate of Central Africa

Dr Esther Mombo

Academic Dean of St Paul’s United Theological Seminary, Limuru, Kenya

Archbishop Barry Morgan

Primate of Wales

Chancellor Rubie Nottage

Chancellor of the West Indies

Bishop John Paterson

Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council

Dr Jenny Te Paa

Principal of College of Saint John the Evangelist, Auckland, New Zealand

Bishop James Terom

Moderator, the Church of North India

Bishop N Thomas Wright

Bishop of Durham, the Church of England.