What I hope for from the Primates Meeting #pisky #anglican

I have been reflecting on what the Primates Meeting next week means for me.  It’s the second one which I have attended.  It will clearly  not be an easy meeting – but it is important that all Primates will be present.  This is my thinking at present:

‘I am personally deeply committed to the Anglican Communion. Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church see the Communion as interwoven with the history of their church and as an important part of their creative and outward-facing engagement with the world church.

The Anglican Communion is a noble attempt to build and sustain a global church community without centralised authority or a single teaching magisterium. Such a community needs to be highly relational and collegial. It must embody humility. It must exercise a very high level of relational self-discipline if it is successfully to cohere. And of course our aspiration must be that it will do much more than cohere – that it will in that deliberate flexibility of organisational structure better express a visible unity in Christ, however great its contextual diversity.

I have been privileged to travel within the Communion in recent years. What is remarkable about that experience is to discover the extraordinary levels of commonality in the life of Provinces – commonality of worship, of commitment to justice and the needs of the poor, of culture, of belonging and of the balance between authority which is democratically-rooted and authority which comes through spiritual and ecclesiastical office. On many levels, the Anglican Communion is very much alive. Companionship Relationships between dioceses across the world strengthen our knowledge of one another and build unity in Christ. We are a world missional church. Our Anglican Networks enable us to address the greatest issues of our times. We attempt to live the gospel of reconciliation.

Yet our relationships and our unity are constantly stressed by the issues around human sexuality. Some see this primarily as an inter-provincial challenge. But these difficulties are experienced within our provinces as much as between our provinces. We in Scotland continue to explore what it means to be faithful to scripture and to live in a rapidly-changing society where attitudes to human sexuality have undergone a revolution in a generation or less. If we reach the point where we are unable to recognise one another as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we are in great difficulty.

I hope that we as Primates will grow together in our meeting next week. I believe that we need more engagement with one another and not less. We must strive for a deeper relating in which we can explore together the future to which God calls us. We need also to find words in which we can discuss some painful realities which underlie the sharpness of our differences about human sexuality questions. I refer in particular to very different ways in which authority and leadership are exercised in different parts of the Communion. More painfully for all of us, I believe that we need to address the legacy of colonialism which, even if not explicit, is still a major factor in determining the way in which we relate to one another.

At our meeting in Dublin in 2011, we committed ourselves to ‘walking together’. As we approach this Primates Meeting, we pray for Archbishop Justin and all who will support us as we meet together. I pray not so much for immediate answers which will solve our problems. Rather I pray for a deepening of our life together as disciples – and for respect and relationship within which we can together seek the future to which God calls us.’

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4 Responses to What I hope for from the Primates Meeting #pisky #anglican

  1. John Collings says:

    Thank you for an inspiring piece of writing. It made me think deeply. I know that you will be true to scripture and true to humanity in any discussions. Sometimes these may seem to conflict yet I know that our Saviour became human and is your guide through this.
    Jesus brought His followers together, His gospel was one of compassion and unity. I pray what such unity will endure throughout His church and that all believers will listen, learn and come to accept the compassion and acceptance that Jesus showed.
    I feel that church leaders need to unite. There are many external things that threaten at this time. Unity amongst Anglican leaders will give a clear message to the world that Jesus is stronger than anything else. Society is changing and the love of Jesus is unchanging, He did not cast the first stone (John 8:7) and in my belief He would accept that people who love each other and commit to each other should be blessed by the church.

  2. Thank you my colleague for your words. I agree with you and my spirit is moving in the last days – while preparing myself for my first Primates Meeting – in a direction to be open, kind and rooted in a hope for unity within our Communion.
    As Primates, we are not owners of the God`s people. We are servants. And in our position as leaders we need to remember that we are also servants of each other. In this way, our energy and feelings must be centripetal – looking for the center, looking for Jesus Christ – and not to ourselves. May God bless all of us in find the authentic communion and not conflict, in an inclusive spirit!

    • david says:

      Thank-you Francisco. I look forward very much to seeing you again in Canterbury, I hope that we can turn towards one another – find Christ in one another – and begin a new and better story for our Communion. But it will be difficulty and I pray that we may have the Christ-like strength to hold together

  3. Vivian Salazar says:

    Dear David, John and Francisco: I do not know you, but I am holding you up in my prayers as you prepare for and attend the Primates meeting. It is my prayerful hope that it is a meeting that opens doors for collegiality and love of Jesus to bring our beloved church closer together and that all the Primates will find it in their hearts to remain together and find a way to walk together rather than to separate and break our union into shards that cannot be repaired. I keep close the thought that even Christ’s Apostles did not agree on everything, that there was striving for power even among those men who traveled with Him and should have known what he wanted of them after three years. Yet they argued about who would sit closest to him, and I can almost picture them jostling to bring their friends close to Jesus and keeping others out, like today’s teenagers do with their groups. You each have my profoundest respect. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, will be at his first meeting of your group this week, and it is my hope that he is as beloved by you as he is by most of the people in our church here in the USA. God bless you and keep you. May he make his light to shine upon you and guide you in paths of righteousness and goodness. — Vivian Salazar

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