Actions and consequences: Reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion - Andrew Goddard

Summary: Reflecting on Fulcrum’s call not to invite the Presiding Bishop to the Primates’ Meeting in Ireland, the consequences of inviting her are highlighted: the widespread principled absence of many Global South primates. As it is still unclear why the Presiding Bishop was invited after the breach of the moratorium and the Pentecost Letter, three possible scenarios are outlined in the hope that the rationale for this decision may be made clear. Then, drawing on past Primates’ statements and statements from TEC, three justifications for non-invitation and grounds for non-attendance are outlined: developments in TEC are now indisputably a breach of the moratoria, TEC has displayed a lack of integrity in its dealings with the Communion and its own stance reveals a lack of coherence in teaching and practice while increasingly signalling a determination to re-define the Christian doctrine of marriage. After exploring some of the challenges of holding a meeting to address key issues in the Communion but with the leaders of most of the world’s Anglicans not present, possible future paths for the Communion are outlined in relation to both the need for serious theological discussion about sexuality and the need to reform the Instruments, all of which have seen their authority eroded through this crisis. The conclusion notes that various actions and inactions in recent years have had serious damaging consequences and highlights the need to pray that, while nothing said or done this week can be painless, the actions of this gathering of Primates may have positive consequences for the Communion’s future unity.

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