Monday, January 22, 2007

No Boycott of Primates Meeting

Last month, Archbishop Orombi of Uganda announced that the Global South Primates told the Archbishop of Canterbury that "they cannot sit together with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the upcoming Primates Meeting in February." Dr. Williams invited our Presiding Bishop. This led some to wonder if Abp. Orombi and his fellow Primates would make good their threat of a boycott.

Earlier this month, there were reports that the boycott was off. That has now been confirmed by some of those present at the recent Anglican Mission in America Conference (AMiA is a breakaway group that is not in communion with Canterbury). The Rev. Robert Hackendorf identifies eight Anglican Primates from the Global South as being present at this conference. He also includes the following comment regarding a panel discussion with the eight Primates:

...The second and final question concerned the Primate’s meeting in Tanzania and the GS primates posture towards Katherine (sic) Schori.

++Yong Ping stressed the need for prayer. He said that we should pray that the Lord would “shut the mouth of the Devil…and open the mouth of the orthodox leaders in that meeting.”

++Mtetemela said that as a host in Africa, you do not kick out a stranger in your home, but you might ask why they are there. He asked for prayer since there is a certain amount of “righteous anger” on the part of many primates, that the Lord would give them grace to speak the truth in love. The focus of the meeting will be the entire Church, not Katherine. The issue is not ECUSA, but how the Devil is tearing apart the Church by distorting the truth.

++Kolini said that the problem with Katherine (sic) is not a gender issue, but a faith issue. The primates are going to Tanzania in obedience to the Holy Spirit. The GS primates will “do what the HS tells them to do.”
Another source (warning - do not follow the link to the primary source unless you have a strong stomach; it is a toxic wasteland) is more explicit:

...Asked if they would be seated with revisionist American Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, at the Primates’ Meeting, Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, another of several Anglican leaders attending the AMiA meeting, said, “In Africa whether you are a friend or [enemy] normally we welcome you, but welcoming you does not mean we agree with what you are doing. When you are called to a meeting you don’t say no, but you can say no to the agenda for that meeting. We can begin the meeting, but the agenda itself will tell whether we can continue with everybody or not.”
So it appears that all 38 of the Primates will be present in Tanzania next month. Some may choose to stand for the entire meeting, rather than sit at the same table with a female leader and thus acknowledge her as a peer. No doubt others will once again, in true Donatist fashion, wield the issue of table fellowship as a weapon. And others may choose to walk out in protest at some predetermined point in the meeting.

Regardless of the reprehensible depiction of those who disagree with them as "the devil," and the rude and offensive displays planned for the gathering of Primates in Tanzania, I have little doubt that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will comport herself the same dignity, strength and grace that we have witnessed over the months since her election.


UPDATE: Another article offers a couple of additional quotes from the Primates attending the Jacksonville conference.

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