January 29th, 2011 Posted in American Anglican Council |
My attendance at the “Mere Anglicanism” conference in Charleston, SC last weekend was well worth the effort and cost. To have bishops Michael Nazir-Ali and Mouneer Anis in the same room, both speaking on global Anglicanism and the leadership of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, was very informative.
Orthodox Anglicans experienced something of a fracture at the time of the Jerusalem Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). Many bishops who attended GAFCON went on to boycott the Lambeth Conference later that year. Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis did not attend GAFCON but did attend Lambeth, and the same was true of Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia. The fracture, not a break but a stress fracture, really had to do with two ways of approaching the besetting problem of the American Episcopal Church’s (TEC) misconduct and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s action or lack thereof.
Those who were aligned with GAFCON generally felt that Dr. Rowan Williams had failed in leadership, deceived the primates by promising actions that he never took or enforced following their meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and would thus not do the right thing in the future. Some other bishops, led by John Chew and Mouneer Anis, felt that Archbishop Williams could be worked with and that he would finally come around for the salvation of the Anglican Communion. Williams, however, abused this additional chance afforded him by some of the orthodox primates, and there is now probably little differentiation between the GAFCON primates and those bishops led by Chew and Anis. A majority of primates within the Global South, those provinces south of the equator, are orthodox. However, some, certainly including South Africa, are very much supportive of TEC and aligned with the Archbishop of Canterbury. This divide in the Global South will have to be addressed at some point.