A series of essays in the Episcopal Church
By The Rev. Mark Harris
The Rev. Mark Harris is a deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Delaware. For many years he directed overseas personnel for the Episcopal Church. I share this with his permission. -- LC
In the past several days a letter from the Primate of Nigeria to the Primate of the Church in Brazil has been published on the net that says in part, "Until we hear from you and your church your clear decision to correct these actions and statements, the organizing committee has agreed unanimously to withdraw the invitation for your province to be represented in Egypt."
I call upon the ACC through its President and Chairman to disavow this retraction of invitation as it does not fulfill the intentions of the ACC. Member churches of the Anglican Communion must demand a retraction of this action on the part of the organizing committee of the South - South Encounter and if that does not occur member churches must petition the Anglican Consultative Council to withdraw sponsorship and any financial support for this meeting. Not to do so will increasingly invalidate the ACC as an instrument of unity.
The notion that 'actions and statements' taken by leaders of a particular province should determine whether that province should be included in the South to South Encounters was not, as far as I know, EVER part of the organizing principles for those meetings. The Provinces included were determined by the ACC on the basis of their current or former mission / financial / geographical status or position - their being "non-Western." Representatives from those Provinces came to the first gathering and have come to those following. The Primate of the church in Brazil affirmed this in his letter to the Primate of Nigeria.
The 19 May 2004 press release on the South-South Encounter in Limuru, Kenya gave a one paragraph history of the South to South Encounters:
"The ACC, upon the recommendation of the Brisbane 1986 Missions Conference, organized a gathering of the non-Western parts of the Communion for mutual consultation on their distinctive contextual mission challenges. The 1st South-South Encounter was held in Limuru, Kenya in 1994. The 2nd South-South Encounter (met) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1997..."
A 3rd South-South Encounter is planned to take place in Egypt in October, 2005, and it is this meeting from which the church in Brazil is being excluded.
The clear intention of the organization of the Encounter was that churches in the Anglican Communion "from the non-Western parts of the Communion" be included. For the organizing committee of the Encounter to take place in Egypt to exclude a member Province of the Anglican Communion already part of this Encounter is a breach of ACC intentions.
Immediate action is required.
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