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Archbishop’s Warning to Conservatives: CEN 7.27.07 p 5. July 26, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of York, Church of England Newspaper, Global South, Lambeth 2008.

The Archbishop of York has urged conservative bishops from the Global South not to boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference, telling the Daily Telegraph their withdrawal could shatter the Anglican Communion.

“Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury,” he said last week. “If you sever that link you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it.”

Dr. John Sentamu’s caution comes after leaders of the Global South Coalition of Anglican provinces, representing a majority of Anglicans in the developing world, released a statement last week following a meeting in London warning that their presence at Lambeth 2008 was in doubt, due to Archbishop Rowan Williams apparent decision not to take action against the American Church for repudiating the primates’ calls for reform and for compliance with the 1998 Lambeth resolutions on human sexuality.

If the Global South breaks with Dr. Williams, “and they think they can then say they are Anglicans, that is very questionable,” he said, urging traditionalists to “come to the Lambeth Conference.”

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper Dr. Sentamu was not speaking on behalf of Dr. Williams, but offering his own reflections on current events within the Communion.

As long as Anglican bishops did not deny basic Christian doctrines they should be able to remain within the same ecclesial structure, he said. While the divisions over sexual ethics were important, the Telegraph reported that Dr. Sentamu believed these were not core issues of the faith.

Writing in the preamble to the July General Synod paper 1661 on the Anglican Covenant, Dr. Sentamu noted that fragmentation within the Communion was being driven by the divisions over human sexuality. “We have to recognize that there are some limits to Anglican ‘diversity’,” the Archbishops wrote.

“It is a simply a matter of fact that some questions – not only the debates over sexual ethics – are experienced as fundamentally Church-dividing issues,” they said.

Dr. Sentamu added that the current invitation list was not fixed. He stated the American bishops could be un-invited from Lambeth 2008 should they not be prepared to engage with the wider Church over the potentially Communion-dividing issues.

Leaders of the Global South coalition tell CEN no hard and fast decision to boycott Lambeth 2008 has been taken. They have called for an emergency primates meeting, akin to the meeting held following the election of Gene Robinson in 2003, to address the American question.

Nor are the Global South primates of one mind as to how to respond to what they see as American intransigence. One faction favors withdrawal from Lambeth if all the Americans attend, while a second group is disinclined to give the left a “rump” Lambeth that could conceivably re-write prior Conference statements.


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