Primates Meeting 2016 Update from Archbishop Beach

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To the members of the Anglican Church in North America,

I am writing to you from Canterbury, England late on the night of January 14th, 2016.  Thank you for your prayers and support this week.  Although I’m tired at the end of a long day, I wanted to send you an update.

I participated fully in the meeting, where the first and primary agenda item was addressing the Episcopal Church’s changes to the doctrine of marriage.  We spent most of the week discussing this issue and seeking to come to a common conclusion.

We unanimously agreed that these changes “represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage,” and we wrestled with what the consequences should be.

The GAFCON and Global South Primates were tremendous in their leadership in the meeting, and made a strong impact in the final decision.  I confess that I have mixed feelings about the sanctions.

The sanctions are strong, but they are not strong enough, and to my deep disappointment, they didn’t include the Anglican Church of Canada as they should.

With that said, it took many steps for the Anglican Communion to come to this current crisis. This is a good step back in the right direction, but it will take many more if the Communion is to be restored.

Thank you again for your incredible prayer support, and let us stay on our mission – to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!

Your brother in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America
P.S. Below are a few links to more information coming out of our meeting:

The Primates Meeting Resolution
The GAFCON Statement
Bishop Charlie Masters reflection

News from Primates 2016

14 Jan 2016

Today the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ. This agreement acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together.

The Primates regret that it appears that the text of this agreement has been leaked in advance of their communiqué tomorrow. In order to avoid speculation the document is being released in full. This agreement demonstrates the commitment of all the Primates to continue the life of the Communion with neither victor nor vanquished.

The Communique from the Primates will be released tomorrow.

Questions and further comments will be responded to at a press conference tomorrow at 1500. Full details are available here.

The full text of this particular agreement follows:

1. We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage.

2. Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.

3. All of us acknowledge that these developments have caused further deep pain throughout our Communion.

4. The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

5. In keeping with the consistent position of previous Primates’ meetings such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

6. Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.

7. It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

8. We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.