Some 103 top Anglicans, amid tight security and a media blackout, gathered last week on Egypt's Red Sea coast for the third Global South to South Encounter to address disunity in the 75-million-member Anglican Communion, the world's largest and one of the most influential Protestant bodies.
Gay ordinations, same-sex unions, and acceptance of the homosexual bishop, V. Gene Robinson, have sharply increased tensions among Anglicans worldwide. Talk of schism is no longer speculation.
The world's leading Anglican, Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, joined the conference for a day. He gave little or no open encouragement to conservatives that the Episcopal Church (USA), the Anglican Church of Canada, or any other Anglican province would face meaningful penalties for participating in gay ordinations, same-sex unions, or the consecration of Robinson as bishop.
After five days of meetings, the group issued an eight-page statement, in which the delegates said:
Our own Anglican Communion sadly continues to be weakened by unchecked revisionist teaching and practices, which undermine the divine authority of Scripture. The Anglican Communion is severely wounded by the witness of errant principles of faith and practice which in many parts of our communion have adversely affected our efforts to take the gospel to those in need of God's redeeming and saving love.
The delegates made the following commitments:
- "We express full confidence in the supremacy and clarity of Scripture and pledge full obedience to the whole counsel of God's Word."
- "We in the Global South endorse the concept of an Anglican Covenant (mooted in the Windsor Report) and commit ourselves as full partners in the process of its formulation. We are seeking a covenant that is rooted in historic faith and formularies and that provides a biblical foundation for our life, ministry, and mission as a communion."