Geoff Pugh/REX

Justin Welby calls special meeting of world's Anglican leaders

Wed 16 Sep 2015
By Desmond Busteed

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on Anglican Primates from across the Communion to gather for a special meeting to prevent further divides over things marriage and ordination of gay priests.

Some expect Most Revd Justin Welby to propose the creation of a two-tier Anglican Church, with Lambeth Palace comparing the proposal to that of a married couple "moving into separate bedrooms", instead of full scale divorce over the issue.

An Lambeth aide is also quoted as saying the Archbishop doesn't want his successor “spending vast amounts of time trying to keep people in the boat and never actually rowing it anywhere”.

The Archbishop believes successful discussions may allow him to maintain relations both with the liberal churches of North America, which recognise and encourage gay marriage, and the African churches, led by Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, who are agitating for the recriminalisation of all homosexual activity in their countries.

Both will be able to call themselves "Anglican" but there will no longer be any pretence that this involves a common discipline or doctrine, according to the Guardian.

Archbishop Justin has written to all 37 Primates inviting them to attend a special meeting from the 11-16 January 2016 in Canterbury to reflect and pray together concerning the future of the Communion.

"The difference between our societies and cultures, as well as the speed of cultural change in much of the global north, tempts us to divide as Christians: when the command of scripture, the prayer of Jesus, the tradition of the church and our theological understanding urges unity," wrote Welby, the leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans.

But he said a 21st-century Anglican family "must have space for deep disagreement, and even mutual criticism, so long as we are faithful to the revelation of Jesus Christ, together."

The Bishop of Buckingham, Rt Revd Alan Wilson has described the move as the 'next step' in Archbishop Justin's desire to move discussions forward, following his personal meetings with all 37 Primates over the past two years.

"There's never been any provision for any coercion in the Anglican Communion. An attempt was made to set things up so that there could, that flopped," said Bishop Alan.

"And now I think what Archbishop Justin is quite wisely doing is saying 'well let's get everyone together and see where they feel this leaves them and what they want to do about It." he added.

The agenda will be set by common agreement with all Primates encouraged to send in contributions. It is also likely to include the issues of religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults and the environment.

Listen to the Bishop of Buckingham, Rt Revd Alan Wilson speaking to Premier's Des Busteed:

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