On the Primates’ Meeting, No. 1

February 26, 2007

About the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam
No. 1; February 23, 2007

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

                                                —St. Paul, to the Christians in Ephesus (Eph. 4:1-3).

 Beloved, since they have been published earlier this week, I have been studying the following three documents, which I commend to you in their entirety.  You may find the full texts on-line as noted at the end of this document.

1.      The Communiqué Of the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, 19th February 2007;

2.      The Key Recommendations of the Primates; and,

3.      “An Anglican Covenant:  Draft prepared by the Covenant Design Group”, January, 2007.

There is much in these documents to absorb and prayerfully consider; I’m still coping with it myself.  Let me emphasize, first, that the Primates both affirmed and challenged The Episcopal Church.  About this I will be writing to you soon and more extensively.  But I hasten to express to you my concern that some, from different, even opposite quarters of the Church, have already rushed to judgment.  It is my prayer and hope that in Upper South Carolina we will not leap to conclusions but, rather, commit ourselves to appropriate consideration, reflection, dialogue, and—again—all of it immersed in prayer.

That is not to say that the concerns already expressed through the media and the internet are without merit.  There certainly are legitimate issues about what it means to be the Anglican Communion; what is meant by “bonds of affection”; about authority, autonomy, and interdependence in Anglican polity; about care, justice and peace for all of God’s people.

But let’s step back from whatever precipice tempts us to schism and precipitous judgment, reaffirming our commitment to remain faithful “in the apostle’s teaching and fellowship” within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion—“with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.

More anon.

Faithfully in our Lord Jesus Christ,


The Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, 19th February 2007, is available here. The “Key Recommendations of the Primates” appears at the end of the document.

The text of a proposed Anglican Covenant is available here.


3 Responses to “On the Primates’ Meeting, No. 1”

  1. KENT Says:

    I’ve read a number of responses to the primates’ communique from TEC bishops around the country. Many are intemperate, some even expressing a veiled outrage that violates our Presiding Bishop’s call for a season of Lenten fasting from such rhetoric. I’m so proud to be part of a diocese with a shephard whose charisms of patience and charity so easily and naturally personify the quality he commends to us all in his closing: “patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. Our prayers are with you, Bishop Henderson.

  2. Stan Case Says:

    The Bishops of the Episcopal Church have incredibly important work ahead of them in the next few weeks.

    The ordination vow that each Bishop made contained an affirmation of personal belief that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God and contain all things necessary for salvation.

    Schism can be avoided and “The Episcopal Church” will be able to remain a part of the Anglican Communion if the House of Bishops will follow Holy Scripture with regard to Biblical Discipline concerning its own membership. Idolatry and Sexual Immorality are spiritual issues that are inextricably intertwined in Holy Scripture and must be addressed by the House of Bishops.

    Here are some statements of Peter and Paul on some pertinent subjects. Bishop Henderson quoted the first two, but not in context. I hope that these observations will be useful for the deliberation of the Bishops.

    Holy Scripture relating to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers:

    Acts 2
    This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

    ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
    Sit at my right hand,
    until I make your enemies your footstool.’
    Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

    And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

    And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
    And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

    And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    Holy Scripture relating to the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace: One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, one Faith, One Baptism:

    Ephesians 4

    I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

    “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
    and he gave gifts to men.”

    (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

    Holy Scripture relating to the Communion of Saints and Discipline for the purpose of Salvation:

    1 Corinthians 5

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

    For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

    Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    Holy Scripture relating to Division in the Body of Christ

    1 Corinthians 1

    I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    May the Lord Bless You and Keep You!


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