Monday, October 31, 2005

global south encounter document

Beloved, I cautiously take this document to be a little bit of good news. It seems that they are endorsing the principles of the Windsor Report, and turning away from the confessional proposals about which we had been hearing, especially from Nigeria.

The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter Communique
October 30th, 2005 at 5:37 pm
A Third Trumpet from the South

TRUMPET III

The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter

Red Sea (Egypt), 25-30 October 2005

The Third Anglican South-to-South Encounter has graphically demonstrated the
coming of age of the Church of the Global South. We are poignantly aware
that we must be faithful to God’s vision of one, holy, catholic and
apostolic Church. We do not glory in our strengths but in God’s strength. We
do not shrink from our responsibility as God’s people because of our
weaknesses but we trust God to demonstrate His power through our weakness.
We thank God for moving us forward to serve Him in such a time as this.

A. Preamble

1. A total of 103 delegates of 20 provinces in the Global South (comprising
Africa, South and South East Asia, West Indies and South America),
representing approximately two-thirds of the Anglican Communion, met for the
3rd Global South to South Encounter from 25-30 October 2005 at Ain El-Sukhna
by the Red Sea in Egypt. The theme of the Encounter was “One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church: Being A Faithful Church For Such A Time As This”.

2. We deeply appreciated the Archbishop of Canterbury for the time he spent
with us, his listening ear and encouraging words. We took to heart his
insight that the four marks of the Church are not attributes we possess as
our own right, nor goals to attain by human endeavour, but they are
expressed in us as we deeply focus on Jesus Christ, who is the Source of
them all (John 17:17-21).

3. We were really warmed by the welcome that we received here by the
President, the government and the people of Egypt. We valued the great
efforts made by the state security personnel who are making the land of
Egypt a secure and safe place to all her visitors. We were touched by the
warm hospitality of the Diocese of Egypt.

4. We have witnessed in Egypt a wonderful model for warm relations between
Christians and Muslims. We admire the constructive dialogue that is
happening between the two faiths. We appreciated the attendance of the Grand
Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr Mohammed Said Tantawi, the representative of Pope
Shenouda III and other religious leaders at the State Reception to launch
our Encounter. We were encouraged by their wise contributions.

B. We Gathered

5. We gathered to seek the face of God, to hear His Word afresh and to be
renewed by His Spirit for total obedience to Christ who is Lord of the
Church. That is why the gathering was called an “Encounter” rather than a
conference. The vital question we addressed was: What does it mean to be
one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church in the midst of all the challenges
facing the world and the Church?

6. The world of the Global South is riddled with the pain of political
conflict, tribal warfare and bloodshed. The moral and ethical foundations of
several of our societies are being shaken. Many of our nations are beset by
problems of poverty, ignorance and sickness, particularly the HIV and AIDS
that threaten millions, especially in Africa. In addition to that, thousands
of people have suffered from severe drought in Africa, earthquakes in South
Asia, and hurricanes in the Americas – we offer our support and prayers to
them.

7. Apart from the world condition, our own Anglican Communion sadly
continues to be weakened by unchecked revisionist teaching and practices
which undermine the divine authority of the Holy 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.

8. Notwithstanding these difficult circumstances, several parts of our
Communion in the Global South are witnessing the transforming power of the
Gospel and the growth of the Church. The urgency of reaching vast multitudes
in our nations for Christ is pressing at our door and the fields are ready
for harvest.

9. Surrounded by these challenges and seeking to discover afresh our
identity we decided to dig deeper into God’s Word and into the tradition of
the Church to learn how to be faithful to God’s gift and call to be His one,
holy, catholic and apostolic people. We deliberately chose to meet in Egypt
for two reasons:

a. Biblically, Egypt features prominently in the formative period of the
calling of God’s people (Exodus 19). Moreover, Egypt was part of the cradle
that bore the entry of the Savior into the world (Hosea 11:1; Matthew
2:13-15).

b. Meeting by the Red Sea, we could not help but be inspired by the historic
crossing of God’s people into the realm where He purposed to make them a
“light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). Part of that blessing was fulfilled
when Alexandria became a center of early Christianity, where church fathers
formulated and held on to the Christian faith through the early centuries.

C. We Discovered Afresh

10. We discovered afresh the depth and richness of our roots in the one,
holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Carefully researched papers were
presented at the Encounter in the context of worship, prayer, Bible Study
and mutual sharing. We recognize the dynamic way in which the four marks of
the Church are inextricably interwoven. The salient truths we encountered
inspired us and provided a basis for knowing what God requires of us.


The Church is One

11. The Church is called to be one. Our unity is willed by our Lord Jesus
Christ Himself, who prayed that we “all might be one.” (John 17:20-21) A
great deal of confusion has arisen out of misunderstanding that prayer and
the concept of unity. For centuries, the Church has found unity in the
Person and teaching of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Scripture. We are one in
Him, and that binds us together. The foundation and expression of our unity
is found in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

12. While our unity may be expressed in institutional life, our unity is
grounded in our living relationship with the Christ of Scripture. Unity is
ever so much more than sharing institutionally. When we are “in Christ,” we
find that we are in fellowship with others who are also in Him. The fruit of
that unity is that we faithfully manifest the life and love of Christ to a
hurting and groaning world (Romans 8:18-22).

13. Christian unity is premised on truth and expressed in love. Both truth
and love compel us to guard the Gospel and stand on the supreme authority of
the whole Word of God. The boundary of family identity ends within the
boundary of the authentic Word of God.


The Church is Holy

14. The Church of Jesus Christ is called to be holy. All Christians are to
participate in the sanctification of their lives through submission,
obedience and cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Through repentance the
Church can regain her rightful position of being holy before God. We believe
concurrently that holiness is imparted to us through the life, ministry,
death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 10:21-23). He shares
His holiness with us and invites us to be conformed to His likeness.

15. A holy Church is prepared to be a “martyr” Church. Witness unto death is
how the Early Church articulated holiness in its fullest sense (Acts 22:20;
Rev 2:13, 12:11).


The Church is Catholic

16. The Catholic faith is the universal faith that was “once for all”
entrusted to the apostles and handed down subsequently from generation to
generation (Jude 3). Therefore every proposed innovation must be measured
against the plumb line of Scripture and the historic teaching of the Church.

17. Catholicity carries with it the notion of completeness and wholeness.
Thus in the church catholic “when one part suffers, every part suffers with
it” (1 Cor 12:26). The local church expresses its catholicity by its
devotion to apostolic teaching, its attention to prayer and the sacrament,
its warm and caring fellowship and its growth through evangelism and mission
(Acts 2:42-47).


The Church is Apostolic

18. The Church is apostolic in its doctrine and teaching. The apostolic
interpretation of God’s salvation plan effected in Christ Jesus is binding
on the Church. God established the Church on the “foundation of the apostles
and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:20).

19. The Church is apostolic in its mission and service. “As the Father has
sent Me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) In each generation He calls bishops in
apostolic succession (Eph 4:11-12) to lead the Church out into mission, to
teach the truth and to defend the faith. Accountability to God, to those God
places over us and to the flock is an integral part of church leadership.

D. We Commit

20. As a result of our Encounter, we emerge with a clearer vision of what
the Church is called to be and to do, with a renewed strength to pursue that
vision. Specifically, we made commitments in the following areas.


The Authority of the Word of God

21. Scripture demands, and Christian history has traditionally held, that
the standard of life, belief, doctrine, and conduct is the Holy Scripture.
To depart from apostolic teaching is to tamper with the foundation and to
undermine the basis of our unity in Christ. We express full confidence in
the supremacy and clarity of Scripture, and pledge full obedience to the
whole counsel of God’s Word.

22. We in the Global South endorse the concept of an Anglican Covenant
(rooted 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. It is envisaged that once the
Covenant is approved by the Communion, provinces that enter into the
Covenant shall be mutually accountable, thereby providing an authentic
fellowship within the Communion.

23. Anglicans of the Global South have discovered a vibrant spiritual life
based on Scripture and empowered by the Spirit that is transforming cultures
and communities in many of our provinces. It is to this life that we seek to
be formed and found fully faithful. We reject the expectation that our lives
in Christ should conform to the misguided theological, cultural and
sociological norms associated with sections of the West.


Mission and Ministry

24. Churches in the Global South commit to pursue networking with one
another to add strength to our mission and ministry. We will continue to
explore appropriate structures to facilitate and support this.

25. Shared theological foundations are crucial to authentic fellowship and
partnership in mission and ministry. In that light, we welcome the
initiative to form the Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and the
Caribbean (CAPAC). It is envisaged that CAPAC will not only provide a
foundation on the historic formularies of Anglican faith but also provide a
structure with which member churches can carry out formal ministry
partnerships with confidence.

26. Global South is committed to provide our recognition, energy, prayers
and experience to the Networks in the USA and Canada, the Convocation of
Nigerian Anglicans in the USA, those who make Common Cause and the
Missionary District that is gathering congregations that circumstances have
pressed out of ECUSA. We are heartened by the bold witness of their people.
We are grateful that the Archbishop of Canterbury publicly recognized the
Anglican Communion Network in the USA and the Anglican Network in Canada as
faithful members of the Anglican Communion.

27. As for the other provinces and dioceses around the world who remain
steadfastly committed to this faith, we look forward to further
opportunities to partner with them in the propagation of the Gospel. We will
also support those orthodox dioceses and congregations which are under
difficult circumstances because of their faithfulness to the Word. We
appreciate the recent action of the Primate of the Southern Cone who acted
to stabilize the volatile situation in Recife, Brazil.

In this regard, we take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense
contribution of the Primate of South East Asia to the development of the
Global South and to the preservation of orthodoxy across the worldwide
Anglican Communion.


Theological Education

28. In order to provide teaching that preserves the faith and fits our
context, it is crucial to update the curricula of our theological
institutions in the Global South to reflect our theological perspective and
mission priorities. We note from the All Africa Bishops Conference their
concern that far too many Western theological education institutions have
become compromised and are no longer suitable for training leaders for our
provinces. We call for the re-alignment of our priorities in such a way as
to hasten the full establishment of adequate theological education
institutions across the Global South so that our leaders can be
appropriately trained and equipped in our own context. We aim to develop our
leaders in biblical and theological training, and seek to nurture indigenous
theologians. We will provide information on institutions in the Global
South, and we will encourage these institutions to explore ways to provide
bursaries and scholarships.


The Current Crisis provoked by North American Intransigence

29. The unscriptural innovations of North American and some western
provinces on issues of human sexuality undermine the basic message of
redemption and the power of the Cross to transform lives. These departures
are a symptom of a deeper problem, which is the diminution of the authority
of Holy Scripture. The leaders of these provinces disregard the plain
teaching of Scripture and reject the traditional interpretation of tenets in
the historical Creeds.

30. This Encounter endorses the perspectives on communion life found in
sections A & B of the Windsor Report, and encourages all Provinces to comply
with the request from the Primates’ Communiqué in February 2005 which
states:

“We therefore request all provinces to consider whether they are willing to
be committed to the inter-dependent life of the Anglican Communion
understood in the terms set out in these sections of the report.”

31. The Windsor Report rightly points out that the path to restoring order
requires that either the innovating provinces/dioceses conform to historic
teaching, or the offending provinces will by their actions be choosing to
walk apart. Paragraph 12 of the Primates Communiqué says:

“Whilst there remains a very real question about whether the North American
churches are willing to accept the same teaching on matters of sexual
morality as is generally accepted elsewhere in the Communion, the underlying
reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity is obscured, and the
effectiveness of our common mission severely hindered.”

32. Regrettably, even at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council
(ACC) in Nottingham in 2005, we see no evidence that both ECUSA and the
Anglican Church of Canada are willing to accept the generally accepted
teaching, nor is there evidence that they are willing to turn back from
their innovations.

33. Further, the struggles of the Communion have only been exacerbated by
the lack of concrete progress in the implementation of the recommendations
of the Windsor Report. The slow and inadequate response of the Panel of
Reference has trivialized the solemn charge from the Primates and has
allowed disorder to multiply unnecessarily. We recognize with regret the
growing evidence that the Provinces which have taken action creating the
current crisis in the Communion continue moving in a direction that will
result in their “walking apart.” We call for urgent and serious
implementation of the recommendations of the Windsor Report. Unscriptural
and unilateral decisions, especially on moral issues, tear the fabric of our
Communion and require appropriate discipline at every level to maintain our
unity. While the Global South calls for the errant provinces to be
disciplined, we will continue to pray for all who embrace these erroneous
teachings that they will be led to repentance and restoration.


Spiritual Leadership

34. Our on-going participation in ministry and mission requires godly and
able spiritual leadership at all times. We are encouraged that many
inspirational leaders in our midst bear witness to the Scriptures and are
effectively bringing the Gospel to surrounding cultures. We commit ourselves
to identify the next generation of leaders and will seek to equip and deploy
them wherever they are needed.

35. We need inspirational leaders and accountability structures. These
mechanisms which we are looking into must ensure that leaders are
accountable to God, to those over us in the Lord, to the flock and to one
another in accordance to the Scriptures. This last aspect is in keeping with
the principle of bishops and leaders acting in council. In this way, leaders
become the role models that are so needed for the flock.


Youth

36. The Global South emphasizes the involvement and development of youth in
the life of the Church. The youth delegates encouraged the whole gathering
by the following collective statement during the Encounter:

“Many youths in the Global South are taking up the challenge of living in
moral purity in the face of the rising influence of immoral values and
practice, and the widening epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Young people will be
ready to give their lives to the ministry of the Church if she gives them
exemplary spiritual leadership and a purpose to live for. Please pray that
we will continue to be faithful as the Church of ‘today and tomorrow’. It is
also our heart’s cry that the Communion will remain faithful to the Gospel.”


Poverty

37. As the church catholic we share a common concern for the universal
problem of debt and poverty. The inequity that exists between the rich and
the poor widens as vast sums borrowed by previous governments were not used
for the intended purposes. Requiring succeeding generations of people who
never benefited from the loans and resources to repay them will impose a
crushing and likely insurmountable burden. We welcome and appreciate the
international efforts of debt reduction and cancellation, for example, the
steps recently carried out by G8 leaders.

38. A dimension of responsible stewardship and accountability is the clear
call to be financially self-sustaining. We commend the new initiative for
financial self-sufficiency and development being studied by the Council of
Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). This is not only necessary because of
the demands of human dignity; it is the only way to have sustainable
economic stability.


HIV and AIDS

39. A holy Church combines purity and compassion in its witness and service.
The population of the world is under assault by the HIV and AIDS pandemic,
but the people of much of the Global South are hit particularly hard because
of poverty, lifestyle habits, lack of teaching and the paucity of
appropriate medication. Inspired by the significant success of the Church in
Uganda in tackling HIV and AIDS, all our provinces commit to learn and apply
similar intentional programmes which emphasize abstinence and faithfulness
in marriage. We call on governments to ensure that they are providing
adequate medication and treatment for those infected.


Corruption

40. The holy Church will “show forth fruits that befit repentance” (Matt
3:8). Many of us live in regions that have been deeply wounded by
corruption. Not only do we have a responsibility to live transparent lives
of utmost honesty in the Church, we are called to challenge the culture in
which we live (Micah 6:8). Corruption consumes the soul of society and must
be challenged at all costs. Transparency and accountability are key elements
that we must manifest in bearing witness to the cultures in which we live.


Violent Conflict

41. Many of us from across the Global South live juxtaposed with violent
conflict, most egregiously manifest in violence against innocents. In spite
of the fact that the conflicts which grip many of our provinces have
resulted in many lives being lost, we are not defeated. We find hope in the
midst of our pain and inspiration from the martyrs who have shed their
blood. Their sacrifice calls us to faithfulness. Their witness provokes us
to pursue holiness. We commit ourselves to grow to become faithful witnesses
who “do not love their lives even unto death” (Rev 12:11).

E. We Press On

42. We emerge from the Encounter strengthened to uphold the supreme
authority of the Word of God and the doctrinal formularies that have
undergirded the Anglican Communion for over four and a half centuries.
Communion requires alignment with the will of God first and foremost, which
establishes our commonality with one another. Such expressions of the will
of God which Anglicans should hold in common are: one Lord, one faith, one
baptism; Holy Scripture; apostolic teaching and practice; the historic
Creeds of the Christian Church; the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal
tenets as contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Holding truth and
grace together by the power of the Holy Spirit, we go forward as those
entrusted “with the faith once delivered” (Jude 3).

43. By the Red Sea, God led us to renew our covenant with Him. We have
committed ourselves to obey Him fully, to love Him wholly, and to serve Him
in the world as a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). God
has also helped us to renew our bonds of fellowship with one another, that
we may “stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man in the faith of the
Gospel” (Phil 1:27).

44. We offer to God this growing and deepening fellowship among the Global
South churches that we might be a servant-body to the larger Church and to
the world. We see ourselves as a unifying body, moving forward collectively
as servants of Christ to do what He is calling us to do both locally in our
provinces and globally as the “scattered people of God throughout the world”
(1 Peter 1:1).

45. Jesus Christ, “that Great Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb 13:20, Micah 5:4),
is caring for His flock worldwide, and He is gathering into His one fold
lost sheep from every tribe and nation. We continue to depend on God’s grace
to enable us to participate with greater vigour in Christ’s great enterprise
of saving love (1 Peter 2:25, John 10:14-16). We shall press on to glorify
the Father in the power of the Spirit until Christ comes again. Even so,
come Lord Jesus.

The Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter

Red Sea, Egypt, 25-30 October 2005

1 comment:

Johnny Awesomo said...

WB,
I agree with you. This report is very catholic and therefore very good.
I think, perhpas, the Nigerian church is less confessional than they've been depicted, since all their confessions have been about remaining in the catholic Church.

JA