The Anglican Communion
Kigali, Rwanda September 2006
1. As Primates and Leaders of the Global South Provinces of the Anglican Communion we gathered at the Hotel des Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda, between 19th and 22nd September 2006. We were called together by the Global South Steering Committee and its chairman, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola. Twenty provinces were represented at the meeting*. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome shown to us by the Right Honorable Bernard Makuza, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, and the hospitality provided by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, members of the House of Bishops of the Church of Rwanda and all of the members of the local organizing committee.
2. We have gathered in Rwanda twelve years after the genocide that tragically engulfed this nation and even its churches. During this time Rwanda was abandoned to its fate by the world. Our first action was to visit the Kigali Genocide Museum at Gisozi for a time of prayer and reflection. We were chastened by this experience and commit ourselves not to abandon the poor or the persecuted wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances. We add our voices to theirs and we say, “Never Again!”
3. As we prayed and wept at the mass grave of 250,000 helpless victims we confronted the utter depravity and inhumanity to which we are all subject outside of the transforming grace of God. We were reminded again that faith in Jesus Christ must be an active, whole-hearted faith if we are to stand against the evil and violence that threaten to consume our world. We were sobered by the reality that several of our Provinces are presently in the middle of dangerous conflicts. We commit ourselves to intercession for them.
4. We are very aware of the agonizing situation in the Sudan. We appreciate and commend the terms of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and the South. We dare not, however, close our eyes to the devastating situation in Darfur. We are conscious of the complexities but there must be no continuation of the slaughter. We invite people from all of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion and the entire international community to stand in solidarity with the men, women and children in Darfur, Sudan.
5. We are here as a people of hope and we have been greatly encouraged as we have witnessed the reconciling power of God’s love at work as this nation of Rwanda seeks to rebuild itself. We have been pleased to hear of positive developments in the neighboring country of Burundi as they have recently completed a cease-fire agreement between their government and the Palipehutu-FNL. We are also beginning to see an end to the conflict in Northern Uganda and we note that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is approaching a historic election that offers promise for a peaceful future. All of these developments are occasions for hope for the future.
6. We have met here as a growing fellowship of Primates and leaders of churches in the Global South representing more than 70 percent of the active membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion. We build on and reaffirm the work of our previous meetings, especially our most recent gathering in Egypt in October 2005. We are mindful of the challenges that face our Communion and recommit ourselves to the abiding truth of the Holy Scriptures and the faithful proclamation of the whole Gospel for the whole world. We recommit ourselves to the vision of our beloved Communion as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
7. We recognize that because of the ongoing conflict in the Communion many people have lost hope that we will come to any resolution in the foreseeable future. We are grateful therefore, that one sign of promise is the widespread support for the development of an Anglican Covenant. We are delighted to affirm the extraordinary progress made by the Global South task group on developing an Anglican Covenant. For the past year they have labored on this important task and we look forward to submitting the result of their labor to the rest of the Communion. We are pleased that the Archbishop of Canterbury has recognized the exemplary scholarship and leadership of Archbishop Drexel Gomez in asking him to chair the Covenant Design Group and look forward with anticipation to the crucial next steps of this historic venture. We believe that an Anglican Covenant will demonstrate to the world that it is possible to be a truly global communion where differences are not affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a common confession of faith and mutual accountability.
8. We have come together as Anglicans and we celebrate the gift of Anglican identity that is ours today because of the sacrifice made by those who have gone before us. We grieve that, because of the doctrinal conflict in parts of our Communion, there is now a growing number of congregations and dioceses in the USA and Canada who believe that their Anglican identity is at risk and are appealing to us so that they might remain faithful members of the Communion. As leaders of that Communion we will work together to recognize the Anglican identity of all who receive, hold and maintain the Scriptures as the Word of God written and who seek to live in godly fellowship within our historic ordering.
9. We deeply regret that, at its most recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church gave no clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report. We observe that a number of the resolutions adopted by the Convention were actually contrary to the Windsor Report. We are further dismayed to note that their newly elected Presiding Bishop also holds to a position on human sexuality – not to mention other controversial views – in direct contradiction of Lambeth 1.10 and the historic teaching of the Church. The actions and decisions of the General Convention raise profound questions on the nature of Anglican identity across the entire Communion.
10. We are, however, greatly encouraged by the continued faithfulness of the Network Dioceses and all of the other congregations and communities of faithful Anglicans in North America. In addition, we commend the members of the Anglican Network in Canada for their commitment to historic, biblical faith and practice. We value their courage and consistent witness. We are also pleased by the emergence of a wider circle of ‘Windsor Dioceses’ and urge all of them to walk more closely together and deliberately work towards the unity that Christ enjoins. We are aware that a growing number of congregations are receiving oversight from dioceses in the Global South and in recent days we have received requests to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight for a number of dioceses. This is an unprecedented situation in our Communion that has not been helped by the slow response from the Panel of Reference. After a great deal of prayer and deliberation, and in order to support these faithful Anglican dioceses and parishes, we have come to agreement on the following actions:
a. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network and the ‘Windsor Dioceses’, to investigate their appeal in greater detail and to develop a proposal identifying the ways by which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately provided.
b. At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations.
c. We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.
11. While we are concerned about the challenges facing our Anglican structures we are also very much aware that these issues can be a distraction from the work of the Gospel. At our meeting in Kigali we invested a great deal of our time on the day-to-day challenges that confront our various Churches including poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS, peace building and church planting. We were enormously encouraged by the reports of growth and vitality in the many different settings where we live and serve.
12. We received a preliminary report from the Theological Formation and Education (TFE) Task Force. We were pleased to hear of their plans to provide opportunities for theological formation from the most basic catechism to graduate level training for new and existing Anglican leaders. We request that all Global South provinces share their existing Catechisms and other educational resources with the TFE Task Force for mutual enrichment. We were pleased by their determination to network with other theological institutions and theologians in the Global South as well as with scholars and seminaries who share a similar vision for theological education that is faithful to Scripture and tradition.
13. We were blessed by the presence of a number of Economic Officers (Advisors) from around the Communion. Their determination to find creative ways to offer means of Economic Empowerment< at various levels throughout the provinces of the Global South was an inspiration to all of us and resulted in the issuing of a separate summary statement. We note especially their proposed Ethical Economic and Financial Covenant that we adopted as Primates and commended for adoption at all levels of our Provinces. We were impressed by their vision and fully support their proposal to convene an Economic Empowerment consultation in 2007 with participation invited from every Global South Province.
14. We received ‘The Road to Lambeth,’ a draft report commissioned by the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) which they have commended to their churches for study and response. It highlights the crisis that now confronts us as we consider the future of the Lambeth Conference. We commend this report for wider reflection.
15. We were challenged by a presentation on the interface between Christianity and Islam and the complex issues that we must now confront at every level of our societies throughout the Global South. We recognized the need for a more thorough education and explored a number of ways that allow us to be faithful disciples to Jesus Christ while respecting the beliefs of others. We condemn all acts of violence in the name of any religion.
16. Throughout our time together in Kigali we have not only shared in discussions such as these we have also spent time together in table fellowship, prayer and worship. We are grateful that because of the time that we have shared our lives have been strengthened and our love for Christ, His Church and His world confirmed. Accordingly, we pray for God’s continued blessing on all members of our beloved Communion that we might all be empowered to continue in our mission to a needy and troubled world.
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)
* Provinces Represented:
Bangladesh**, Burundi, Central Africa, Church of South India, Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines**, Rwanda, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, West Indies (** Not present but represented)