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Pray for the Primates

by Gerry Lynch last modified 28 Sep, 2017 11:45 AM

Archbishop Justin calls for prayers as world's Anglican leaders gather in Canterbury

Pray for the Primates

Photo (C) Anglican Communion Office.

Archbishop Justin Welby has asked for the prayers for the primates and moderators of the Anglican Communion as they being to gather in Canterbury.

The Anglican Primates’ Meeting will take place from Monday 2 – Friday 6 October. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who called the Meeting, said he was “greatly looking forward” to it.

“It’s an extraordinary feeling to have the leaders of all the provinces gathering together to pray, to encourage one another, to weep with one another, to celebrate with one another,” he told the Anglican Communion News Service.

Sixteen new Primates have been appointed since the last Meeting in January 2016. One of them, Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo, is well known to and much loved by many in the Diocese of Salisbury, and is Primate of the newly-created province of Sudan. Archbishop Justin said the presence of the new primates would be particularly exciting.

“There will be a whole lot of fresh energy and fresh excitement – and, no doubt, some tough questions ... I think that’s going to be fabulous,” he said.

A small number of primates have indicated that they won’t be attending, for a variety of reasons.

“We will miss those who are not there,” Archbishop Justin said, “miss them very much.”

Some recent Primates’ Meetings have been tense affairs, with particularly sharp differences on the subject of homosexuality.

This year’s meeting will involve plenty of time for prayer, and planning for the future including the next Lambeth Conference scheduled for 2020. The Gospel of St John will form the scriptural focus of the meeting.

The rest of the week will look at major issues in Provinces, including conflict and persecution, work with young people, mission and evangelism, and climate change impacts, which are already very severe in many Provinces.

The Province of Melanesia, which covers the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, is in one of the parts of the world being hit earliest and hardest by climate change. For its Primate, the Most Revd George Takeli, the Primates Meeting is a chance visit the UK, to carry out other business and to raise awareness of the problems facing the region. (See story here)

The Primate of Southern Africa and Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, wrote that, “When they cover the Communion, the secular media – and even the church media – tend to focus on debates over human sexuality. But there are other issues they should be devoting attention to also, matters of life and death to billions of people across the globe: the glaring economic inequalities both between and within nations; the evil of human trafficking; and climate change, just to name a handful.

“My own passion is the environment. In my diocese – Cape Town – we face a major water crisis in coming months, and across the world the rise in temperatures impacts agriculture and people’s livelihoods. I hope that we can look at ways of helping people mitigate the effects of climate change which are biblically-based and can find expression in our theology.

“We are above all a family – God’s family, a global family which lives with all the tensions and difficulties ordinary nuclear families go through, under the guidance of their fathers and mothers.

“In a healthy family, we are not manacled together, we don't hide our differences and we are real with one another. As in any family, there will be those who push left, those who pull right, and sometimes everyone is expressing different views at the same time. But family lives best when each member, as St Paul writes, is able to be himself or herself, not being straight-jacketed into conformity.

“In a family, you don't choose your brothers and sisters; they are a gift to you from God.”

Read the whole of Archbishop Thabo’s blog here.

Please keep Archbishop Justin, his fellow primates, and all those involved in the meeting in your prayers over the next week or so. Archbishop Justin has asked for prayer ‘that the primates would be caught by the Spirit, would find unity in Christ and be able to walk onwards together’.

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