Anglican leaders from the Global South drew up a communiqué today confirming their support for orthodox Anglicans and proposing for an alternative overseer to the Episcopal Churchs presiding bishop-elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, for those who hold the Scriptures as the inerrant Word of God.
Leaders of 20 Anglican provinces proposed that conservative leaders in the United States be represented by a bishop of their own choosing at the February 2007 primates meeting, commit to develop a proposal for granting Alternative Primatial Oversight to those that have requested it, and call for the Anglican Communion to take "initial steps" toward the formation of a distinct orthodox Anglican body in the U.S.
The Anglican Communion Network welcomed the statement by the Global South Primates, according to a news release issued today.
"We are deeply humbled by the care shown for us by our Fathers in God in the Global South, said Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, in a released statement. In many places they and the Anglicans they pastor face poverty, disease and persecution for their faith on a scale that goes far beyond anything that threatens us. In fact, just this week, Anglicans in Nigeria saw their cathedral in Dutse burned to the ground by rioting Muslims.
"Yet, in the midst of dealing with these massive issues, they continue to offer us their support and guidance. We can only be profoundly grateful."
Leaders of 20 Anglican provinces, claiming to represent more than 70 percent of the worldwide Anglican Communion, met in Kigali, Rwanda this week and stated their desire to put to rest the issue of homosexuality. The Communion and the Episcopal Church, USA the representative of Anglicanism in the United States have remained divided over the issue since the consecration of the denominations first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003.
At the meeting of the Primates in February, the communiqué stated that some leaders will not be able to recognize Jefferts Schori, a supporter of homosexuality, as a Primate at the same table and 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," read the statement.
Jefferts Schori will be formally installed as the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church on Nov. 4. She will be the first woman to lead an Anglican province.
While recognizing the ongoing conflict in the worldwide Communion that have caused a loss of hope in many, leaders of the Global South Primates noted one sign of promise which is the "widespread support for the development of an Anglican Covenant."
"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."
The conservative leaders expressed "deep regret" that the Episcopal Church gave no clear direction in the Windsor Report but were encouraged by the faithfulness of some leaders in North America including the Network Dioceses.
Although their proposal for a "separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA" has serious implications, the Global South leaders said, "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."