Anglican primates from the Americas and the Caribbean have concluded their regional meeting today (Thursday) with a commitment to continue meeting regularly and working together in the coming years. The three-day meeting, at the convent of the Sisterhood of St John the Divine in Toronto, was characterized as being “not just honest talks, but very honest talks which enabled us to face the difficulties in the Communion and move forward together in Christ.”
The meeting was the first time that all the primates of the Americas had met together in a group. They gathered following a suggestion at the last Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury in October 2017, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, encouraged the primates to meet.
The conversations began with an acknowledgement of the need to rebuild trust within the Anglican Communion and amongst the primates and provinces. The Anglican Communion document, Towards a Symphony of Instruments, was used as a framework for the discussions.
The primates also discussed the Lambeth Conference 2020 and “made a good contribution to the Lambeth Design Group.” They said that they are “asking that our reality be made a priority at Lambeth,” including a range of common issues in the region: church planting, evangelism, mission, the refugee crisis, violence against women and children, economic injustice, and climate change.
Every primate in the Americas was present at the meeting, together with Bishop Leopold Friday, representing the Church of the Province of West Indies, as they await to appoint their primate. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also took part. Bishop Anthony Poggo, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor on Anglican Communion Affairs, and Phil George, the Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference, also participated.
“We faced major challenges in the hope of moving forward,” the primates said at the conclusion of their meeting. “We discussed these issues in the context of an ongoing reflection on the nature of Communion.”
The Church leaders discussed ways of strengthening relationships among the primates in the region; particularly ways of organizing themselves for continuing conversation and closer collaboration in the future. They also discussed the possibility of a conference on mission in the Americas in 2021, following the Lambeth Conference in 2020.
Yesterday, Archbishop Julio Murray, primate of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, was elected as the Americas regional representative on the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee.