Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Report of the Meeting of Primates of the Anglican Communion

International Study Centre, Canterbury
10-17 April 2002

1. The Primates, as the spiritual leaders of the 38 Provinces of the
Anglican Communion, met from 10 April to 17 April 2002, at the newly
constructed International Study Centre in the Close adjacent to Canterbury
Cathedral. The Centre was officially opened by His Royal Highness the Duke
of Kent on the last day of the meeting.

2. This was the last meeting of Primates to be chaired by Archbishop George
Carey, who retires as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of October 2002.
It was thus very appropriate that this particular meeting was held at
Canterbury. During the course of the meeting the Primates took the
opportunity to bid farewell to Archbishop and Mrs. Carey and to thank them
for all they have contributed to the life of the Anglican Communion over the
last eleven years. The Primates wished them both every blessing and abundant
happiness in retirement. At a very enjoyable function in the Deanery hosted
by the Very Revd Robert Willis on Sunday 14 April, a presentation was made
to the Careys by the Primates.

3. God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. As Primates we
are conscious of this call at a time of tension in the world and in the
Communion. The Primates’ Meeting took place in the context of prayer and
deepening communion. Primates were able to worship each day in Canterbury
Cathedral, where they celebrated the Eucharist together and joined in the
regular Cathedral Evensong. Bible Studies each morning on the theme of
“Reconciliation”, were based on a selection of Johannine texts. These
studies were led, as at the previous two Primates’ Meetings, by Professor
David Ford of Cambridge University. Bible study took place in the context
of Morning Prayer, and was followed by group discussion and prayer. The
experience of worship and shared Bible study has clearly become an important
dynamic in welding the Primates together in a spirit of prayerfulness,
mutual listening, and grappling together to discern the will of God through
the breaking open of God’s Word. The deliberations of the meeting were thus
grounded in a profound experience of our communion in God the Holy Trinity.

4. The meeting was convened against the background of the horrendous
escalation of the violence in the Middle East, the continuing war against
terrorism in Afghanistan and the legacy of the trauma of September 11. The
Primates prayed earnestly for peace and heard an impassioned plea for
assistance from the Rt Revd Riah H. Abu El-Assal, the Anglican Bishop in
Jerusalem. A statement of support for suffering Christians, and for Muslims
and Jews of goodwill, and calling on the leadership of Palestine and Israel,
and all world leaders, to make a more concerted and urgent commitment to
achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East is appended to this
report (Appendix I - ACNS2955).

5. The first major topic of the business agenda was to receive a report of
the Consultation of Anglican Communion Legal Advisors, which met at
Canterbury from 6 - 13 March 2002. The formation of this Consultation was
an initiative of the Primates’ Meeting of 2001 at Kanuga, North Carolina,
USA, following a presentation by Professor Norman Doe of the Centre for Law
and Religion at the University of Wales, Cardiff, and the Revd Canon John
Rees, Registrar of the Province of Canterbury. This year the Primates were
pleased to receive a report of a representative group of more than twenty
Church Lawyers from around the Communion who had clearly worked harmoniously
and very productively.
The Legal Advisers’ Consultation had identified an initial list of
forty-four shared principles of canon law common to the Churches of the
Communion, covering
Order in the Church
Ecclesiastical Government
Doctrine, Liturgy and Rites
Church Property
Inter Anglican Relations
In addition, the Consultation’s Report identified a list of fifteen topics
representing legal issues on which further work may need to be done. The
Primates responded to this Report and sought to prioritise topics for the
group to address at a future meeting.

6. The Primates recognized that the unwritten law common to the Churches of
the Communion and expressed as shared principles of canon law may be
understood to constitute a fifth “instrument of unity” along with the four
instruments identified in The Virginia Report of the Inter Anglican
Theological and Doctrinal Commission (1997) - the Archbishop of Canterbury,
the Lambeth Conference, the Primates Meeting, and the Anglican Consultative
Council. Given that law may be understood to provide a basic framework to
sustain the minimal conditions which allow the Churches of the Communion to
live together in harmony and unity, the observances of the ministry of Word
and Sacrament call us all to live by a maximal degree of communion through
grace. It is clear that the Churches’ legal advisers have a very important
role to play, both in the internal life of the respective member Churches
and in the life of the Churches together as a world-wide Communion. The
Primates enthusiastically thanked those who had worked so effectively to
produce the Report and endorsed the need for further work to be done.

7. Between two sessions of the Meeting that considered the Legal Advisers’
Consultation Report there was a session of theological reflection on the
nature of the Church and her mission in the world. Stimulating papers were
read by the Most Revd Rowan Williams, Primate of Wales and the Most Revd
Michael Peers, Primate of Canada. These broke fresh ground in relation to
the possibility of developing new ecclesial structures so as to free the
Churches of the Communion for more effective mission in the context of a
rapidly changing world. Reflection on these papers highlighted the need for
Primates to be open to the development of new patterns of ministry within
the inherited legal framework of our tradition. For example,
non-geographical networks within our geographically structured dioceses, and
perhaps even transcending diocesan boundaries along the lines of the work of
religious orders with specific ministry commitments, were considered. A
think tank was proposed to do some basic work on the exploration of these

8. On each of the first three nights of the Meeting, the collegial
leadership of the Primates, in the unity of their common mission, was
deepened by the sharing of pastoral experiences, as each Primate addressed
the question of “How we live with issues that challenge us.” Each Primate of
the Communion was thus given the opportunity to focus on experienced
tensions and difficulties and the means of resolving them. We were also
encouraged by stories of new hopes and accounts of Churches rising to meet
new challenges in ministry and mission. Reports on the local pastoral
situation in each Province were received in this way.

9. The Primates also met with the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary, Mr
Tony Sadler, and the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary, Mr William
Chapman, as Joint Secretaries of the Crown Appointments Commission. The
Primates noted with satisfaction that the Secretary General of the Anglican
Consultative Council is also a member of the Commission. This Commission is
charged with the work of appointing the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
First the composition of the Crown Appointments Commission was outlined to
the Primates along with details of the process to be followed for the
election of two candidates whose names will be submitted to the Prime
Minister of Great Britain.
Primates were then invited to share their perceptions of the issues and
challenges facing the Anglican Communion with a view to identifying the
qualities most desired in the next Archbishop. The Primates appreciated both
the opportunity to contribute to the process and the frankness of the

10. The Report of the Primates’ Working Group on Theological Education was
presented by Ms. Sue Parks of SPCK. This working group resulted from the
Action Plan of the 2001 Primates’ Meeting at Kanuga, following a paper
presented by the Revd Professor Dan Hardy on the need for the Churches of
the Communion to receive advice on such matters as the formation of the
Church’s leadership in holiness, truth, wisdom, and spirituality as well as
acquiring knowledge. The Group also addressed the need for the sharing of
educational resources across the Communion, including consideration of the
distribution of resources over the internet. The Report urged the Primates
to develop a clear strategy to improve the quality of the theological
education of both clergy and laity and to develop priorities and means for
providing for the delivery of theological education, particularly where
resources are limited. The Primates also recognised the need for the
in-service training of bishops and for the need for them to be as well
equipped theologically as possible in order to exercise their teaching
office with integrity and credibility. In the context of the exuberant
individualism of contemporary society the Primates recognized the
responsibility for all bishops to be able to articulate the fundamentals of
faith so as to maintain the Church in truth. A statement of the Primates in
relation to fundamental doctrine is attached to this Report. (Appendix II).
The Primates resolved to pursue the re-developing of theological education
by appointing a small strategic planning group to continue this work and
report back to the next Primates’ Meeting. The Report may be downloaded
from the Anglican Communion website at

11. Addressing Global issues:

(a) Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, the Anglican
Observer at the UN addressed the gathering, reviewing her work to date. She
stressed the importance of the Global Anglican Congress on the Stewardship
of Creation to be held in Johannesburg the week before the UN Summit, from
19 - 23 August 2002. She also drew attention to the need to observe and
contribute to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non
Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). In order to serve the
Communion effectively the Observer asked for the assistance with providing
solid facts to allow her to deal effectively with any issues she is asked to
bring before the UN and the Ambassadors.

(b) Christian Muslim Relations. The Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of
Rochester, one of the three Bishop Presidents of the Network on Inter Faith
Concerns for the Anglican Communion NIFCON (together with the Rt Revd Josiah
Idowu-Fearon, representing Africa, and the Rt Revd Kenneth Fernando, retired
Bishop of Colombo, representing Asia), addressed the Primates on the
historical origins of Islam. Amongst other matters he made the point that
there is no time in history in which Muslims have not had dealings with
Christians; also there has been a long history of theological dialogue
between Christians and Muslims. From the very beginning the Constitution of
Medina gave Christians and Jews equal rights with Muslims in the State of
Medina. Bishop Nazir-Ali suggested that this is the most original way there
is of being an Islamic State.
Bishop Nazir-Ali also outlined a suggested agenda of key items for the
future Christian/Islamic dialogue. His paper is available on the Anglican
Communion website.

(c) The Most Revd Peter Akinola, the Primate of Nigeria, addressed the
question of Shariah law in some states in Nigeria, which is threatening
national integrity. In these states Christians are discriminated against.
This has given rise to a concerted Christian opposition to the movement
towards making all Nigeria a Muslim nation.

(d) The Archbishop of Canterbury reported on the Anglican Communion dialogue
with the esteemed centre of Muslim learning in Cairo, al-Azhar al-Sharif.
Dr Carey is seeking names of suitably qualified Anglican scholars for this
dialogue. The next meeting is set for 11 September 2002. This initiative
received the endorsement of the Primates. Dr Carey concluded his remarks by
making a point about reciprocity: There are 1500 mosques in the United
Kingdom, but in many parts of the world churches are burnt down, and freedom
of worship is not allowed. Our hope is that Christians in Muslim countries
will receive the hospitality which Christians seek to secure for Muslims in
countries where they are in the minority.

12. HIV/AIDS. The Primate of Southern Africa, Archbishop Njongonkulu
Ndungane reported on progress in planning the continuing response to
HIV/AIDS for the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop introduced a power-point
presentation by the Revd Canon Ted Karpf and the Revd Colin Jones, which
again reminded the Primates of the horrendous statistical dimensions of this
pandemic, and of the human tragedy and havoc it is creating. Primates were
concerned to learn that, after two decades in which the world community has
been struggling to address the problem of HIV/AIDS, some governments are
still in denial and are thus not acting decisively to initiate effective
HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes. In some countries the Church
is experiencing difficulty in persuading governments that the situation is
as seriously threatening to human survival and well being as it is.
Archbishop Ndungane urged that, in addition to admitting its failure, it
is clearly time for the Church to become more assertive in its response to
this problem. The Church should be less prone to silence, less judgmental,
less fearful, and more strategically committed to a global Anglican response
to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and care for those affected by the
disease. The Church should support and encourage joint effort between church
agencies and governments to provide education programmes, and adequate care
of those infected and living with it by ensuring access to counselling,
treatment, essential pharmaceuticals, and appropriate medical assistance. A
Primatial statement on this crisis is appended to this Report (Appendix
III). A Step by Step Guide to HIV/AIDS for the Anglican Communion can be
found on the Communion website.

13. A report on the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical
Relations (IASCER) was given by the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of
the West Indies. IASCER reports regularly to the Primates of the Communion
as it is a Commission mandated to oversee our ecumenical dialogues, and
therefore deals with many issues of faith and order that touch upon the life
of the Communion as a whole. In his report Archbishop Gomez reviewed the
major international dialogues in which the Communion is currently engaged.
These are with the Baptist World Alliance, the Lutheran World Federation,
the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic
Church. He also pointed out some significant developments in national and
regional ecumenical agreement in several countries around the world.

14. Archbishop Peter Carnley of Australia then presented a report on Roman
Catholic relations, concentrating on the work of the new International
Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) which
came out of the May 2000 Meeting of Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops in
Mississauga, Canada. The specific tasks of IARCCUM are: to oversee the
preparation of a Joint Declaration of Agreement between the Anglican
Communion and the Roman Catholic Church; to promote and monitor the
reception of ARCIC agreements; and to develop strategies for translating the
degree of spiritual communion reached between us into visible and practical
outcomes. The Primates endorsed the work of this new Commission and a
statement is appended (Appendix IV).

15. The Revd Canon David Hamid, the Anglican Communion’s Director of
Ecumenical Affairs and Studies, gave an update on the study of the Inter
Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (IATDC) on “the nature, basis
and sustaining of communion in the Church with particular reference to the
Anglican Communion”. The IATDC has invited Primates, Bishops, Theological
Colleges and interested individuals to respond to 4 key questions that will
guide its study at this stage. The questions are available on the Anglican
Communion website and responses are requested by 31 May 2002.

16. The Primates are grateful to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury and to
the staff of the International Study Centre who provided such a fitting
venue for the meeting and whose hospitality and service to the participants
has been most warm and accommodating. They thank also the Secretary General
of the Anglican Consultative Council and the staff of the Communion and
Lambeth Palace for their untiring support and efficient management.

17. The Primates thank God for the deepening unity that the meeting has
experienced. We leave the meeting determined to wrestle together with
challenging issues, and steadfastly affirm our commitment to work as one
Communion to the glory of God and in service of his Kingdom.


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