Bishop Mouneer Anis Reflections on the Joint Standing Committee (JSC)

29/02/08 - 04/03/08

By the time I finished the meetings of the JSC, I realised that I lost many of the hopes which I had before the meeting. Several friends discouraged me to attend the JSC meeting but I insisted to go as I don’t believe in withdrawal. Jesus is our best example in this regard.  He spoke the truth boldly everywhere He went. Some accepted the truth, some refused and some wanted to murder Him, but He never stopped speaking the truth and meeting His friends as well as His enemies.

My hopes diminished for the following reasons:

• I cannot see any desire to follow things through as decided before.
The Windsor Report (TWR) recommendations, which was accepted by everyone since it was produced in 2004 is a very good example. These recommendations were affirmed during the Primates meeting in 2005, everyone waited for TEC and Canada to respond. TEC’s responses were unclear and the Primates at Dar es Salam requested a clear response by the 30th of September.  The response was clearly inadequate as Archbishop Rowan mentioned in his Advent letter.  What action did we take or recommend in the JSC meeting?  The answer is nothing.  Moreover, the very people who cause the current crisis are invited to Lambeth Conference and this contradicts with TWR as will as Dar es Salam recommendations. This widens the gap and distrust between the two sides within the Communion. 

This makes me ask, “Are we ready to take decisions as Anglican Councils”? I do appreciate the “via media” in worship but not when we are dealing with a crisis.  When will we become decisive?

• The first thing that upset me is that while we emphasise the importance of listening, very little time was given to discussing the important issues. Such issues were pushed to the last day of the meeting. I had expected that the very issues that are tearing the Communion apart would be given more time and priority.

I came to listen and share but there was not enough time for that. I expected that we would engage in constructive listening and discussion, especially while the Presiding Bishop of TEC was with us. How can we expect our congregations to be involved in the listening process when we ourselves are not?

• While the presence of the Presiding Bishop of TEC was so important during discussions, her presence as we decided about resolutions of assessment of the response of TEC inhibited other members from speaking freely. This was clear from the comments of some other members outside the meetings.

• I was shocked when the time line of the covenant process was presented. The plan that it would be enacted in 2015 gives the impression that we are NOT in a state of crisis and that there is no desire to move towards a solution. In my opinion, if we wait until 2015 or even 2012 the Communion will be fragmented. If we truly are in a situation that makes us “seriously concerned”, as mentioned in the JSC resolution, how can we wait another four or seven years?

• I was also very surprised that some now speak of the ambiguity of the Windsor recommendations and the meaning of “moratorium”. Where have these people been since 2004?  Why were these questions not raised in Dar es Salam? 

I am sorry to share my heartaches in this report, but I hope that this will encourage all of us in the Communion to pray especially for Archbishop Rowan and the Windsor Continuing Group so that the right decisions would be taken.

I realise that the forthcoming Lambeth Conference may add to my disappointment but I am determined to go, to listen and share with an open heart and firm stand.

+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis
Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa

4 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Alice C. Linsley Says:

    God bless you, Bishop Mouneer Anis, for speaking frankly. As I read your thoughts I was reminded of a patient on a surgical table. The patient is bleeding to death while the doctors stand around discussing a timeline for treatment.

  2. The Very Rev. Dr. Robert S. Munday Says:

    Bishop Mouneer, God bless you for your faithfulness.  Many orthodox Anglicans in the Episcopal Church (and those who are being driven out and deposed at an alarming rate) share your heartache over the continued lack of action to discipline the American Church for her departures from biblical faith and morals.  I am also saddened that the Anglican Covenant (for which I once had high hopes) is being watered down so that it will be completely ineffective in helping us deal with the real issues that are tearing apart the Anglican Communion. 

    Unless the Global South primates and bishops act to strengthen the Anglican Covenant and move up the timeline for its adoption, it will be too little and too late to do the Anglican Communion any good.

  3. teddymak Says:

    Sadly most of us have experienced the same surprise and sorrow over the duplicity of the Northern European, and North American churches. The calculated and thoroughly illegal deposition of saintly bishops in the US and Canada, the savage legal attacks on traditional Episcopal parishes, priests and laymen (that’s right, Mrs. Schori has hauled laymen in Virginia into court, threatening to destroy them financially) are but a part of what is surely a grand scheme to further their pan sexual Scripture hating agendas. The Covenant was the only hope we had to find safety in our dioceses, and that is now not to be. We implore the good Christian people of the Global South to not abandon us, to keep your sturdy and prayerful watch over us as we contend with an ancient Foe.

  4. Bishop Ijaz Inayat Says:

    I respect Archbishop Mouneer Anis for his honest opinion and his decision to attend Lambeth which also means his opinion represents many others thinking like him.

    Yet, there are a few questions that need to be asked, and answered by him and like-minded Bishops attending the Lambeth.

    1.His share presence at the Lambeth along with others thinking in similar terms would endorse the statements/communiqués/recommendations of the Lambeth even though they do not get a chance to speak on the issues. Would that be healthy for those who would not be attending the Lambeth? (Including ordinary members of the Anglican Church)

    2.Would his presence at the Lambeth resolve the issue for the sake of those not attending it?

    3.If he attends Lambeth along with Bishops thinking like him, he would surely carry the moral burden of speaking for those who would not be at the Lambeth and have a concern over the issues dividing the AC. Would he be able to satisfy all those believers?

    I feel a solid stand like that of those supporting GAFCON would certainly communicate to the pro TEC lobby and strengthen the Bible respecting members of AC.

    We have to make it clear that the Word of God is more respectable than the AC with TEC included.