Lead Photo: The Primates in a dialogue session with the National leadership for the TSMP/CCC at their head office, led by Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of the national TSPM, and Revd Gao Feng, President of the national CCC.
1. At the kind invitation of His Excellency Mr. Wang Zuoan, Minister for the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) of the People’s Republic of China, following his visit to some African provinces earlier this year, we, the Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion, visited China from 30 August to 10 September 2011. It is with regret that a few other Primates were unable to be with us due to urgent matters that require their attention.
2. We wish to express our deep appreciation for the cordial hospitality extended to us by Mr. Wang, the staff of SARA and the religious affairs authorities of Jiangsu Province and the cities of Beijing, Chongqing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai. This visit is opening the way for greater cooperation between China and the countries we represent, especially in the areas of church development, social services and commercial activity.
3. Our hearts are greatly warmed by the fellowship we enjoyed with the senior pastors and church leaders in the various cities. We are particularly grateful for the brotherly hospitality of Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China (TSPM), and the Rev Gao Feng, President of the China Christian Council (CCC).
4. Most of all, we are grateful to God for this historic opportunity for deeper fellowship, prayer and reflection among ourselves as Primates of the Global South.
5. The visit has been an extraordinary learning experience for us. We are amazed at the advances in economic growth and social development in China over the past three decades, including the recognition and encouragement given to the church and other religious organizations.
6. We are also inspired by the exponential growth of the Church in China, in spite of the challenges she faces. We are encouraged to see a Church that is actively leading people to faith in Christ, training lay leaders for ministry, advancing the theological education of catechists and clergy, and being a blessing to society, especially in providing social services to the needy.
7. We rejoice that the Amity Printing Press in Nanjing has printed over 90 million copies of the Bible, most of which are for distribution in China. Bibles and New Testaments are printed in nine ethnic minority languages. Amity Press has also printed Bibles for many African countries.
8. The Amity Foundation, as the first Christian-initiated non-profit social welfare organization in China, is engaged in an impressive range of relief and development projects for disadvantaged communities, signifying a move from being self-sufficient to achieving excellence.
9. These achievements affirm the church’s faithfulness in doing God’s work in a manner that is self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating. In all this, we recognize God’s divine providence, grace and wisdom.
10. We are also excited by the invitation by the Church in China, with the support and encouragement of SARA, to develop a long-term relationship with the Global South of the Anglican Communion for mutual encouragement and sharing of experiences.
11. In our reflections, we found that our Anglican Communion has also undergone a tremendous transformation in recent decades. Today, the majority of Anglicans are found no longer in the west, but in churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are firmly committed to our historic faith and order.
12. At the same time, it grieves us deeply to observe many Anglican churches in the west yielding to secular pressure to allow unacceptable practices in the name of human rights and equality. Beginning with the undermining of Scriptural authority and two millennia of church tradition, the erosion of orthodoxy has gone as far as the ordination and consecration of active gay and lesbian clergy and bishops, and the development of liturgies for same-sex marriage.
13. We are wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury. Sadly, however, the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Unity have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together. For instance:
13.1. It was regrettable that the Lambeth Conference 2008 was designed not to make any resolutions that would have helped to resolve the crisis facing the Communion.
13.2. The Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in January 2011 was planned without prior consultation with the Primates in regard to the agenda. There was no commitment to follow through the recommendations of previous Primates’ Meetings. The responsibility given by all bishops at the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences for the Primates’ Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” seems to have been completely set aside.
13.3. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, and Communion-level commissions such as the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Liturgical Commission no longer reflect the common mind of the churches of the Communion because many members from the Global South can no longer with good conscience attend these meetings as issues that are aggravating and tearing the fabric of the Communion are being ignored.
14. We have devoted much time to discuss the Anglican Communion Covenant and the Preamble by the Province of South East Asia documenting the historical events leading up to the Covenant and insisting that the Primates should be the proper moral and spiritual authority for the monitoring of the Covenant. The Covenant with the Preamble have been commended to our respective Provinces for further study and decision.
15. We are committed to uphold the apostolic faith and traditions that define us as Anglicans. This commitment compels us to adopt a proactive stance with respect to our common mission and witness.
15.1. We are planning a Missions Consultation with the theme “Decade of Mission and Networking” as proposed in the Fourth South-to-South Encounter, as a unifying vocational platform on which we realize and build up our common life and witness. Orthodox Anglican churches and groups will be invited to join hands with us in missions.
15.2. We commend the initiatives of theological education carried out in some of our provinces to strengthen the theological foundations and deepen theological reflection among future leaders of the Church.
15.3. We are developing economic empowerment strategies and networks to enable churches in the Global South to be more economically self-sustaining using the resources God has blessed each of our nations.
15.4. We are committed to support faithful orthodox Anglican churches and groups in the west which share our historic faith and order.
16. Inspired by the grace of God which we have witnessed in China, and refreshed by our fellowship with one another in Christ, we continue to pray that all who confess the name of Christ may be united in His truth, live together in His love, and reveal His glory in the world. Amen.
The Word of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures unites us.
Most Rev Dr John Chew
Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi
Most Rev Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis
Most Rev Justice Ofei Akrofi
Most Rev Bernard Ntahoturi
Most Rev Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh*
Most Rev Stephen Than Myint Oo
Most Rev Hector Zavala
Most Rev Eliud Wabukala
Most Rev Onesphore Rwaje
Most Rev Albert Chama
9 September 2011
*Note: Abp Okoh left a day earlier before the Communique was finalised
Group photo of Welcome Banquet at main function room at Beijing Hotel on arrival by Minister Wang Zuoan,
Minister for State Administration for Religious Affairs and Mr Jiang Jianyung, Deputy-Minister.