How did you read it? (Editorial Comments, 27th September 2006)

27 September 2006 - Print Version

It is still less than a week since the Kigali Communiqué was released. The responses have been fast and furious.

I almost had a splitting headache reading those bent on reading schism into it. And a sense of deja vu from those who imagined another "I was not there but you put my name on it" scandal.  It is interesting to note how fast some jumped on the ‘mistakes’ that ‘Global South’ leaders make, real or apparent. There is now an official explanation, which hopefully, can calm some nerves (and dash some hopes?). Some smell death, to further conversations or to the Communion. Some pronounced it ‘un-Anglican.’

Others however, have been reading it more carefully.

At First Things, Jonathan Hylden’s careful treatment of the Kigali Communiqué is helpful. He said, “The Kigali communiqué bears the marks of this moderation, which has produced a document that does not advocate separatism but instead a firm commitment to theological orthodoxy and the fullest possible level of Communion unity.” Read it for yourself here. His other observations are just as astute though he got some facts wrong on why the Communiqué came out ‘moderated.’ Even without the participation of ‘liberal-leaning’ Provinces, this group of Primates is very capable of producing this piece of statement.

Michael Poon’s response to the Communiqué in his article “Towards rapprochement…” also brings us nearer to the truth:

“The Kigali Communiqué requires sensitive reading. Many gloss over the Global South Primates’ central message in the animated discussion on the break-up of ECUSA after its release.  No, the Global South churches are not calling for the breakup of the Communion.  No, they are not yielding to any politicking initiative. No, they have not adopted any ultraconservative theological position. No, they are not boycotting Lambeth 2008. No, they have not called for the exclusion of the incoming ECUSA Presiding Bishop from the coming Primates’ Meeting. But yes, they will work with Canterbury to provide a coherent solution to the appeal from some American dioceses and churches. Yes, they will contribute positively to the Anglican Covenant. Individual primates or provinces may have different opinions on particular matters; but as one body, they affirm this central position. The confession in the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” guides the churches across the spectrum to come to a common mind over many complex issues. It prevents them from taking any radical position.”

Reading these two commentators may leave you wondering whether we are all reading the same communiqué. Maybe some of us need to read it again.

I believe these Primates love the Communion (or Church) are showing wisdom and fairness in dealing with these complex matters. They met in Kigali, supported by much prayer and hopes of those they lead (in their Provinces).

The work is difficult. They continue to deserve the best of our prayers and support. 

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