Archbishop of Canterbury ‘unpacks’ communiqué

Justin welby-world_watch_150204

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has used his presidential address to the Church of England’s General Synod to update members on last month’s Primates Meeting and Gathering in Canterbury. He also gave his impression about the current state of the Anglican Communion.

The Primates’ Meeting held in Canterbury between 11th and 15th January 2016 occasioned much comment and even more misrepresentation. It has been spun more than Donald Trump, and you would be well advised to set your spin meters to “detect” as I am hoping both to say something about what happened, at least from my point of view… and more importantly, why and what it says to us. I have no doubt most people will disagree with one or the other aspect, or all of them.

The spin included such elements as saying that the Primates had had their phones removed, and that they were being treated as children. Even some seasoned journalist believed this and printed it as fact.

It became quite a joke among us, with people waving their phones at me from time to time to indicate that my powers were limited. Neither were they treated as children. Secretary General, sit up and keep your hands still. [Laughter]

My original aim, after wide consultation with Primates, had been to attend a series of regional meetings of Primates over the course of 2016 and 2017, before having a full Primates’ Meeting in 2018, as a run up to the Lambeth Conference which was aimed for 2020.

…  I spent last August and early September ringing all of the Primates in order to take their advice on the next steps. It became clear that a Primates’ Meeting was required sooner rather than later.

read Justin Welby’s full address

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