As midnight approaches in Canterbury it’s been a fascinating second day at the Primates 2016 Gathering.
As we reported yesterday, all the GAFCON and some Global South (GS) Primates declined to attend Communion in the morning. We have little details of discussions during the day but the most dramatic moment was evensong at 5.30pm when it very quickly became apparent that a large number of Primates were missing, not even attending as they had done on Monday. Amongst the GS Primates missing was Mouneer Anis, Archbishop of the Middle East, considered by many to be a key influential figure in the Global South. Many commentators have been looking to his actions as a bellwether of how other GS Primates might act.
There was no photograph of evensong tonight, unlike yesterday. Yesterday’s photo has, apparently, caused some upset amongst the Primates. I am told by an informed source that Lambeth Palace had promised that there would be no photographs, but then subsequently published the Monday night photograph. For some this was seen as another blatant attempt to push the unity theme. That, however, appears to have now backfired with the large absence tonight standing in contrast to the attendance yesterday.
Meetings will continue tomorrow (although attendance at Morning Prayer by many is doubtful). A source close to the GAFCON leadership tells me they remain very united and there are a number of GS Primates who are acting in consort. While discussions will carry on, it appears that the “reconciliation” approach of David Porter has failed to persuade GAFCON to compromise their position.
I can also report that all the Primates are still meeting in the same room. I think you could call the discussions “full and frank”. Archbishop Foley Beach of the ACNA has been present all the time.
Finally, for the purists, I am reliably informed that Monday night’s evensong was Stamford’s arrangement in C. Here you go: