The year 2007 is likely to be the make or break for the Anglican Communion. We may know more of this after the Primates' Meeting is held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania later this month.

Will the Global South Primates agree to meet with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori?

Will the Archbishop of Canterbury invite all US Episcopal bishops to Lambeth next year, including Bishop Gene Robinson and his supporters?

If he does, will the Anglican Communion in 2008 see two Lambeth Conferences, one in Canterbury, and one in say Abuja or Dar Es Salaam?

There have been signs of potential fragmentation of the Anglican Communion since the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Many liberal bishops were startled when the Conference strongly supported Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality. In November 2003 the Rev Canon V Gene Robinson, a divorced man who had lived with a same-sex partner for many years, was consecrated Bishop, and in June 2004 became Bishop of New Hampshire. This step was taken by the US Church in flagrant disregard of Lambeth 1.10 which "upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage" and rejects "homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture" .

Much has occurred since that time. Biblically conservative Anglican leaders from across the globe have expressed outrage at this action.

In January 2007 the Nigerian bishops met. They stated: "we cannot claim to share fellowship with member-Provinces that denigrate the authority of Scripture on the life of the Church. Our participation in this worldwide fellowship is contingent on genuine repentance by those who have chosen to walk away, for two cannot walk together except they are in agreement. Christian unity must be anchored on Biblical truth."

Earlier, the Tanzanian Bishops declared "that its communion with the Episcopal Church (USA) is severely impaired, but the Anglican Church of Tanzania remains in communion with those who are faithful to Biblical Christianity and authority of Scripture who remain in the Episcopal Church (USA)".

The Primate of Uganda wrote: "In 2003, the House of Bishops officially broke communion with ECUSA, and in 2004 the Provincial Assembly affirmed that decision.  These decisions were taken because ECUSA elected and consecrated as a Bishop a divorced man who has a homosexual partner.  This is contrary to the Word of God!" 

These statements will arm their Primates when they attend the Primates' Meeting.
The liberal views of Bishop Schori are another factor when we consider her meeting with Global South Anglicans.

Asked by Time magazine, July 2006 "Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?" she replied: "We who practise the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box."

Asked recently by an interviewer to explain John 14:6: ("No man cometh unto to the Father but by me," Bishop Schori replied:  "Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people's lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus," she said.

Caught in the midst of this Anglican debate is the Archbishop of Canterbury. Whatever he does he is strongly criticised and he appears to be losing liberal support, though that is his natural home.

Further questions must be: What will our Sydney bishops do in 2008? Will they be at Lambeth in Canterbury, England or will they be at Lambeth in Abuja, Nigeria?

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