Rev. Canon Phil Ashey: Reflections on Archbishop Mouneer Anis’s Boycott
Posted April 6, 2016
The announcement yesterday by Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) that he will not be attending the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting (ACC-16) has sent shock waves through the leadership of the Anglican Communion. His decision to not attend was filled with characteristic grace. He said he was not opposed to The Episcopal Church (TEC) participating in the meeting’s general sessions. He said he was dismayed by ACC Chairman Bishop Tengatenga’s denunciation of the authority of the Primates gathering in January to address matters of faith and order between the Churches , including discipline for TEC’s approval of same-sex marriages. Archbishop Mouneer has been characterized as an “institutional moderate” and was among the majority of Primates who agreed, for the sake of the Communion, to continue to “walk together” provided TEC stepped back from positions of leadership in ecumenical bodies representing the Anglican Communion, leadership positions on Inter-Anglican Standing Committees, and decisions on Anglican doctrine and polity. His willingness to entertain TEC participating in general sessions was especially gracious, since they would have been able to participate in agenda items such as “The Bible in the Life of the Church” which clearly involve matters of doctrine.
The Episcopal Church’s intention to continue to participate in the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC (also known as the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion), was just too much. It was a clear and direct rejection of the discipline prescribed by the Primates. It is an act of rebellion aided and abetted by Chairman Tengatenga’s denunciation of the Primates authority. No doubt, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s deafening silence — in the face of this rebellion against the authority of the very meeting of Primates that he convened—is just too much.
There comes a point when institutions become so corrupt and compromised that they are irredeemable. Continued participation simply enables the institutions’ corruption. Archbishop Mouneer has recognized this point, and has justifiably stepped back. His decision comes after the GAFCON provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya decided to not attend ACC-16. Each of the remaining GAFCON and Global South provinces and their Primates who joined the majority in January prescribing gentle discipline for TEC must now decide whether there is any reason at all to attend ACC-16... the rest