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Anglican Primates meet in Jordan

Archbishop Justin Welby leading communion outsideIn January this year, the Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered for their annual meeting in Jordan. Led by Archbishop Justin Welby and hosted by Archbishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem The Primates met for several days’ business and pilgrimage. Archbishop Justin invited 40 Primates by telephone although only 33 were in attendance. Sadly three, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda, didn’t attend because of issues over human sexuality. South India was also absent because of an important election in their own provincial synod. And some others were absent for other reasons.

The meeting began with an audience with King Abdullah of Jordan who also provided hospitality in the form of a meal. The king is a long-standing supporter of the Christians in the area. On another occasion, Archbishop Suheil Dawani addressed the gathering telling of some of the challenges the Christians in the area face today. There were visits to particular institutions such as the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf in Salt, and to Mount Nebo.

After two days of business, some of the Primates continued on pilgrimage, crossing the Jordan River and visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where they met with the Greek Patriarch. In a final act of worship, the Primates celebrated a Eucharist with the Renewal of Baptismal Vows at the River Jordan.

A variety of business items were discussed during the meetings and the new Province of Alexandria (consisting of the Dioceses of Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Gambella) was approved. This will be the 41st Province of the Anglican Communion and will be separate from the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Overall, participants spoke of a real spirit of cohesion and working together at the meetings.

In spite of continuing differences over some matters there was clearly an encouraging and positive sense of ‘walking together’. Some aspects of the meetings were in preparation for the Lambeth Conference scheduled for July but now postponed because of the Coronavirus.

Photos: Don Binder