I welcome the sincerity and hard work of those who have prepared 'The Windsor Report 2004'. After an initial reading it is clear to me that the report falls far short of the prescription needed for this current crisis. It fails to confront the reality that a small, economically privileged group of people has sought to subvert the Christian faith and impose their new and false doctrine on the wider community of faithful believers. We have watched in sadness as sisters and brothers who have sought to maintain their allegiance to the "faith once delivered to the saints" have been marginalized and persecuted for their faith. We have been filled with grief as we have witnessed the decline of the North American Church that was once filled with missionary zeal and yet now seems determined to bury itself in a deadly embrace with the spirit of the age. Instead of a clear call for repentance we have been offered warm words of sentimentality for those who have shown no godly sorrow for their actions and harsh words of condemnation for those who have reached out a helping hand to friends in need of pastoral and spiritual care.
Why, throughout the document, is there such a marked contrast between the language used against those who are subverting the faith and that used against those of us, from the Global South, who are trying to bring the church back to the Bible? Where are the expressions of deep concern for the men and women whose witness is jeopardized and whose lives are at risk because of the actions of ECUSA? Where are the words of "deep regret" for the impact of ECUSA's actions upon the Global South and our missionary efforts? Where is the language of rebuke for those who are promoting sexual sins as holy and acceptable behaviour? The imbalance is bewildering. It is wrong to use equal language for unequal actions.
The report correctly notes that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of New Westminster have pushed the Anglican Communion to the breaking point. It rightly states that they did not listen to the clear voices of the Communion and rejected the counsel of all four Instruments of Unity. Therefore it is surprising that the primary recommendation of the report is "greater sensitivity" instead of heartfelt repentance. Already the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA has stated that he sees no need to halt welcoming practising homosexuals into all orders of ministry! In addition, the bishop of New Westminster has indicated that same sex blessing will continue. Thus they are hell bent on destroying the fabric of our common life and we are told to sit and wait.
We have been asked to express regret for our actions and "affirm our desire to remain in the Communion". How patronizing! We will not be intimidated. In the absence of any signs of repentance and reform from those who have torn the fabric of our Communion, and while there is continuing oppression of those who uphold the Faith, we cannot forsake our duty to provide care and protection for those who cry out for our help.
The Bible says that two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. The report rightly observes that if the "call to halt" is ignored "then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart". The Episcopal Church and Diocese of New Westminster are already walking alone on this and if they do not repent and return to the fold, they will find that they are all alone. They will have broken the Anglican Communion.
I am disappointed that an important report that was requested by the Primates who gathered at Lambeth Palace last October was not submitted to us for prayerful consideration. Instead it has been released to the entire world as if it were the final word on this troubling matter. However, before the next meeting of the Primates in February, I will now take it to the All Africa Bishops Conference that will gather in Lagos from October 26th-31st and we will have further opportunity to speak of the crisis created by the North American Church.
We commend the future of our Communion to the hands of almighty God and the prayers of all.
The Most Rev. Peter Akinola
Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa.
October 19, 2004