The Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet at the Dromantine Conference Centre near Newry, Northern Ireland, February 21-25.
International concerns facing the leaders include relief efforts after the South Asia tsunami, and a priority for the gathering is to receive and discuss the Windsor Report, the culmination of almost a year's dialogue between the 17-member Lambeth Commission on Communion. The report, which was officially released in October 2004, includes recommendations on how the 38 Anglican and Episcopal provinces can remain in communion, especially amid differing viewpoints.
The Primates requested the Windsor Report in October 2003 in response to decisions of General Convention -- the Episcopal Church's chief legislative body -- to confirm the election and ordination of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, and the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster's adoption of rites for blessing same-gender unions.
The 77-million-member Anglican Communion is made up of 38 autonomous or self-governing member churches or provinces in 164 countries worldwide. The Churches of the Anglican Communion exercise jurisdictional independence and are said to be united by affection and common loyalty.
The Primates' Meeting is one of the four instruments of unity in the Anglican Communion, the other three being the Archbishop of Canterbury, the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the Anglican Communion's main decision making body. Inter-Anglican polity is such that the Primates' Meeting does not act legislatively or unilaterally on behalf of the provinces.
Each province relates to other provinces within the Anglican Communion by being in full communion with the See of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury is therefore a unique focus of Anglican unity. He calls the Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of Primates, and is president of the ACC.
The term "primate" means senior archbishop or presiding bishop of a province in the Anglican Communion. In some provinces the primate is also called Archbishop and/or Metropolitan, while in others the term Presiding Bishop -- or as in Scotland, Primus -- is preferred. In some provinces the term is translated to their own language, such as Obispo Primado in the Province of the Southern Cone (South America).
In the United Churches of South Asia, the Moderators of the churches are invited to the Primates' Meetings by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is recognized as the "primus inter pares," the first among equals and attendance at a Primates Meeting is by invitation from him.
Between 1979 and 1997, the Primates of the autonomous Churches of the Anglican Communion met every two or three years in consultation on theological, social, and international issues. Since 2000, the Primates have met annually. Meeting locations: Ely, England 1979; Washington, USA 1981; Limuru, Kenya 1983; Toronto, Canada 1986; Cyprus 1989; Ireland 1991; Cape Town, Southern Africa 1993; Windsor, England 1995; Jerusalem 1997; Oporto, Portugal, 2000; Kanuga, USA, 2001; Canterbury, England 2002; Brazil, May 2003; London, England, October 2003.
The Provinces and Primates of the Anglican Communion are listed below. Primates' biographical information can be found online at: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/primates/biog/index.cfm.
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia
The Most Rev. Whakahuihui Vercoe
The Anglican Church of Australia
The Most Rev. Dr. Peter Frederick Carnley AO
The Church of Bangladesh
The Rt. Rev. Michael S Baroi
Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
The Most Rev. Orlando Santos de Oliveira
The Episcopal Church of Burundi
The Most Rev. Samuel Ndayisenga
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Rev. Andrew Sandford Hutchison
The Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Most Rev. Bernard Amos Malango
Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America
The Most Rev. Martin de Jesus Barahona
Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
The Most Rev. Dr. Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle
The Church of England
The Most Rev. Rowan Douglas Williams
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
The Most Rev. Peter Kwong
The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
The Most Rev. Remi Joseph Rabenirina
The Church of Ireland
The Most Rev. Robert Henry Alexander Eames
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan)
The Most Rev. James Toru Uno
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East
The Most Rev. George Clive Handford
The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Most Rev. Benjamin M P Nzimbi
The Anglican Church of Korea
The Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Chul Bum Chung
The Church of the Province of Melanesia
The Most Rev. Sir Ellison Leslie Pogo KBE
La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico
The Most Rev. Carlos Touche-Porter
The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma)
The Most Rev. Samuel San Si Htay
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola DD
The Church of North India (United)
The Most Rev. Zechariah James Terom
The Church of Pakistan (United)
The Rt. Rev. Dr Alexander John Malik
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
The Most Rev. James Simon Ayong
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
The Most Rev. Ignacio Capuyan Soliba
L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda
The Most Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini
The Scottish Episcopal Church
The Most Rev. Andrew Bruce Cameron
Church of the Province of South East Asia
The Most Rev. Datuk Yong Ping Chung
The Church of South India (United)
The Most Rev. Badda Peter Sugandhar
The Church of the Province of Southern Africa
The Most Rev. Njongonkulu Winston Hugh Ndungane
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America
The Most Rev. Gregory James Venables
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan
The Most Rev. Joseph Biringi Hassan Marona
The Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev. Donald Leo Mtetemela
The Church of the Province of Uganda
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
The Episcopal Church in the USA
The Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold
The Church in Wales
The Most Rev. Dr. Barry Cennydd Morgan
The Church of the Province of West Africa
The Most Rev. Justice Ofei Akrofi
The Church in the Province of the West Indies
The Most Rev. Drexel Wellington Gomez
Diocese of Chicago to hold prayer vigil for Primates' Meeting
[ENS, Source: Diocese of Chicago] The Rev. Catharine Phillips, chaplain to the Diocese of Chicago's Windsor Report Task Force, is organizing a diocesan-wide prayer vigil for the upcoming meeting of Anglican Primates in Northern Ireland, February 21 - 25.
Philips, who is vicar of St. Benedict's in Bolingbrook and also serves on the diocesan Congregations Commission, organized a similar vigil for the special House of Bishops meeting January 12 - 13 which addressed the recommendations of the Lambeth Commission on Communion. The recommendations were published as the Windsor Report last October.
"It was a powerful experience for many of us, myself included," said Phillips in an email sent February 15 to diocesan clergy. "We prayed for a deep sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit and attention to the mind of Christ." The prayers were framed in such a way, she said, that all persons could pray them, "regardless of where any us of stand on any particular issue."
Phillips is asking clergy and laity to sign up to pray for a specific hour during the five-day meeting, a particular hour each day of the meeting, for a particular primate throughout the meeting, or just for the meeting throughout the week.
The vigil period, which allows for the six-hour time differential, runs from 12:01 a.m. Monday, February 21 through 9 a.m. Friday, February 25. Phillips is recommending people use the prayer for the church on page 816 of the Book of Common Prayer, one that "we can all pray together." The text of the prayer reads: "Gracious Father, we pray for thy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen."
The February meeting is a regular gathering of the 38 primates -- archbishops or presiding bishops -- of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion which includes the Episcopal Church. The meeting, which is closed to public and press, will be centered on Bible study and the Eucharist, and will be led by Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams. Archbishop Robin Eames, Primate of All Ireland and chair of the Lambeth Commission on Communion, will serve as host, and the new secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, will serve as secretary. The primates are expected to release a statement at the end of the meeting in a press briefing at Dromantine Conference Center.
To sign up for Chicago's prayer vigil contact Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phillips says she is also welcoming participation by members of other dioceses.