Bishop Bill Atwood, AC-NA and Anglican Church of Kenya Suffragan Bishop for International Affairs, has written the "message" for the weekly American Anglican Council email newsletter. He had this to say about some churches in the "global south" and why they were not at the Global South Encounter #4 in Singapore. He cites several different uses of the term "global south." He then says:
"The third way that the term "Global South" is used is a doctrinal one. As the influence of the Episcopal Church has spread, a number of provinces that are located below the 20º northern parallel have adopted TEC's doctrinal postion. A number of them are both dependent and responsive to financial support from TEC. Some of those provinces are quite small. Mexico, for example, has fewer members in its province than there are in the youth group at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya. This becomes an issue in the structures of the Anglican Communion where Mexico has an equal voice with Nigeria (20 million), Uganda (10 million), or Kenya (5+million). For those who decry this reality and say, "It is not about numbers!" let me point out that numbers of "votes" are still used in decision making in the current structures; the numbers are just not at all representative.
Many of the Anglicans who live geographically in the "Global South" do not include the theologically liberal provinces in their thinking when they use the term. This application of "Global South" implies doctrinal fidelity to Scripture and "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Fidelity to the historic Anglican formularies is actually the point around which GAFCON (now the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans or FCA) gathered originally. It is how people of like faith are being incorporated into fellowship and mission cooperation regardless of where they live".
OK, Bishop Bill. It IS about numbers... out there in the upper reaches of Anglican Land. And the reason why you don't want Mexico to be equally represented with Kenya is because you believe Mexico is (gasp) liberal or worse yet (double gasp) bought lock stock and barrel by TEC. I presume you don't have problems with the Province of the Southern Cone, whose primate is not Latin American and whose total numbers are about the that of a modest diocese in England. You don't have problems with that because their missionary funding comes from SAMS UK and SAMS USA and like minded organizations. I presume you don't have any problems with the Diocese in Jerusalem, part of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.. but no wait, they get lots of their funding from suspect sources, and they are very small in size.
No, Bishop Bill, you are insulting Mexico, IARCA, Brazil, Province Nine in TEC, and probably others by suggesting that they have been bought. And it is about numbers. Mexico, IARCA and Brazil get to vote in Primates meetings and at ACC.
You say they "are both dependent and responsive to financial support from TEC", by which you mean they have been bribed by missionary support to support TEC. So apparently you fear that they are going to vote with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada and other western ideologues whenever asked. That is a lie and insulting to boot.
Provinces and even dioceses within TEC from the Global South have their own minds and views and they sometimes do not match the supposed liberal minds and views of the majority of TEC.
When Puerto Rico, which had been independent for some years from TEC, asked to be readmitted into union with TEC two extraordinary things happened: (i) their admission occurred at a time when their vote would probably be counted with the traditionalist and conservatives and against "progressive" legislation. It was argued that they ought not be admitted then, but later. Dr. Louie Crew, among others, argued strongly for their admission without reference to their stance on issues. His wisdom prevailed. (ii) At the same time they came ready to bear their portion of the program and mission load, and have done so since.
The Province of Brazil (the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil) (IEAB) became independent as a province in 1965 and by 1975 was receiving no regular funds from TEC. It has been its own master for 35 years and it is an insult to consider them beholden to TEC.
IARCA has its own voice and its leadership has varied in its support of TEC.
Member dioceses of TEC in the ninth province rather regularly vote in the minority on matters of interest to Bishop Bill's cadre in the "Global South."
Bishop Bill insults churches and Provinces in the Global South with the abandon that arises from an arrogance that is quite remarkable. Some Global South Provinces, who were by the way invited to the first and (I believe) the second GS Encounter, have been dis-invited. Bishop Atwood is right to suggest that this is because GSE and the GAFCON / FOCA group has forced the issue of theological purity.
Fine, be pure and exclude parts of the Global South, and include some pasty white guys in fancy clothes from the north, some rich first world folk from South East Asia and some ecclesiastical ex-pats, bishops in two places at once - ACNA and Kenya - just in case one of those doesn't work out. Fine.
But I can't help noticing that there are (gasp) liberals, (gasp) independents, and yes (gasp) gay and lesbian folk and fellow travelers every where in the Anglican world. I'm sure Bishop Atwood will be glad to explain how all of those are going to be rooted out of GSE and GAFCON / FOCA. Then I am sure he will be able to explain just why one day he might also be rooted out and bounced. After all, he is first world, white, and tarred with the cultural liberal brush of decedent western imperialism. It's in the air.