The Global South Encounter #4 (GSE4) is set to go, April 19 - 23. The announcement of the conference may be found  HERE.

Among the theological resources for this meeting is the paper, "The Anglican Communion as Communion of Churches: on the historic significance of the Anglican Covenant" by Michael Poon, a noted and gifted theologian. Adrian Worsfold has written "The no longer hidden agenda of the Anglican Covenant," for Episcopal Cafe. This  analysis of Poon's argument shows  that Poon, and arguably the Global South Encounter crowd, understands the Anglican Covenant to be foundational to the development of a world-wide church. 

With that in mind I returned to the GSE4 pages and looked again at the Mission statement and Objectives for the Conference. They are as follows:

"Mission: To Recover, Reform, Revitalising, and Restore Ourselves as Anglican Covenantal Community for Mission and Ministry in Jesus Christ.


1. To enable the covenanting Global South Provinces and Others to be an communion-accountable member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

2. To develop Communion nature network, structures and processes to further our recovered mission and ministry.

3. To develop and represent with other ecumenical bodies to strengthen the common mission and ministry for the global church of Christ.

4. To identify and nurture new generation to carry on the vocation of the Global South."

The mission is "to Recover, Reform, Revitalising, and Restore Ourselves as Anglican Covenantal Community."  Although this is oddly structured, the mission certainly appears to be about the Global South (the ourselves) becoming an Anglican Covenantal Community.  Note that there is no reference to any other than the Global South group itself.  There is no reference to the Anglican Communion here or in the objectives that follow. It is a self-referential mission, related to the Global South itself.

It is therefore important to remember that the Global South encounters, which initially involved a gathering of all the Provinces in what would be considered the "global south," have become a select group of those Provinces in the Global South that are deemed appropriately "orthodox" in their attitudes. Now admission to this group apparently requires assent to the Jerusalem statement.  

The objectives are, with the exception of the first, are programmatic. The first, however, is a clear and concise statement of the Global South intentions. That objective is "To enable the covenanting Global South Provinces and Others to be an communion-accountable member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." I find no way to read this except as a declaration that GSE4 will attempt to draw together its membership to form a new world wide church with internal accountability based on a common covenant.

The current and supposedly final draft of the Anglican Covenant is making the rounds for provincial approval. It will be considered at GSE4. It is unclear if the Anglican Covenant in its current form will pass muster at GSE4.   The push by Fulcrum and others that only those Provinces that sign on to the covenant be allowed to continue as member churches of the Anglican Communion and that The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada be excluded as unrepentant go farther than the Anglican Covenant itself does.  There may be an attempt to either strengthen section 4 in that regard or to add a codicil of understanding regarding current members of the Anglican Communion that cannot "sign on" or who do so in untrustworthy ways. 

The Anglican Covenant is also criticised because it gives undue power to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, which is already suspect because two members of the Committee are from The Episcopal Church. There may be efforts to change the wording of Sections 3 and 4 to satisfy those concerns as well. 

My sense is that the Global South Encounter (4) will indeed consider the Anglican Covenant, rewrite certain sections or provide a codicil, sign it, and proceed to form a "more perfect" union, namely a new covenant-based world wide church. This body will formally recognize the Anglican Church in North America as their North American cognate church. It will elect new leadership whose responsibilities will be as a primates council for this new world wide church.

The Mission and Objectives statement make no mention of the existing Anglican Communion, no mention of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, no mention of the Anglican Consultative Council. It remains to be seen just how the "Instruments of Communion / Unity" in the Anglican Communion will deal with GSE4.

The Global South has already begun to leave the building.

I hope I am wrong, but that's the way it looks.


  1. "Wayward sisters, depart in peace"?

  2. I disagree (only slightly) with Adrian. I believe the point of Dr. Poon's paper is primarily the argument for the Anglican Church, for which the Covenant is simply the means.

    With that in mind, I would expect the GSE4 gathering to hold off on declaring separation for a bit longer to see if they can convince more centrist provincial/national churches (especially C of E if they can get them) to endorse the idea that only those who sign the Covenant qualify as Anglicans. If they are successful at that, they "stand" as the Communion while the rest of us "walk apart." If not, they "stand" while the Communion "walks apart."

    NB: my verification word is "tables." That seems apt, since I've long likened this disagreement to a game of "cowboy poker," with the bull in the ring while everyone watches to see who is last to leave the table of Canterbury.

  3. I'm no twelve year old anymore, ..much like no one else is. But this discussion sounds like that realm, ...as off kilter as that is.

    This is a child's argument to an adult church.

    It doesn't deserve an answer from an adult.

  4. David G

    Wow! I thought it was only liberals like John Spong who were racists in their attitudes toward the two-thirds world. "One generation out of the trees" said Bp Spong. Now you opine your racist statement that they are little children and insult to Dr. Poon -- This is the same sentiment expressed by the segregationists in the 1920s toward the "darkies" who they said were not grown up enough to know how to vote.

  5. Is it not racist to give bigotry and ignorance a pass when they come from people with brown faces?

    [verification word: commic]


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.