From a Reflection on the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion by the Most Revd Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, 6 October 2017
I’m here at Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Communion, where the primates of the Communion have met, assembled and gathered by the archbishop of Canterbury. We just concluded what was a meaningful, a beautiful, indeed, a holy gathering of the primates of our Communion. We concluded our time together washing each other’s feet, following the teaching and the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This wasn’t just a meeting. This was not just a gathering. This was, as a friend of mine often says, a holy convocation. We gathered in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and we did our work together in agreement and disagreement, following and in his spirit.
We explored matters of great concern to the church, internal matters, preparation for Lambeth 2020 and the gathering of the bishops of our Communion, discussion of how that would unfold and some of the preliminary plans.
We discussed, at some length and with some depth and genuine honesty and Christian charity, the decision of our brothers and sisters in the Scottish Episcopal Church to make provision for members of the same sex to receive the blessing of marriage.
We then entered into a discussion for the next several days of the ways the church can follow Jesus Christ into the world as his witnesses: the reality and the need for Anglicans throughout the world to really live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, following in his footsteps and living his teachings and in his spirit; the practicalities of helping our church become more disciple-focused and genuinely to take seriously the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. That then led us into a conversation about evangelism in and by the Anglican Communion in the world, inviting others into that relationship with Christ, sharing our stories and our journeys with our God.
We then discussed the environment in which we live – God’s created world – and to hear the stories of the impact of climate change on the lives of fellow Anglicans and [all] human beings throughout the world, especially in the developing world. We heard stories of food shortages. We heard stories of growing seasons shortened. We heard stories of unmitigated weather that is now a danger and [is] preventing people from having the kind of abundant life that is intended for us all.
We engaged the issues of migration and immigration, human trafficking and heard stories from throughout the Anglican Communion about how the church is actually trying to make God’s world humane and habitable for all of God’s children.
We went on and discussed so many things that have to do with the very life of the world. We spent most of our time, to be very honest, not talking about internal things in the church but, things external where the church can bring her ministry of following Jesus to bear.
This was a gathering where, in the words of the late Archbishop William Temple, we really did reflect the church being the church. William Temple once said the church is the only society that does not exist for benefit of its own members; it exists for the sake of the world.