Anglican chief counters accusations of 'Lusaka six'

The Primates at the 2016 meeting at Canterbury CathedralPrimates 2016

Further Anglican divisions have emerged after six delegates to a recent influential meeting last month of church leaders denied that they had either endorsed or affirmed the actions of the Anglican Communion primates in January.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, rejected criticism from six delegates to the Anglican Consultative Council's meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.

The six outgoing members of the council and its insisted their meeting had "neither endorsed nor affirmed" the consequences contained in the primates' communiqué from their meeting at Canterbury cathedral.

Christian Today was among the news outlets that reported the Anglican Consultative Council had unanimously backed the primates in outlining "consequences" to the decision by The Episcopal Church to back gay marriage. The primates had voted to limit participation of The Episcopal Church for three years.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also stated in a post on Facebook that the consequences had been "fully implemented". Two provinces, Uganda and Nigeria, boycotted the meeting because of the attendance of delegates from The Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Idowu-Fearon countered the accusations of the "Lusaka six", who include Canon Elizabeth Paver of the Church of England and Helen Biggin of the Church in Wales.

He said: "The signatories of the statement have served the Anglican Communion tirelessly over many years. Their prayerful presence and wisdom has been an enormous blessing and has enriched the Communion immeasurably. They are entitled to express a view but I simply do not agree with their interpretation here. The response of the ACC was clear and its support for the Primates was clearly expressed."

Since the Lusaka meeting, delegates have continued to meet in small groups.

Archbishop Idowu-Fearon said: "The theme that emerges is a desire for people to walk together, to acknowledge differences where they exist but to rejoice in our shared faith. Groups spoke of staying in mutual submission with each other for the sake of the kingdom and the gospel of Christ and of mutual respect for diversity. There were many other positive responses to the report which showed a strong degree of unity across ACC."