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Bishop of Norwich welcomes outcome of Primates meeting

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The Bishop of Norwich has welcomed the outcome of the Anglican Communion Primates meeting earlier this week, which ended in a commitment to “walk together, maintain conversation, restore relationships and rebuild trust,” as well as a rebuke for the Episcopal Church in the United States over the matter of celebrating same-sex marriages. Keith Morris reports.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day on Monday, and writing to churches and clergy across the Diocese of Norwich, Bishop Graham James said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has achieved much more than I anticipated during this week of talks about the future of our Communion. It’s important to remember that he’s managed to gather all the Primates for the first time in almost a decade without one group or another boycotting the event.

"The Statement does place some restrictions on the Episcopal Church for deciding to go ahead in celebrating same-sex marriages without consulting her sister Churches. But it is adamant that the Episcopal Church will still participate in the internal bodies of the Communion even if her representatives do not vote on matters of doctrine. Such votes are few and far between. As discipline goes it’s a long way from dramatic.

"Even so, many gay people, including those in our congregations, may hear the Anglican Communion rejecting them again. Some will be deeply upset and we must ensure our churches are inclusive, pastoral and sensitive to them and all people," said Bishop Graham.

"What is remarkable in the Statement, though, is that there was unanimous agreement among the Primates 'to walk together…and to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.'

“Given the divisions in our Communion I scarcely imagined that such a commitment would be possible. We have seen nothing like it for years. While the decision about the Episcopal Church is bound to create the most interest in the media we should not forget that the grace of the Holy Spirit was at work at Canterbury this week. It seems that a new journey for our Communion may have begun,” he said.
 
Hear Bishop Graham on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.
 
Read Bishop Graham’s letter to the Diocese of Norwich.

Pictured above, Bishop Graham James.
 
 


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