Chilean Primate says the Anglican Communion is out of Fashion in the way it is Led and Organized
The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the rest of the Instruments of Unity must be reshaped, he says We need a new structure.
The Anglican Communion needs a Second Reformation and must return to the Bible as our final source of authority
GSFA Bishops will Not Break with the Anglican Communion
David W. Virtue, DD obtained this exclusive interview with the Most Rev. Hector Tito Zavala, 68, in his home city of Santiago, Chile.
VOL: The GSFA in their recent statement talked of the communion undergoing a “reset.” How do you define “reset” considering Justin Welby’s actions? What does reset mean and look like to you?
ZAVALA: I have no specific answer. I have some ideas. First, we believe that we are Anglicans. We belong to the Anglican communion. Our desire is not to leave the Anglican Communion. We see ourselves as the faithful remnant. We did not approve a solution like that approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We need to think what to do without leaving the Anglican Communion. We can continue to work together, to continue being Anglicans. The Church of England is going in the wrong direction, it is going in a wrong way. It is complicated to the point that we can no longer recognize the ABC as the first among equals.
The issue is that the ABC is elected and appointed to be Primate of all England not for the Anglican Communion, that means he is elected for the English reality and he is more concerned and concentrated on internal matters in England, the Anglican Communion and the Primates have nothing to say and do in this election and appointment.
I agree with the ABC when he said at the ACC-18 meeting that he should step down in his role as one of the Instruments of Unity. If the ABC leaves his position as first among equals the Primates should work and act as a collegiate body. With the recent decision of the Church of England, for sure, the dynamic of the Anglican Communion will change. We will need to work and reflect in what way we will reinforce the Communion in order not to be a federation, we have to continue being Anglicans around the world but without the leadership of the ABC. I think it will be a great blessing for the Communion if one of the primates from the Global South Anglican Fellowship or GAFCON is the president at meetings of the Instruments of Communion.
The Church of England is not the Anglican Communion. The CofE is one out of 42 provinces. They take their own decisions for their own church. Their decisions do affect us, but we don’t want them to be affecting us. When The Episcopal Church approved the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003, I was invited to speak about this in Chile. I said the church of Chile will continue to be faithful to the Word of God. The Episcopal Church’s actions, I said, will affect our internal Communion for worse and would affect ecumenical dialogues.
VOL: You say we cannot “walk together” with revisionist provinces, yet you say you want a renewed and “reset” communion. It sounds a little contradictory. How can you reset something where there is no repentance on the other side?
ZAVALA: In 2016, when I was primate of South America, Welby invited us to walk together. He asked, ‘would you like to split the communion?’ ‘No, I said, we want to stay together.’ It means dialogue, working together. In 1983, the Diocese of Chile applied for lay presidency in the whole communion. We provided theological, biblical, and pastoral reasons, but the communion said no, we cannot accept lay presidency and because we are in communion, we decided not to do it because we respect the communion. I have my way of doing things, but if it affects my brothers and sisters, I won’t do it.
But in Canterbury at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, in my Bible Study group there were two TEC bishops who next day approved of Resolution 1:10. They then said we don’t care what was approved yesterday we will continue with our agenda. I say that is not to be in communion. Five years later, Robinson was consecrated.
In order to work together, we need to start talking and stop any decision that will affect the rest of the communion. In the recent provincial synod in England, the Primate of the province of Alexandria, the Most Rev. Samy Fawzy, was invited as one of the Global South Primates and he addressed the synod and said ‘in our understanding of marriage and sexuality there is a red line we will never cross.
Crossing this line to bless same sex unions will alienate 75% of the Anglican communion and endanger Ecumenical and Interfaith dialogue. This shift in practices will lead eventually to impaired communion and eventually broken Communion. We inherited the traditional orthodox faith of the Church of England. ‘Please do not surrender your unique position as the mother church of the Anglican Communion’ we pleaded. They didn’t listen to or hear the rest of the communion. They went ahead and said our reality is that we don’t care what the rest of the world decides. According to our representatives in the recent Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) it was managed by England. We had no time to talk the real issues that are affecting the Communion. They were living in their own reality, not caring what the rest of us thought or the impact it would have on us.
In the Anglican Communion it is not clear what the concept of being equal, that is first among equals. We are all equals, big and small provinces, but in the way some provinces are treated, we are not equal. Even in the ACC, we are not first among equals, but first among what, I am not sure what.
If we want to continue to be one big holy communion, we need to respect one another and how they affect the rest of the world…what happens in all the world. Some dioceses are stronger than others, there is a need for balance.
Read interview here