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The Anglican Communion Primates' Meetings are regular meetings of the primates in the Anglican Communion, i.e. the principal archbishops or bishops of each (often national) ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion. There are currently 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. The primates come together from the geographic provinces around the world. As primus inter pares of the communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury chairs the meetings, with the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) serving as secretary.
The Primates' Meeting was established by Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1978 as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation”. The first meeting was held in 1979.
February 2001 meeting
Held from 2 to 9 March at the Kanuga Conference Center in the United States, topics of discussion included mission issues, poverty and debt concerns, "Canons and Communion", and the response to the global HIV/AIDS crisis.
October 2003 meeting
The primates gathered at Lambeth Palace in October for a series of closed meetings discussing a way forward because conflict over the Episcopal Church and the ordination of a gay bishop. The primates issued a communique at the close of the meeting.
February 2005 meeting
In February 2005, Anglican Communion Primates' Meeting was held in Dromantine in Northern Ireland from 21 to 26 February. The issue of homosexuality was heavily discussed. Of the 38 primates, 35 attended. The primates issued a communiqué that reiterated most of the Windsor Report's statements, but added a new twist. The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada were asked to voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council, the main formal international entity within the Anglican Communion until the next Lambeth Conference in 2008.
February 2007 meeting
The 2007 Primates' Meeting was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 15 to 19 February and reviewed a draft covenant for the Anglican Communion which is in part a response to disagreements between national churches on issues of sexuality and authority.
January 2011 meeting
The 2011 Primates' Meeting was held in Dublin, Ireland. It was attended by the primates of only 23 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion. A variety of reasons were offered for the absences. The Archbishop of the Congo was unable to obtain a visa. The primates of Mexico and Burma said that they were not well. Four primates cited other engagements: Kenya, North India, Sudan and Rwanda. The Archbishop of Tanzania offered “personal reasons” for his absence, while seven conservative primates boycotted the meeting as a protest against the attendance of the more liberal primates of The Episcopal Church of the United States of America and of Canada: namely, the primates of the provinces of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Nigeria, Uganda, Southeast Asia, the Province of the Southern Cone in South America and the Province of West Africa.
January 2016 meeting ('Primates 2016')
Most of the primates gathered in Canterbury in January 2016. This followed the longest gap between meetings since they were established, during which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, had been visiting primates individually in their home countries following his installation in 2013. A communiqué was issued following the meeting. Its provisions included a three-year suspension of the U.S. Episcopal Church from Anglican Communion "decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity" for its support of same-sex marriage, and the announcement that the 15th Lambeth Conference would be called for 2020.
October 2017 meeting
Held again in Canterbury, the 2017 meeting was attended by primates from 33 out of 39 provinces, with three unavailable due to local circumstances and three declining to attend due to disagreements with other members of the Anglican Communion. The GAFCON-affiliated Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, cited "broken fellowship over homosexual practice, same-sex marriage, and the blurring of gender identity".
A communiqué was issued, indicating that discussions had included safeguarding, the communion's approach to sexuality and same-sex marriage, liturgy and pilgrimage, jurisdictional boundaries between member churches, war, environmental and humanitarian issues. A mirror of the three-year suspension applied to the U.S. Episcopal Church in 2016 was applied to the Scottish Episcopal Church as a result of its own support for same-sex marriage.
List of meetings
- 1979: Ely, England
- 1981: Washington, D.C., United States
- 1983: Limuru, Kenya
- 1986: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- 1989: Cyprus
- 1991: Newcastle, Northern Ireland
- 1993: Cape Town, South Africa
- 1995: Windsor, England
- 1997: Jerusalem
- 2000: Oporto, Portugal
- February 2001: Kanuga, USA
- 2002: Canterbury, England
- May 2003: Gramado, Brazil
- October 2003: Lambeth Palace, England
- February 2005: Dromantine, Northern Ireland
- February 2007: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- February 2009: Alexandria, Egypt
- January 2011: Dublin, Ireland
- January 2016: Canterbury, England (not a Primates' Meeting)
- October 2017: Canterbury, England
- "Communiqué of the Primates' Meeting, February 2007" (PDF). Anglican Communion. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- About — Primates 2016 Archived 2016-01-29 at the Wayback Machine (Accessed 31 January 2016)
- Butter, Jan (6 October 2014). "Abp Welby: 'Next Lambeth Conference a decision for the primates'". Anglican Communion News Service. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- "Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion". Anglican Communion Office. 15 January 2016. Archived from the original on 6 June 2017.
- "Communiqué from the Primates' Meeting" (PDF). Anglican Communion. 6 October 2017.
- Davies, Madeleine (8 September 2017). "Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh to shun next Primates' Meeting". Church Times. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- Primates Meeting Communique - February 2007
- Report of the Covenant Design Group - February 2007
- Information about the Anglican Communion, from the 2003 Primates' Meetings
- A Statement by the Primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in Lambeth Palace - October, 2003
- Archbishop of Canterbury's statement at the final press conference of the Primates' Meeting - October, 2003
- Pastoral Letter from the Primates of the Anglican Communion - May, 2003
- Archbishop of Canterbury calls for Primates' Gathering - September, 2015