[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] More than 100 Anglicans from 20 provinces are gathering in Cairo, Egypt, today, at the start of a week-long meeting of the Global South group of Anglicans. The two most internationally significant religious leaders in Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, have been invited to today’s opening ceremony. Part of the agenda will include discussions on the importance of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
Other issues to be addressed include poverty, illegal immigration, religious violence and disagreements over human sexuality.
Archbishops and primates from the provinces of Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Southern Africa, Western Africa, Indian Ocean, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and South East Asia are expected to take part. They will be joined by the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, the Church of England bishops of Winchester, Tim Dakin, and Durham, Paul Butler, and Archbishop Foley Beach from the Anglican Church of North America.
This sixth Global South conference was originally due to be held in Tunis in 2015, but was cancelled on the advice of the Tunisian authorities due to the risk of terrorism in the country at the time. The recently-retired Bishop of North Africa, Bill Musk, will lead a plenary session on the historic church of Carthage in present day Tunisia.
Other plenary seminars include talks on how Africa shaped the Christian mind and the Anglican faith, by Dr Michael Glerup of Yale University, the executive director of the Center for Early African Christianity; and by the Revd Canon Dr Ashley Null, from the Ridley Institute, an expert on the prayer-book compiler and Reformation-era Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer.
“This is a critical moment in the life of the Anglican Church,” Archbishop Mouneer Anis, the host-primate and chairman of the Global South steering committee, said. “We pray that as we strive for both truth and unity, our efforts will be ‘found faithful’ by God Almighty.”