Special Commission Analysis

Commission Appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

A Preliminary Analysis by Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

October 30, 2003

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced the composition of the Commission requested by the Anglican Primates at the recent emergency meeting at Lambeth. (See announcement from Anglican Communion News Service). A preliminary analysis of the membership of the new Commission suggests that the Commission has reasonable ideological balance. As such, it is unlikely to please conservatives within the Episcopal Church represented by the American Anglican Council (AAC).

The members of the Commission are the following:

  • Archbishop Robin Eames, Primate of All Ireland, Chairman: Senior primate. Supporter of traditional Anglican diversity and governance.
  •  The Revd. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director of Faith, Worship and  Ministry, the Anglican Church of Canada.
    Woman who heads ecumenical desk and oversees diversity, dialog on sexuality, etc. for Canadian Church.
  • Bishop David Beetge, Dean of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. Works with a very diverse constituency in a diocese with an extensive AID/HIV ministry.
  • Professor Norman Doe, Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University, Wales. A specialist in canon law and international Anglicanism.
  • Bishop Mark Dyer, Director of Spiritual Formation, Virginia Theological Seminary, USA, and retired Bishop of Bethlehem. Has a strong voting record on women's ordination and is on record as opposing sodomy laws in Virginia. Overall voting record in the House of Bishops is less obviously liberal.
  • Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies. An AAC supporter and author of a white paper of sexuality that argues against ordination of homosexuals. One of the editors of To Mend the Net: Anglican Faith and Order for Renewed Mission.
  • Archbishop Josiah Iduwo-Fearon, Archbishop of Kaduna, the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Little information has been found about this Archbishop other than he attended the Future of Anglicanism Conference organized by English evangelicals last summer.
  • The Revd. Dorothy Lau, Director of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council. Runs over 380 social welfare programs and schools in the diocese.
  • Ms. Anne McGavin, Advocate, formerly Legal Adviser to the College of  Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Has been at the Center for Law and Religion run by Norman Doe (see above).
  • Archbishop Bernard Malango, Primate of Central Africa. One of those who has been actively opposed to the consecration of Gene Robinson, but his province has problems of its own in Zimbabwe that could result in intervention.
  • Dr. Esther Mombo, Academic Dean of St Paul's United Theological  Seminary, Limuru, Kenya. Identified as a feminist theologian who has been active in AIDS/HIV ministry with women and who has been a guest speaker at Primates' meetings on sexuality. Attended the the Future of Anglicanism Conference organized by English evangelicals last summer.
  • Archbishop Barry Morgan, Primate of Wales. Archbishop Morgan's statement after Robinson's election is a model of embracing Anglican diversity.
  • Chancellor Rubie Nottage, Chancellor of the West Indies. Canon lawyer who works with Archbishop Gomez (see above).
  • Bishop John Paterson, Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council. New Zealand has not yet discussed gay clergy, and Paterson appears to be moderating between factions in his own province. He has issued no condemnation of Gene Robinson.
  • Dr. Jenny Te Paa, Principal of the College of Saint John the Evangelist, Auckland, New Zealand, and also a doctoral graduate student at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is interested in race and diversity issues and identifies herself as a liberal.
  • Bishop James Terom, Moderator, the Church of North India. Bishop Terom has been associated with the African bishops, but he seems not to have made significant public statements on matters of homosexuality and the church.
  • Bishop N. Thomas Wright, Bishop of Durham, the Church of England. Serves on the Angican Communion's Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission. He is a new bishop but is a well-known historian. Bishop Wright was quoted in the spring of this year as saying, "Anglicanism at its best has always been rooted in scripture, nourished by the sacraments, ready to think fresh thoughts and open to the leading and energy of the Spirit."  Sometimes characterized as an “old-fashioned” English evangelical, other Evangelicals have not been happy with his historical approach to scripture.
  • The Revd. Canon John Rees, Legal Adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council, who will act as Legal Consultant to the Commission.
  • The Revd. Canon Gregory Cameron, Director of Ecumenical Affairs and Studies, Anglican Communion Office, who will act as Secretary to the Commission. Fr. Cameron assumed his current post this past spring. He had served as Chaplain to Archbishop Rowan Williams when Williams was Archbishop of Wales.