Archbishop of Wales welcomes new Anglican Communion Province
The Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, has welcomed a new province to the Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria was inaugurated this week as the 41st member of the Anglican Communion. Named after the ancient city in the north of Egypt, it serves Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Chad, Mauritania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.
The new Province was formerly the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa in the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, but began the process of becoming an independent church after a period of considerable growth. It will now begin a five-year transition period.
The first Primate of the new Province is Archbishop Mouneer Anis, who continues in this role and his existing role as the Anglican Bishop of Egypt until his retirement next year.
Welcoming the news, Archbishop John said, “I am delighted to welcome the new Province of Alexandria to the Anglican Communion on behalf of the Province of Wales. Its emergence demonstrates the faith and vigour of our brothers and sisters in the new province and their desire to affirm their cultural and Christian identity within the Anglican family. We send our prayers and good wishes to our brothers and sisters there and look forward to sharing with them our Anglican calling of worship and service.”
Fast growing region
Making the announcement, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said, “In recent years we have seen enormous growth in what was the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, particularly – but not only – in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. It was one of the largest and most diverse dioceses in the Anglican Communion and also one of the fastest growing regions.
“It is great credit to Archbishop Mouneer and the clergy and people of the diocese that this growth occurred in spite of the great cultural diversity and complex political situations in the region it serves.
“The transition from an Anglican diocese in the Province of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East to four dioceses in a new Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria will provide a great foundation for further growth and stability for Anglican Christians in the region; and I warmly congratulate the new Province on its transition.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, leader of the Anglican Communion, said that he was “absolutely delighted” to welcome the new Province into the Anglican Communion: “Of course it has been part of the Anglican Communion for very many years, going right back into the past. It has been part of the Episcopal Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East but now with growth and development and the planting of churches in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, with its service to its community regardless of ethnicity or of religion, it has grown to the point where it is now becoming an independent Province.
“Circumstances mean that I have not been able to go and join them as I would have liked to have done; but that makes no difference, for God is with them. In Jesus Christ they are full of life and hope; by the power of the Spirit they are continuing to serve and love amidst challenges that every church faces.
Early church roots
The new Primate, Archbishop Mouneer Anis, said, “All my colleagues and I thank God for His goodness. He fulfilled our dreams. We are also grateful for all the support we receive from Archbishop Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury; Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion; all the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and our colleagues at the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace for their hard work.
“We are aware that many brothers and sisters, who served before us, have sown many seeds and now we are harvesting. May the Lord keep us faithful to Him and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.
He added, “The early church in Alexandria has shaped the Christian thought of the whole world during the first millennium. It is our prayers that the new Province of Alexandria would do the same during the third millennium.
“As a new member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Province of Alexandria, commit ourselves afresh to our Triune God and His mission. We also pray so that the Lord may use us to bring peace and reconciliation in our region.”