Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was among the Primates of the Porvoo Communion meeting Tuesday at Church House in Dublin, Ireland, as part of a regular series of discussions and gatherings of the Porvoo Communion. The Primates of the Porvoo Communion meet every two years for prayer and reflection and to discuss matters of common interest.
The Porvoo Communion is a communion of Anglican churches in Europe and several Evangelical Lutheran Churches in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Named after the Porvoo Agreement, signed in Porvoo Cathedral, Finland, the churches are in full communion with each other and recognise each others ministry and sacraments.
Amongst the Church leaders present were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams; the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Alan Harper OBE; the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr John Neill; and the Archbishop of Turku (Finland) the Most Revd Jukka Paarma, who is the senior Bishop from the Nordic and Baltic regions. Bishops representing the other Anglican churches in Britain and Europe and the Lutheran Churches in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, were also present.
Here is the homepage of the Porvoo Communion, with information about the signatory churches, historical documents, and other information.
With the reputation of a quietly spoken priest dedicated to the upliftment of the marginalised, Thabo Makgoba, the newly elected Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, is expected to be as effective, but much less high-profile, than his predecessors, says the Guardian and Mail of South Africa.
Makgoba, 47, will become the youngest archbishop of South Africa when he is installed at the end of this year. He grew up under apartheid in the notoriously poor Johannesburg townships of Soweto and Alexandra, where opposition to apartheid crystallized in the 1980s. He is known for his commitment to social justice, for closing the gaps between rich and poor, and for calling for a "spiritual reconstruction" of his nation. He is currently on sabbatical at Harvard.
Makgoba has spoken often about his support for the Millennium Development Goals and for urging governments to do more to end poverty and illiteracy, and protect human rights. Earlier this year, he signed a "Call for a more Pastoral Response to Gay Christian Partnerships of Faithful Commitment from the Anglican Church of South Africa."
The call comes in the wake of South Africa's recently promulgated Civil Unions Act, and highlighted the "need to avoid the assumption of dogmatic certainty, and [to] leave room for the diversity of convictions on these matters", that "homosexual orientation is not regarded as somehow sinful" and that "gays need not change their sexuality (even if that were possible)" to be Anglicans.