Primates from across the Anglican Communion arrived Jan. 25 at the Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre in Dublin for the first day of their six-day Primates Meeting.
The primates, who are the senior bishops or archbishops of a province of the Anglican family of churches, were invited from all 38 provinces. Archbishop of York John Sentamu also was invited to allow Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to fulfill his role as president of the meeting.
Several primates, including Archbishop Maurício José Araújo de Andrade of Brazil and bishop of Brasilia, said they were looking forward to a positive meeting.
"It is important that in this meeting dialogue continues between the different parts of the Anglican Communion," he said. "If it is possible to sit together with different ecumenical and interfaith partners, how much more do we need to continue to sit down and dialogue with bishops from other parts of the communion."
The dean of the Province of Central Africa, Bishop Albert Chama, said he believed God would enable the primates to remain in unity and to love one another as the body of Christ.
"My hope is that in this meeting we will be able to continue the conversations that have been happening in terms of pulling the communion together," he said. "It is my hope that our meeting will be fruitful and that we will continue to discuss matters with openness and we will be able to listen to one another."
Barring any last minute changes, 24 primates are able to attend the meeting. As anticipated, some were unable to attend because of health reasons, others for personal reasons and a few because of issues in their provinces, such as the referendum in Sudan.
Seven primates said they were not coming because of recent developments in the Episcopal Church, but in their responses they have reiterated their commitment to the communion and to the archbishop of Canterbury.
The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion and secretary of the meeting, said, "It is obviously regrettable when a primate is unable attend because it means that that particular perspective is not represented, but it is ultimately the decision of each individual primate in consultation with their province."
Those who are present, on their way or are expected:
- The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia: The Most Rev. Winston Halapua
- The Anglican Church of Australia: The Most Rev. Phillip John Aspinall
- The Church of Bangladesh: The Rt. Rev. Paul Sishir Sarkar
- Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil: The Most Rev. Maurício José Araújo de Andrade
- The Episcopal Church of Burundi: The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi
- The Anglican Church of Canada: The Most Rev. Frederick J Hiltz
- The Church of the Province of Central Africa: Represented by the Dean of the Province, The Rt. Rev. Albert Chama
- Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America: The Most Rev. Armando Roman Guerra Soria
- The Church of England: The Most Rev. Rowan Douglas Williams; also represented by The Most Rev. John Sentamu
- Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui: The Most Rev. Paul Kwong
- The Church of Ireland: The Most Rev. Alan Edwin Thomas Harper
- The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan): The Most Rev. Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu
- The Anglican Church of Korea: The Rt. Rev. Paul Keun-Sang Kim
- The Church of the Province of Melanesia: The Most Rev. David Vunagi
- The Church of Pakistan (United): The Rt Rev. Samuel Azariah
- The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea: The Most Rev. Joseph Kifau Kopapa
- The Episcopal Church in the Philippines: The Rt. Rev. Edward Pacyaya Malecdan
- The Scottish Episcopal Church: The Most Rev. David Robert Chillingworth
- The Church of South India (United): The Most Rev. Suputhrappa Vasantha Kumar
- The Anglican Church of Southern Africa: The Most Rev. Thabo Cecil Makgoba
- The Episcopal Church: The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
- The Church in Wales: The Most Rev. Barry Cennydd Morgan
- The Church in the Province of the West Indies: The Most Rev. John Walder Dunlop Holder
Those who are unable to attend:
For reasons of visa difficulties:
- Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo: The Most Rev. Henry Kahwa Isingoma
For reasons of health:
- La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico: The Most Rev. Carlos Touche-Porter
- The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma): The Most Rev. Stephen Than Myint Oo
For reasons of diary commitments:
- The Anglican Church of Kenya: The Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala
- The Church of North India (United): The Most Rev. Purely Lyngdoh
For personal reasons:
- The Anglican Church of Tanzania: The Most Rev. Valentino Mokiwa
For reasons of provincial matters:
- The Episcopal Church of the Sudan: The Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul Yak (the referendum)
- L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda: The Most Rev. Onesphore Rwaje (two days after his installation)
Those who have chosen to stay away over recent developments in the Episcopal Church:
- The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean: The Most Rev. Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
- The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East: The Most Rev. Mouneer Hanna Anis
- The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion): The Most Rev. Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh
- The Church of the Province of Uganda: The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
- Church of the Province of South East Asia: The Most Rev. John Chew
- Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America: The Most Rev. Hector Zavala
- The Church of the Province of West Africa: The Most Rev. Justice Ofei Akrofi