Petition for a North American province of Gafcon

There’s a pattern developing at Lambeth, and it’s not a pretty one. On the day which was to focus on poverty and violence in Sudan, that message was snowed over by the call from Sudan’s bishops for Bishop Robinson to resign, and for property disputes to end. Archbishop Deng said he was speaking for many conservative bishops throughout the Anglican Communion. That pattern is repeated today.


The theme of the Lambeth Conference today is the march of bishops in Central London in support of the MDGs. Certainly, Rowan Williams wants that to be the headline of the day. The MDGMarch has been mocked today in predictable corners of the Anglican blogosphere.

But today is also the day the Common Cause Partnership has chosen to announce (Canadian version here) its intention to petition the FOCA Primates Council for the formation of a “North American province of Gafcon” (whatever that means):

The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primates Council.

Today the Diocese of Pittsburgh — whose bishop, Bob Duncan, is moderator of the CCP — unveiled a video featuring “laity from parishes of the diocese of Pittsburgh discussing their support for realigning the diocese to another province of the Anglican Communion.” Realignment would create property disputes. Note that Martyn Minns of CANA is also a member of the CCP Executive.

It’s well known that Bishop Duncan has not been happy at Lambeth. He has been open in his belief the indaba process is rigged against his desired outcome (the experience is just like the US House of Bishops, he says), and he criticized a chant at Sunday Eucharist for its Buddhist content (the tune was Buddhist, but it turns out the (non-English) words were about the trinity).

The Right Rev. George Bruce (Ontario) reports in his blog that his Bible study group at Lambeth “will be losing bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh who will be returning to the US on Friday.” The title of Bruce’s post? “Bishops begin to address the issues that divide us.”

Addendum: Mark Harris has commentary. For example,

The Bishop of Pittsburgh said he was only intending to be at Lambeth for part of the time. We might want to look carefully at how he plans to spend his next few weeks. I would not be surprised if the petition will be delivered and acted on by the GAFCON Primates by email. The consolidation of the CCP is already in the plans for the early fall.

Meanwhile, Ruth Gledhill reports

Conservative evangelical bishops, who we were asked not to name, were told: ‘In indaba group after indaba group, find out how many people support resolution 1.10. [The one ten years ago that enforced a traditional, Biblical stance on gay sex.] I am putting my hand up in my indaba group, I invite my brothers and sisters to do the same when they get the opportunity.’ So it appears, you can take indaba out of Africa, but you can’t take good old democratic infighting out of the West.

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4 Comments
  1. Phillip Cato

    Stand by. The new AnaBaptists in copes and mitres are on the move. As they assemble themselves to become something new, and powerful, and “orthodox,” they might want to brush up on the history of previous purist movements. A good, hard look at the Cathari, the ideological descendants of the Manichaeans, would be a good place to start. They are, I think, their progeny, whether they realize it or not.

    Phillip Cato

  2. Donald Schell

    I watched and listened to the (soon to be former?) Diocese of Pittsburgh video referenced here (link in the body above):

    ‘Today the Diocese of Pittsburgh — whose bishop, Bob Duncan, is moderator of the CCP — unveiled a video featuring “laity from parishes of the diocese of Pittsburgh discussing their support for realigning the diocese to another province of the Anglican Communion.”‘

    It’s very difficult to hear any Gospel in it at all. I wonder what ‘conservatives’ and/or ‘orthodox’ speakers video make of Jesus’ feasts with sinners and of the way in which his unrighteous practice of the Father’s unconditional love scandalized the religious establishment. The video begins by offering a vaguely christological framework for our church’s controversies.

    Christology that rests in the Gospels invites us to follow Jesus, God-with-us, shunned by the religious establishment and finally crucified for his embrace of sinners over righteous. St. Paul is clear that by the Law (same religious law whose labored interpretation is invoked to condemn Gene Robinson) Jesus dies for and with the worst of us as one ‘accursed.’

    Arguments that takes a diocese to happily embracing schism for the sake of doctrinal and moral purity betray Gospel Christology and make a mockery of orthodoxy.

  3. I simply don’t understand this.

    Are you telling me that now the Reformed Episcopal Church–one of the Common Cause Partners–is now asking to be part of an organization (GAFCON) that is understood to be a group of churches *within* the Anglican Communion?

    How does *that* work?

  4. Brian Reid

    I’d like to point out that the name Congregatio Anglicano pro Doctrina Fidei is not currently in use and is therefore available as a name for the committee that will surely be formed to decide who is righteous enough to participate. Since that’s a lot of syllables, we can call it the Court of the Compassrose Chamber.

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