VOL: What is your overall take on this gathering of African Bishops from 12 African nations?
DUNCAN: This, the Second All African Bishops Conference has lacked the clarity of the first All African Bishops’ Conference. What I believe we learn from this conference six years later is that Anglicanism without a confession is in a troubled place. The contrast between the spirit of GAFCON and this conference was striking. The prayerful, joyful always aware that God-is-right -here attitude of the African Church was present only when we worshipped or shared relationally. The sessions at the conference were dominated by Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and social solutions where the gospel of Jesus is not the driving force.
By and large, the folks in Entebbe were the same folks at Lagos and many of the same folks in Jerusalem, but this conference lacked that great enthusiastic spirit that the joy of Jesus invariably displays. Conference presenters were more often good-hearted NGO’s, but what exuded and continues to exude from the bishops of Africa was not so often on the podium since bishops were not so often on the podium. The agenda, apart from worship and Bible studies, was far more dominantly social than spiritual. Nevertheless and as always, the Lord did great things for many who shared in the conference and He is able to work all things together for good. (Rom. 8:28)
VOL: Did you feel accepted and affirmed as the new Anglican boy on the block?
DUNCAN: Over and over again, bishops all across Africa expressed to me their affection and respect for the stand that I and all of us have made and their sense absolute oneness in the gospel.
VOL: Were you saddened that two provinces, Central Africa and Southern Africa referred to ACNA as “illegitimate”?
DUNCAN: It is always when the actual realities are put in the light. What we have been observing in North America when Anglicanism ceases to be confessional is that Anglicanism does not cohere. This is simply a sign that the divisions North America has known will not be limited to North America.
VOL: You met Archbishop Rowan Williams. How did that go? What did you exchange between you?
DUNCAN: Nara and I greeted Rowan Williams on the night we gathered and we had a very warm exchange in which we talked about our families and the challenges of both his office and mine.
VOL: How do you think Williams handled himself in Entebbe?
DUNCAN: He led in the very same way he has led since 2002.
VOL: What do you see as the future of Anglicanism in North America with ACNA?
DUNCAN: The only future for ACNA, as the only future for Anglicanism, is the kind of confessional Anglicanism as represented in the Jerusalem Declaration. The clarity with which the GAFCON/FCA primates have admitted me as a primate among them also reveals something of the trajectory we are on.
VOL: How hopeful are you of reaching your goal of 1000 ACNA churches?
DUNCAN: On June 24th 2009 in my investiture sermon I called for the planting of 1,000 new churches. While not all the growth has been in new church plants, the number of congregations in or associated with the Anglican Church in North America has grown from over 700 to over 900 churches and includes ministry partners like the AMIA. Wherever I go among young people in particular there is an extraordinary readiness to join this vision and to work in reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.
Seems that trying to “do” the work of Christ in the world is not as fun as making statements and singing songs.
This editor believes the issue of whether or not Anglicanism would be “confessional” was decided some time ago. The interview reveals how Duncan’s church is a new version of an old idea — that some churches followed and Anglicans did not.