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Gafcon Primates Council meets, grumbles

Gafcon Primates Council meets, grumbles

The Gafcon Primates Council has met and issued a communiqué echoing a refrain familiar from previous emissions.

For example,

The Anglican Diocese of Recife, Brazil has been a diocese that has related extra-provincially to Gafcon since 2008.    Through its church-planting efforts, the Diocese of Recife is spreading the gospel across Brazil, and has grown into a province.  We recognise them as a province in the Anglican Communion and have approved the installation of the Rt Rev. Miguel Ochoa as the first Primate of the Province.  We look forward to his membership of the Primates Council.

Last year we established the Panel of Assistance to provide feedback and advice to the Primates Council on matters affecting our fellowship.  The panel held its first round of meetings this year in the Americas, Africa, Europe and Oceania.  The first task given to the panel was to consider the report of the Task Force on Women in the Episcopate. This report recommended: “The provinces of Gafcon should retain the historic practice of the consecration only of men as bishops until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation, and the continued study of Scripture among the Gafcon fellowship.” 
The regional meetings of the Panel gave overwhelming support for the recommendation.  We therefore affirmed our commitment to this recommendation.  During our time together, the Primate-elect of South Sudan also supported this commitment.
We are grieved that the Communiqué  from that meeting [the October 2017 Anglican Communion Primates Meeting] did not accurately describe the relationships that have been broken by The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Scottish Episcopal Church.  These provinces have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. They are not walking together with us. The Communiqué also did not accurately describe the Anglican Church in North America, which we recognised as a Province in the Anglican Communion.  In addition, in addressing cross-border interventions, the Communiqué  failed to recognise that there is no moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises “from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation”, and the innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communiqué 2007).
Emphasis added.
As Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has said, Gafcon is a ginger group. It is not a body that can add or subtract provinces in the Anglican Communion. Thus the statements about Brazil and ACNA are false. Gafcon is, of course, free to recognize provinces outside the communion.
As to the statement about women in the Episcopate, the communiqué neglects the context — unbeknownst to Gafcon, South Sudan consecrated a woman in December 2016. Gafcon only revealed the consecration recently. ACNA defended Gafcon’s decision — to the great consternation of some Anglo-Catholics in ACNA.

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Dave Borton

Thank you John. And I thought Skinner’s box was complicated, eh?

Dave Borton

Can someone explain this to me in one para or less? I do understand it involves ordination of women and the tension among our communion. But beyond that, I am lost.

Cynthia Katsarelis

David, GAFCON is a self-selected subset of the Anglican Communion. Apparently, their only reason for existing is because of its opposition to gay people (some of the primates have support “jail the gays” laws in some African countries) and women’s ordination. They don’t seem to haggle over divorce, liturgy, treatment of the poor, lay eucharist (Australia, part of GAFCON, does lay eucharist), etc. They have made exclusion of LGBT people and women in leadership, a central tenant of the Christianity (they tend to be sola scriptorum fundamentalists). And they like to flock with like-minded sorts, such as the schismatics from TEC and the Church of Canada. Maybe someone else can do better.

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