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GAFCON primates to meet in London, is it the end at last?

GAFCON primates to meet in London, is it the end at last?

In a his Easter letter, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council writes of his recent trip to Australia to be present for the formation of a branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, saying;

last week it was my privilege as Chairman of GAFCON to share in the launch of the Australian branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. I believe this is a new beginning for united gospel witness across the continent, sharing the same determination and passion for the gospel as that of the pioneering Anglican chaplain and missionary, Richard Johnson, who led the first recorded act of Christian worship on Australian soil on Sunday 3rd February 1788. It was also a great privilege to meet delegates from New Zealand and they are deeply concerned that their Church may formally accept rites for the blessing of same sex unions next year.

Then near the end of his letter, he mentions that the Gafcon Primates will be meeting in London next week;

The GAFCON Primates Council will soon meet in London, from the 13th to the 17th April, and we shall take counsel together so that our movement can grow strongly and be equipped to fulfil the vision of restoring the Anglican Communion’s commitment to biblical truth. It will also give us a special opportunity to meet with leaders of the British and Irish branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Anglican Mission in England. Please uphold us in prayer during this time.

Writing at Anglican Ink, George Conger reports that the Archbishop of the ACNA is one of the expected primates to join the meeting and further that;

Next week’s London meeting is expected to discuss the issue of whether to support a parallel Anglican jurisdiction akin to the Anglican Church in North America for England, and how such support should be shown.

In his 23 September 2014 pastoral letter to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans  (FCA), the group’s leader, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya wrote:  “It is becoming clear that we must see the once missionary nations of the West as now themselves mission fields.”  He further stated “the focus of the struggle for biblical faithfulness has shifted from North America to England.”

To achieve this end, the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) had been “authorised by the GAFCON Primates to work within and, where necessary, outside the structures of the Church of England as a missionary society”.

Peter Carrell, blogging at Anglicans Down Under wonders whether or not the Anglican Communion is at last at the inflection point where it begins to either incorporate differing views on human sexuality or marriage or formally divides.

Fast forward to 2015 and we have the Anglican Communion at the crossroads. Will this Communion which has neither resisted nor incorporated the (alleged) movement of the Spirit within TEC find a ‘way forward’ which clarifies the Communion’s approach to same sex marriage? Will this Communion which so far through nearly 150 years existence has resisted becoming overly institutionalised find new momentum towards being an institution in the sense of a ‘global church’ rather than a communion? Or, will the next few years see the Communion quietly evolve into a series of Anglican movements, ungoverned by prelate or constitution? It is already evolving in that direction but it is not yet determined that we will end all desire to be a global church.

Archbishop Of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the newly appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, seem to want very much to square this circle, but exactly how remains unclear.  It should be noted that both have been participants at GAFCON gatherings in the past, yet it is hard to imagine a sitting Archbishop of Canterbury willfully participating in or condoning the creation of an alternate Anglican church within England.  So what solution is there?  And is there sufficient energy at the roots of the Episcopal Church for salvation of the frayed bonds of the Anglican Communion?


posted by Jon White



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Jeremy Bates

The Anglican Communion is an international family of churches. Nothing more.

And when a family member becomes abusive, it’s time to stop enabling that behavior.

That is why I too am hoping that the GC will vote to cut funding for the Communion bureaucracy.

Michael Hartney says that the TEC budget would increase ACC funding by $188,000. Why should TEC boost the very office that is intent on demoting TEC to second-class status? This makes very little sense.

If the House of Bishops refuses to acknowledge reality on this issue, then perhaps the House of Deputies will. At least there should be a budget-cutting amendment put to a vote.

Even if the amendment fails, the Communion hierarchy will begin to understand that TEC will not support a curial Communion.

Edit – Please use your first and last names in future posts. I’ve fixed this comment to allow it through moderation.
David Allen

Father Ron Smith

This Meeting of the GAFCON Primates must surely challenge the Leadership of the Church of England to take note of the uber-conservative nature of these promoters of alternative Anglicanism on their door-step.

The Archbishops of Canterbury have been given adequate warning of what can take place where overseas Provinces take the initiative in establishing their own conservative off-shoots in other Provincial Churches of the Anglican Communion. Schism is a likely outcome.

This could be the time when non-GAFCON Provinces may need to assert their independence of a Communion that looks like moving its token leadership role from Canterbury to Kenya.

David Murray

The Anglican communion is rather like the old British Empire – that is fading away.

In this 21st century, the Christian message is best done by the same nationals to their fellow citizens. This development is all about something else…

Frankly – what does this communion do for TEC? As I see it – nothing at all, but reminds us of a heritage with CofE. A heritage that needed Scottish Bishops …. You know?

Jean Johnson

I am wondering why Episcopal Cafe chose a picture from the Lambeth Conference for this article when many if not most of the people referred to in the article were not at the Lambeth Conference.

David Streever

Jean: I suspect Jon used it because it shows at least some of the people mentioned, and was the right size, photo quality, and wasn’t rights managed; we really struggle to find relevant, interesting, and free photos for our stories!

David Allen

7 volunteer editors doing the best we can in this frail vessel of clay. 🙂

Bro David

Jean Johnson

David ~ While that may be true, I find the photo to be misleading, because it implies the photo is of the GAFCON meeting. I suspect that there are not nearly the number of bishops in GAFCON as are in the photo. It may also imply that the bishops pictured are involved with GAFCON, and I suspect most of them would not be pleased to have that association implied.

David Streever

A few of us are discussing it internally–did you email Jon about it? One of our editors sees it as relevant/accurate because the story is about GAFCON integrating with the Anglican Communion, meeting in London, and that even the Archbishop attends GAFCON events. I guess I’m wondering if other Bishops can really claim to not be associated with GAFCON given the level of crossover going on? They may not want the association, but I think the article is establishing that the association already exists? What do you think?

Bob McCloskey

Lionel and Michael –
I strongly concur, but given the latest positive statements of the new Anglican Communion general secretary by of our former PB, our current PB and a host of other TEC bishops, I have little hope that anything significant will happen at GC 2015. It appears to me that episcopal power is at play here.
Personally, it is time to cut the ties and let the C of E be the whipping post for a change. A divided C of E could be more effective given the canonical relationship with Parliament et al. Lord knows their adherents who have denounced the TEC for its financial expenditures on legal action against our dissidents over the past several years may begin to understand a different view of matters – even though in the UK property rights are protected in a way that they are not in the USA.

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