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Gafcon seeks attention

Gafcon seeks attention

As the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong ended, the Gafcon Primates Council issued a communique at the close of their rival gathering. In it they announced, “we have decided to call together a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion in June of 2020.”

The communique noted that “last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored.” Lambeth Conference takes place in July and August of 2020.

In his statement to the ACC, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office said Gafcon was “deliberately ignorant” of the communion’s polity.

On the eve of the ACC meeting, and the rival Gafcon meeting, it was announced that the Archbishop of ACNA, Foley Beach, was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend Lambeth 2020 as an ecumenical observer. Beach responded with an emission taking offense that the Archbishop did not recognize him as a member of the communion. The Archbishop of ACNA is also the present chairman of Gafcon.

The Rt. Rev. Greg Brewer, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, called Gafcon’s rival June 2020 bishop’s conference “an exacerbation of our divisions” and “a tragedy”:


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Kenneth Knapp

I am just the third person in the third pew (from the rear of the church, of course), but I think that if I were the ABC, I would simply invite all to attend on an equal basis and let those who don’t want to belong self-select.

Kurt Hill

I agree. I’d go so far as accepting Continuing groups such as the ACNA and the Reformed Episcopal Church as Associate Members of the Anglican Communion if they agreed to practice Table Fellowship with The Episcopal Church. (Members of these and other denominations are already permitted to receive the Blessed Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood from TEC parishes.)

Steve Price

Godly order cannot be restored in the Communion with groups like GafCon deliberately trying to cultivate division.The time has come to pull the plug on these schismatic leaders and bid them farewell.You may even find that the more responsible provinces in GafCon may not be willing to follow them over the cliff.

JoS. S. Laughon

Division started in 2003, by definition

Gregory Orloff

Or in 451, or 1054, or in 1517, or in 1534, depending on one’s perspective and breadth of history.

JoS. S. Laughon

While it is true that division in the church has happened before, it is not true (painfully obviously so) that division in the Anglican Communion started in any of those other dates for the simple reason the Anglican Communion did not exist. Pointing to other non-related historic divisions does not obfuscate the main point that in the early 2000s, some provinces violated Lambeth Resolutions and continue to do so. There’s no unity already and Lambeth isn’t enforced at all. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.

Tom Downs

I suspect you know full well that Lambeth meeting resolutions are not binding on member Churches. Thus there is no continuing violation. However, were resolutions binding and Gafcon continued to boycott Lambeth, those Churches might well sometime find they are required to ordain women and become fully inclusive. Perhaps it’s best we leave Lambeth alone.

JoS. S. Laughon

Which is why it seems odd to the point of disingenuity to claim that GAFCON has “disobeyed” or “violated” Lambeth by declining to attend. It’s a shell game. If the progressives in the Communion disregard Lambeth it’s simply then exercising their Christian liberty. If the conservatives do so (after continual disregard across the Communion since the 1990s) then its violating the instruments of unity. It’s high time to just have a semi-amicable separation and stop the charade.

JoS. S. Laughon

It’s amazing how GAFCON cannot even simply meet without nefarious, uncharitable and shadowy motivations being assigned to them.

Let the separation happen. There is no actual unity to begin with.

Tom Downs

Sadly Gafcon’s beginnings were shady and dishonorable. Perhaps in time all will be forgotten. Until then it is hard for some of us to assign charitable motives to anything they do.

Cynthia Katsarelis

We know that the ACC is funded largely by the Church of England and us (TEC). Where does GAFCON get all these funds for all their extra-Communion activities? Just wondering.

JoS. S. Laughon

Ms Katsarelis,

It may come as a shock but churches outside the Global North do actually have funds.

Cynthia Katsarelis

I’m only shocked by how offensive your comment is and that the editors let it slide.

GAFCON should have the same transparency as the ACC. This isn’t about the “Global South.” This is about authoritarian provinces where lay people have little voice in the decision of the men to fight the culture wars.

I was in the delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2016. In the chapel at 815, one African woman after another gave a hard time to Josiah Idowu-Fearon because of all the conflict the primates get into, while the women are working the problems of domestic violence, Ebola, healthcare, literacy, poverty, etc. Those women were more engaged in ministry than culture wars and were angry that the focus of the all-male primates impeded their work.

GAFCON also decided not to ordain any women. This isn’t the Global South. This is a boys club.

JoS. S. Laughon


You will be surprised to note that the Global South is not like the Global North, especially when it comes to the rich developed world’s liberal presumptions. The fact you cannot comprehend a Global South that does not fit with your western liberal thinking on issues says quite a lot more about yourself than who is and is not authentically African, Asian or Latin America.

Philip B. Spivey

As they say in my neck of the woods, Cynthia: “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” In this case, the noun should be plural.

Kurt Hill

Right on, Cynthia!

Kurt Hill

Groups such as the Cranmer Foundation in North America apparently fund ACNA/GAFCON functions. Other right-wing foundations established by the American Koch brothers have also been known to fund dissenting, conservative and fundamentalist Evangelical currents…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY


You’d be surprised how many right-wing groups there are who are invested in funding Gafcon. It would boggle your mind. The ‘American Kock brothers’ are just the tip of the iceberg.

[CRS – Please sign your full time in the future. – eds.]

Kurt Hill

It’s Professor Seitz–who else..?

Philip B. Spivey


Philip B. Spivey

I’ve been wondering the same thing for a very long time.

C.R. Russell

“We have decided to call together a meeting.” So sixth grade clubby.

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