Secretary General of ACO: Gafcon intentionally “ignorant” of polity

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The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion issued a rebuke to Gafcon in his address to the Anglican Consultative Council. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon delivered his report Monday at ACC17HongKong. He spoke especially of deliberate ignorance of the polity of the Anglican Communion, pointing out the Communion’s polity is, in particular, different from the polity of the Roman Catholic Church. Video of his address is below.

Paul Handley of The Church Times reports:

Dr Idowu-Fearon asked directly: “How should we respond to GAFCON?” — the Global Anglican Fellowship of conservative Provinces that has been acting increasingly independently in recent years….

He spoke of “deliberate ignorance”: “When you see a Primate, when you see a bishop, who knows that this is what it means to be an Anglican Church . . . and he pretends that he doesn’t, that’s very frustrating.”

The Anglican polity, he said, involved consultation between bishops, clergy, and laity. “But I’m sharing with you that, in a good number of our provinces and dioceses, particularly in the Global South, there are no debates.

As well as duplicate structures, Dr Idowu-Fearon “had difficulty” with calls to invite, as full participants to the Lambeth Conference, people “who are clearly not members of the Communion”, and for calls to boycott the conference because of the disagreements with other Provinces.

In another part of his address, Dr Idowu-Fearon also castigated Provinces that were able to contribute to the Communion’s finances, but were being “financially irresponsible”. Nearly two-thirds of the Communion’s budget comes from just two Provinces: England (41 per cent), and the United States (22 per cent).

ACNA, whose Archbishop is the current chair of Gafcon, has been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend Lambeth 2020. See our report: ACNA offended by invitation to Lambeth as a non-member observer.

Mary Frances Schjonberg of ENS has also filed a report on Idowu-Fearon’s address.

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JoS. S Laughon
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It is a tad odd to see accusations of ignorance of polity norms that are barely 100 years old. It's not that GAFCON is ignorant of the Global North establishment line. They simply don't agree.

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

I doubt the issue has to do with ignorance of a polity. It is rather questioning certain polity assumptions. Surely +Josiah knows that. The idea that anglicanism has some clear polity that some are "ignorant" of is wrong at both ends. Watching this video from the ACC one sees how terribly fragile the entire business is. +Welby seeking to bat away probing questions with a smile. Insults to the RC observer followed by lavish apologies. Repetitive insistance that "we are anglicans" as if this is truly resolving of anything. It is not very pleasant to watch.

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