Gafcon communiqué urges restrictions on Lambeth Conference invites

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Delegates at the third Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), which met in Jerusalem last week, endorsed a communiqué on their final day which called on the Archbishop of Canterbury not to invite to the Lambeth Conference in 2020 bishops from Provinces which have endorsed “sexual practices which are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture”.

The communiqué said that unless that happened, and unless bishops from independent breakaway churches that are not in the Anglican Communion – the Anglican Church of North America (ANiC) and the Anglican Church of Brazil – were invited too, it would “urge Gafcon members to decline the invitation to attend Lambeth 2020 and all other meetings of the Instruments of Communion.”

[Gafcon describes itself as “a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.” It includes primates, mostly from Africa, and some bishops and clergy from other provinces, including Canada and the U.S. It also includes breakway churches like ANiC.]

But ahead of the meeting, a significant number of primates associated with the Gafcon movement made clear their intention to attend. Among them was Archbishop Masimango Katanda of the Anglican Church of Congo, who described the Lambeth Conference as “very important” and the only opportunity for bishops across the world to meet together. “When we talk with Anglican Christians in Congo, their identity is in the See of Canterbury,” he said. “Breaking [from]the See of Canterbury is like starting a new Church, which is not Anglican.”

The Archbishop of Tanzania, Maimbo Mndolwa, said: “If there are issues that are theological, issues that touch the Church, let’s discuss; not run away. Why should we run away? You can think of going and establishing another group. There will be challenges [there] too. Are you going to run away from that [new group] again?”

During the week, the Archbishop of Canterbury used Twitter to send a message to Gafcon members, saying: “You are in my prayers. I pray the Holy Spirit will bless you with wisdom, insight and fresh vision for the renewal of God’s world – and our role as Anglicans in that great work.”

The editor of the Anglican Ink blog, George Conger, described this as a plea to delegates to “consider the cost of rebellion.”  And he added that “some scheduled speakers and participants withdrew from the proceedings at the last minute due to pressure from London”.

But, speaking to the Anglican Communion News Service, a spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury rejected these claims, saying: “Archbishop Justin has stated his views on the Gafcon meeting in a blog and Tweet. He did not at any point seek to interfere in the decisions of primates as to their attendance.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The judgementalism and hypocrisy is stunning. Remember that this group exists for one reason: to enforce a fundamentalist/literalist view of scripture in order to suppress and condemn gay people and the churches that support them. This trumps everything else. From the outset, women and divorced people are excluded by these demands. But no Gafcon bishop would ever be found wanting, since they are supposedly more than able to attain these standards of “orthodox” purity. Or so we are led to believe.

  2. I am so thankful that God has called Faithful people together to form the Global Anglican Futures Conference, GAFCON. Within GAFCON if feel that I have a Church that is actually remaining Faithful to God and following His Will as He has taught it in the Holy Scriptures. We maintain the true Christian Creeds, these being the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and also the Creed of Saint Athanasius. We maintain the 39 Articles of Religion. We maintain the Christian belief that as mortals we are all sinners and only through the Sacrificial Blood of Jesus Christ is there redemption. We maintain that the Holy Bible is the Word of God and not a collection of man made writings. We maintain the Book of Common Prayer as the Biblically inspired Liturgy of genuine Anglican Worship. We are global, we are Anglican, and we do have the future.

  3. Gafcon’s theme was “Friendship and Reconciliation.” The requirements of reconciliation were communicated at the opening by the Primate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Suheil Dawani: he said, “First, in order to face the enormous challenges of our time, and to work towards unity and reconciliation we need to be able to meet in dialogue and mutual respect. Second, the community needs to be able to celebrate the differences that it has, and accept each other through seeing Christ in each other, and not by imposing our own image of Christ on each other. The final step towards unity and reconciliation . . . is hospitality, since it is through hospitality that we can transform the exclusion of others to an embrace.” (see Journal article June 20th)
    From Gafcon’s closing communique it would seem that important elements of friendship and reconciliation did not resonate as “wisdom, insight, and fresh vision of renewal (Welby above) ” within the psyche of those gathered.

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