GAFCON – the acronym for the Global Anglican Future Conference, was put together by a leadership group from the Global South and other parts of the Anglican Communion. To refresh your memory, that group consists of the following:
Archbishops Peter Akinola (Nigeria), Henry Orombi (Uganda), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya), Donald Mtetemela (Tanzania), Peter Jensen (Sydney), and Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria); Bishops Don Harvey (Canada), Bill Atwood (Kenya) representing Archbishop Greg Venables (Southern Cone), Bishop Bob Duncan (Anglican Communion Network), Bishop Martyn Minns (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), Canon Dr Vinay Samuel (India and England) and Canon Dr Chris Sugden (England). Bishops Michael Nazir-Ali (Rochester, England), Bishop Wallace Benn (Lewes, England) were consulted by telephone.
Once upon a time the Global South also formed a leadership team, a Steering Committee consisting of the following:
President: Most Rev'd Peter J. Akinola, Nigeria
General Secretary: Most Rev'd John Chew, Southeast Asia
Treasurer: Most Rev'd Mouneer Anis, Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Most Rev'd Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda
Most Rev'd Drexel Gomez, West Indies
Most Rev'd Bernard Malango, Central Africa
Most Rev'd Gregory Venables, Southern Cone
Assoc Secretary: Bishop Martyn Minns
Asst Secretaries: Canon Wong Tak Meng, Canon Terry Wong
It was noted by the Global South Webpages that "other Global South Primates do participate in some of the meetings as and when the need arises. The Most Revd Henry Orombi (Uganda) participated in the recent meeting in London."
Only Primates Akinola, Kolini and Venables of that list were part of the leadership team for GAFCON. Archbishop Orombi, present at an earlier meeting also was part of this planning group. Primates Gomez, Malango, Anis and Chew were not part of this planning. The list now is considerably more weighted toward the swath of Provinces across Africa below the Sahara and above the Southern Africa, with a smattering of pasty white guys from the Unites States, and Canada, one member each from Pakistan and India, both now in England, and an Australian. Scratch the Canadian, two English, two immigrants to England, two US bishops and one Canadian bishop and the Australian, none of whom are Global South. What is left? The answer is five Primates.
GAFCON's leadership includes only one Primate from the Western Hemesphere – Bishop Venables from Argentina and the Province of the Sothern Cone, who was represented there by an American bishop from Kenya. The only person the group could muster from Asia is someone from Australia, definitely not Global South.
The conclusion is that this conference is being called by a core group of five African Provinces, or at least the Primates of those five Provinces, with the encouragement of a smattering of bishops and two Primates from outside Africa. Bishop Duncan of the Network and Bishop Minns of CANA represent genuine constituencies in the US. Both have sworn to stand by the directives of the Global South Steering Committee concerning future developments. The connection between the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and incursions into the US is clear in that they have all ordained bishops serving in the US under their direction. Tanzania is less directly connected but is identifying itself with the rest. Venables from the Province of the Southern Cone is also involved in these incursions.
Whatever happened to The Global South? Well, following the first Global South Encounter, to which many bishops from the sociological / economic "global south" were invited and came, the GS moved distinctly in the direction of what is now understood to be the New Improved Neo Fundamentalist Anglican Communion (NINFAC). Various previously invited bishops found themselves no longer invited. The group became "Global South Anglicans," and became a party in the Anglican Communion party conflict. Thus the Global South Anglican group does not represent the Global South and increasingly does not represent Anglicanism.
In the strange world of those on the edge of Anglican Land, the Global South is not the Global South, and, oh yes, the Global Anglican Future Conference is not about Global Anglicanism. GAFCON is a meeting whose leadership consists of those who benefit from incursions into the Provinces of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. It is a meeting of those who no longer care about the Anglican Communion as currently constituted. The leadership claims GAFCON not to be an instrument of the Global South. They are right. GAFCON is a delusion based on an illusion based on a fiction.
GAFCON will be a meeting to scrap the whole thing we have come to know as Anglicanism and begin something new. It will be trumpeted by its leadership as the best thing to happen to the Christian Church since the delivery of the faith to the saints once upon a time.
And they will be wrong.