The Lead, at Episcopal Cafe, posted this from the Diocese of Jerusalem's website.
Re: Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June 2008The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Bishop Suheil Dawani, has expressed his concern about the Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June this year.
“Regrettably, I have not been consulted about this planned conference,” said Bishop Suheil. “The first I learned of it was through a press release.
“I am aware that the post-Christmas announcement that this conference is to be held here has excited considerable interest around the Anglican Communion, and has become the subject of online discussion. Yet we Anglicans who minister here have been left out in the cold.
“I also note that the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who appears to be one of the organisers, is encouraging clergy and lay people from his diocese to attend the conference with him and his bishops. He speaks of the meeting taking place because the Anglican Communion is, he says, ‘in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority’.
“I am deeply troubled that this meeting, of which we had no prior knowledge, will import inter-Anglican conflict into our diocese, which seeks to be a place of welcome for all Anglicans.
“It could also have serious consequences for our ongoing ministry of reconciliation in this divided land. Indeed, it could further inflame tensions here. We who minister here know only too well what happens when two sides cease talking to each other. We do not want to see any further dividing walls!
“I believe our Primate, Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis,is also concerned about this event. His advice to the organizers that this was not the right time or place for such a meeting was ignored.”
“I urge the organizers to reconsider this conference urgently.”
David Virtue posted remarks from the Primate, Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, on his site. Among those remarks was this: "In regard to the site, 'Jerusalem', I doubt that we will get the support of the Bishop there for various reasons. Even if he agreed initially, things may change several months afterwards. This will put us in an awkward position. It is my region and I know it better than you. To say we will do a pilgrimage to attract Bishops, and yet it is not entirely a pilgrimage, is not right in my point of view."
As GAFCON continues to unravel, it now appears that the Primate of the Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East as welll as the bishop in Jerusalem are not pleased with the plans of the self appointed leadership of GAFCON.
My sense is that the planners are set on meeting prior to Lambeth in order to send a deputation to Lambeth with demands for changes in its agenda and for a more strident way of dealing with the evil West. The meeting is also meant to be the beginnings of a new way of doing and being Anglican. The planners, after all, are talking about THEIR Anglican Future...one which will not include people who walk with gay people or ordain women or otherwise mess around with norms that have been elevated to moral law.
If GAFCON leadership take seriously the reservations of the Bishop of Jersualem and decide to meet elsewhere, where will that be? Perhaps they will work a compromise with the Primate of the Province and keep the dates but meet in Egypt. That at least would save them from meeting so clearly in the African bible-belt, where the leadership mostly comes from. On the other hand, they might just bite the bullet and go ahead and meet in, say, Rwanda or Uganda, as a central venue.
The primary thing the Bishop in Jerusalem's letter does is to show the arrogance of the planners, who believe they can go anywhere in any Province and do anything they wish. To a point, of course, they can. But going to Jerusalem is not all that easy, depending on the day or week, and a number of the invitees to such a conference might find themselves without visas from the State. What they got today is notice that they may not get ecclesial visas from the Church.
Then again, they may not care. The planners now are almost entirely bible-belt African Prelates and American and English spoilers. Neither group has much at stake in fellowship with what they view as the hollow vestiges of the faith found in the leadership of the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Church of England.
The leadership of GAFCON has announced with triumph an event that looks more and more unlikely, at least in its current form. There it is.