The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) website has posted an article titled "GAFCON Repackaged." You can read it HERE. Nothing particularly new, except two things:
(i) the nifty symbol is again posted on which the words "veritas" and "unium" appear. A number of readers have commented that "unium" isn't a recognizable Latin word, although it looks like one. The most charitable comment was that maybe the "i" wasn't meant to be part of both words, and
(ii) the clear distinction between the consultation in Jordan (June 18-22) and the pilgrimage (June 22-29) is made. The first "will include the conference leadership, theological resource group and some key leaders." The second will be "focusing on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land."
But is the distinction all that clear? Here are the words from the brochure for the Pilgrimage:
"Jerusalem Pilgrimage and Consultation
The Global Anglican Future Conference - GAFCON - is holding a full week of planning and pilgrimage in Jerusalem from June 22nd through June 29th 2008.
Anglicans face global challenges. There is no better place than the Holy Land for those committed to the authority of scripture to meet, pray and address the reformation of the church and to equip it for mission.
An initial Consultation in Jordan will include the pilgrimage leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders.
The Jerusalem pilgrimage includes visits to Biblical sites and will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land.
Participation in the Global Anglican Future Conference - GAFCON – is by invitation only from the Primate, or lead Bishop, to their Bishops, clergy and lay people.
Jerusalem pilgrimage from June 22 to June 29, 2008."
Note the highlighted words, "planning and pilgrimage" and "address the reformation of the church." These are words not about the consultation in Jordan, but about the "full week …June 22nd to June 29th."
The criticism from the Bishop of Jerusalem was precisely that he did not want the divisive consultation to take place in Jerusalem. Pilgrimage yes, consultation no. But it appears that no one is listening. GAFCON has essentially held the bishop of Jerusalem in low esteem. This sort of thing is not forgotten out there in the difficult world of Anglicans-in-the-Holy-Land.
Also note: this is an "invitation only" pilgrimage and consultation. One has to be invited by a "the Primate, or lead Bishop." On the registration side of the brochure it notes about registration, "When those who are invited indicate their acceptance to the Primate, or lead Bishop, they will be issued with a unique "pilgrim number". This number is used to register…" So the pilgrimage is one for the pure and pure in heart.
As all this unfolds I get the sense that GAFCON repackaged is the original GAFCON, a consultation, conducted in two parts. Part I, in Jordan, will lay out the plan – the future of a Global Anglican whatever - and the so called pilgrimage will actually be an occasion for the wider community of those who follow the GAFCON primates and bishops to salute the new flag.
Given the audacity of the GAFCON leadership it will probably include the Anglican Communion Compass Rose, without the shield of St. George in the center. I am sure they will think of something to put there in its stead.