Look who came to dinner...GAFCON and ACNA

The Living Church now has posted the attendees at the GAFCON Primates meeting at a hotel near Heathrow Airport.

The players from GAFCON, according to TLC are: Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda; along with the Rt. Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia). Jensen is not one of the GAFCON Primates, but the secretary to the group. The Bishop of Tanzania is not present.

The Living Church reports that, "joining the archbishops in the three-day meeting are

the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone and the archbishop-designate of the ACNA;
the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone;
the Rt. Rev. Charles Murphy; the leader of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA);
the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America and one of his bishops suffragan,
the Rt. Rev. David Anderson;
the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey, Provincial Bishop Suffragan for the Anglican Church of Uganda;
the Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Bishop of All Saints Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya;
and the Rt. Rev. Don Harvey, leader of the Anglican Network in Canada.

All the players from the Common Cause Partnership are there save anyone from the Reformed Episcopal Church.

The agenda, according to George Conger of TLC is to "discuss the formation and strengthening of the Fellowship of Confession Anglicans (FCA), the formation of the ACNA, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s proposed Anglican Covenant, and the on-going divisions within the Anglican Communion."

Please note the Anglican Covenant is now called "The Archbishop of Canterbury's proposed Anglican Covenant." This of course makes it easy to link the Anglican Covenant, already suspect of being too liberal, with the Archbishop of Canterbury who is held in increasing disregard by GAFCON.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (oddly called here the Fellowship of Confession Anglicans) is an odd business. It's website is shiny on the outside and rather lacking in content. Perhaps the real secret hand shake stuff is elsewhere. The Archbishop of Nigeria seems to think FOCA is a great success, but there seems little sign of it. The GAFCON / ACNA / realignment crowd is always glad to give numbers, but no numbers here.

In a previous blog I suggested that this GAFCON Primates meeting would do:

(i) They have already had a rather gloomy sense of the whole Anglican Covenant enterprise given the Anglican Communion's slow response to their demands that The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada be drummed out of the corps because of their unrepentant attitudes. Their lack of response to the Covenant Design Committee's questions is significantly greater than the general lack of response. They will mostly dismiss RCDC.

(ii) The strategy for dealing with the ACC and the June start up for ACNA will no doubt be high on the GAFCON Primates agenda. Moderator Robert Duncan of the Common Cause Partnership and Archbishop- designate of the soon to be established Anglican Church in North America will be meeting with the GAFCON Primates at their invitation. Remembering that the Jerusalem Declaration requires the repudiation of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada and by inference anyone who supports either church, and the decision by the Church of Nigeria to recognize ACNA, there is little need to guess where things will come out. The only question is whether the rest of the GAFCON crowd will buy in with Nigeria at this point or wait for a while more.

(iii) When the Anglican Consultative Committee meets in a little less than three weeks they will have a crack at the Anglican Covenant third draft, called the "Ridley Cambridge Draft" and less affectionately the RCDC. There they will no doubt be told by the GAFCON representatives that RCDC is so weak as to be irrelevant and so Anglo-centric as to be an insult.

(iv) GAFCON will push for the Primates as the governing board of the Anglican Communion as a communion of churches, make the Archbishop of Canterbury a titular head of church and the President of the Primates, elected among themselves, as the de-facto head of Communion. GAFCON leaders will press for a covenant with "teeth."

With the whole episcopal house of the emerging Anglican Church in North America meeting with GAFCON Primates, we can be sure the press is on for the GAFCON Primates to buy the package now.

When delivered to the ACC the package will need to be refused and its contents sent back to GAFCON Primates who will no doubt know what to do next. Start a new Anglican whatever.


  1. The whole mischiefmaking lot ignores the terrible destruction THEY do...personally, they seem more spiritually anemic each time they meet...they seem more absurd yet dangerously cornered as they joyously/righteously persecute LGBT Anglicans/Christians and others worldwide...meanwhile back home in REALITY the entire Western Hemisphere and beyond, especially in PB Venables Argentina, WELCOMES EVERYONE into everyday life...full inclusion of other human beings is the beautiful and Christlike movement which oddly, comes more from our everyday brothers and sisters (both in and outside of the pews), friends and families rather than fear/hatemongering religious leaders preaching nasty sextalk.

    Unfortunately, the island of Jamaica, Province of West Indies (Drexel Gomez Covenant Chair), where the ACC will meet in May, has amongst the most dreadful record of HATE CRIMES in the World...in Jamaica, killing ¨fags¨ is ignored at Church and by the law.

    These boys at GAFCON are way off track.

  2. There's no indication that any "package" will be delivered to the ACC. If not, there will be no need of a"refusal", and no need of a "whatever". The Gafcon program is becoming clearer, ISTM, with the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK, clearly stating that it is not separatist. Mapping the US and Canadian situations onto other provinces as Mark does in his post. does not appear to be what Gafcon wants to do. All of the Primates Council (including its secretary) are determined to remain within the anglican Communion.
    Obadiah Slope

  3. All of the Primates Council (including its secretary) are determined to remain within the anglican Communion.¨

    Obadiah Slope

    Oh, Hark! It´s not NEWS that +Jensen can´t go anywhere and take the property with him...he´s explored the possibility and he knows, as do you, that the Australian Province has flawless Canons...he´s lucky to keep posturing along with this group of anti-LGBT windy fellows who are running out of air...clean air, gasp, gag...we must try and help them learn how to breathe deeply again...The Episcopal Church WELCOMES Everyone.

  4. Leonardo,
    Most of the world's Anglicans are evangelicals. Most of them don't see any need to leave the communion, however embarrassed they are by some provinces. I am sure many progressives feel the same way, too.
    The property trusts in the Anglican Church in Australia are established by acts of parliament, and all the title deeds are held by each diocese. That is tighter than the firmest of canons. So you are quite right, no-one is going nowhere in a hurry. OTOH each diocese has more independence than within the TEC (or CoE) polity.
    I have long differed with my evangelical counterparts in TEC on what the outcome of the court cases (outside of Virginia) are likely to be. So Leonardos point is not news to me. However it tends to be ignored on this site that the majority of congregations or parts of congregations leaving TEC have done so without property. Sooner or later all the property cases will be finished and I agree that TEC will win most if not all of them.
    That will leave some more fundamental issues for us to discuss.
    Are evangelicals seeking to be ministers really welcome in TEC and given equal access in the discernment process? Does TEC really welcome everyone? How many of you can say that your bishop would approve a conservative candidate? I know some of you can say yes, but not all of you. Bishops will have differing views about this. But without acess to conservative ministers, conservative pewsitters can't stay. This is where I entered the conversation at Jakes many years ago.

  5. Obadiah, I truly do understand you and I actually agree with you.

    We need to have churches that can minister to all God's people; not just those who are most like us and/or share our own viewpoint.

    I have been churchless for 7 years now, having moved into the deep south from New York City.

    There are 4 Episcopal churches that are within reasonable driving distance of my home and I cannot attend any one of them with any regularity.

    The sermons are nearly always driven by one of 2 subjects, in my experience, in this diocese:
    1. Republican politicians and policies are the Church's representatives and policies and we should do all we can to support them and demonize the liberals/Democrats.
    2. The liberals/Democrats are destroying the Episcopal Church, along with the gays and radical feminists and their supporters.

    This particular community is the ideal setting for IRD churches (we have several here): majority conservative, Republican, elderly, and wealthy (we are a retirement community, basically). They have not left TEC but I don't think that couldn't happen if ACNA becomes a legitimate province.

    This would definitely split these congregations asunder because, believe it or not, there are many people like me who share my views who are members. They just aren't presiding at the services or running the vestries.

    As a feminist, gay, liberal Democrat this makes it profoundly difficult for me to sit through a sermon and make it to the actual Eucharist in any kind of state of mind where I am fit to receive on any given Sunday, so I just don't go anymore and it leaves a huge hole in my life.

    I can empathize and appreciate the stance of conservatives who experience the same kinds of discomfort in some Episcopal Churches.

    The "liberal/Democrat" churches I attended in NYC had plenty of conservative/Republican members, people of all orientations, colors and walks of life, and the preaching focused on the readings and living in imitation of Christ and representing Christ to the world. There were things that we disagreed about politically and socially but we managed to keep that separate from our communal worship and that seemed to work quite nicely to keep us together at His table, Sunday after Sunday.

    It is unfortunate that we don't seem able to keep the focus on Christ and keep the politics out of the pulpits in all of our churches. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and render unto God that which is God's.

  6. Priscilla,
    I sympathise with your plight. There would be many things you might not like about the sort of evangelical Anglican church I attend, but being linked to right wing politics is not one of them.
    Outside of the US evangelicals are not welded to a political party. I suspect that most clergy in this evangelical diocese vote Labor. (Confusingly for Americans our conservative party is the Liberal party). At the last Federal Election, my Archbishop made it clear that christians should consider a wide range of issues in deciding who to vote for - thus rejecting the narrow "moral issues" stance of the new right and suggesting that the war in Iraq, the rights of workers or indigenous issues might be among the issues that christians consider.

  7. And again John Sandeman shows how little he knows about GAFCON/FCA and its goals.

    It is now 16 APR and the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council has spoken. (They appear to be a bit confused as to who they really are, so they mix their title in the communiqué.)1. They have assumed unto themselves the authority and "responsibility of recognizing and authenticating orthodox Anglicans." (Indeed a heavy and serious responsibility. But hey, someone has to do it. +Cantaur appears not up to the job!)And so taking this authority and responsibility seriously they have;

    2. Recognized "the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA."

    With #2 John, I would say that the "package" has been dispatched. And inside is the "whatever."

    John, they now also demonstrate that uncanny orthodite ability to simultaneously speak from both sides of their mouths. With the establishment of FCA they are not fomenting schism, but the resolute desire to remain securely in the bosom of the Anglican Communion. And yet with recognition of ACNA as a full Anglican Province they elevate schism to its highest attainable order.

    Let us see how quickly FCA-UK becomes the Anglican Church in the British Isles (ACBI). They have done it once now, the second time should be easier and in record time.

    BTW, I wonder why the ACNA bishops who foot the bill for GAFCON/FCA do not save money and host their puppets in their beloved Africa, instead of dragging them into the tempting, decadent West for these little tate a tates. Surely they could save some money, which could then wisely be put to their legal defenses over the properties which they have stolen.

  8. John (Obidiah),

    I think the issue is slightly more complex than you suggest. I think theological conservatives would have access to the priesthood in almost every diocese, but candidates whose theological conservatism rendered them unable to accept the authority of their bishop would not. What is frequently at issue in the Episcopal Church is not theological conviction, but political behavior resulting from theological conviction.

    That said, I think in many dioceses, priests whose beliefs put them in the theological minority encounter some difficulty in advancing their careers. This is true on both ends of the ideological spectrum, and I am not sure what can be done about it.

    Jim Naughton

  9. Jim,
    we are not far apart on our understanding of this issue. I see it as a more urgent and widespread problem than you do, I think, but that is to be expected. I should have mentioned the question of whether Bishops allow ministerial candidates to go to conservative seminaries. Once again some posters here could point to high profile progressive bishops that allow or encourage candidates to go to conservative seminaries, but others do not.
    It means that (some) conservative congregations will have trouble getting priests. At this point some form of seperation becomes inevitable. This issue of breath is not confined to the US of course.

    My comment was that no "package" will be delivered to the ACC, and it won't. The decisions by the Gafcon primates to recognise ACNA will not be delivered to the ACC for approval or permission.
    When Peter Jensen made the comment that the "giant of the Anglican Communion has been awakened" he meant that the large provinces of the Global South seeing that the unilateral acts of TEC cannot be reigned it by the communion, will act with similar freedom.
    The TEC claim to have acted with prophetic freedom, or in the spirit of Gamaliel, can be applied to the new structures being set up by Gafcon.
    Lets you and I watch to see what happens in Britain. I predict that people will hasten slowly. I don't think there is a native British taste for seperation as the John Stott model dominates Anglican evangelicals in that country. With some significant exceptions I think the London rather than Southwark model will dominate. But lets see.
    John Sandeman/ Obadiah Slope

  10. John Sandeman aka Obadiahslope from Oz says;
    The TEC claim to have acted with prophetic freedom, or in the spirit of Gamaliel, can be applied to the new structures being set up by Gafcon.Katie Silcox, Vice President Theology, Wycliffe Student Body says;
    The American Church's claim to be 'led by the Spirit' over and against the rest of the Church is not only arrogant, it is biblically and historically false (and it hints at a rather hegemonic view of the American Church's role in a Communion polity).When will all of you orthodites/evangelicals/conservatives all get on the same page with your story. You cannot all be correct. Either we are following the Spirit or we are not. And if we are not, how could you lot turn around and make the same claim?

  11. David,
    let me try to sort this out for you. Katie Silcox points to the unilateralism of TEC. It surprises me that you quote her on this.
    I pointed out that the prophetic or Gamaliel claims made for TEC could be made by the other side.
    Where Katie and I would agree I suspect is that both groups would need to be judged against scripture. and we would agree that TEC's claims are sadly, biblically false. Katie and I are on the same page.

    John Sandeman

  12. I pointed out that the prophetic or Gamaliel claims made for TEC could be made by the other side.You, the orthodites, reasserters/evangelicals/conservatives, could only make this claim, that your opposition to the welcoming of full participation of all the baptized is the leading of the Holy Spirit, if in all good faith you believe it to be true. And if you do, then Katie Silcox's claim could be hurled at you lot as well.

    Do you believe it to be true?We, meaning progressive Anglicans of any province, believe that the welcoming of full participation of all the baptized is the leading of the Holy Spirit. Period. Full stop.

  13. Forgive the untidy look of my last few comments. Blogger is doing some strange things with HTML tags!

    They Preview correctly, but get chewed up a bit after Mark has approved them.

  14. [Dahveed: I've noticed that, too. Wazzup w/ Blogger?]

    Where Katie and I would agree I suspect is that both groups would need to be judged against scripture. and we would agree that TEC's claims are sadly, biblically false.John/Ob, can you not see that this means NOTHING more than "judged by Katie and your interpretation of Scripture---judged by your opinions---judged by YOU two"

    Anthropomorphizing---well, make that personally deifying---a BOOK is more than a little ridiculous . . . and I don't for a *second* rate my ability to/love of "read, mark, learn and inwardly-digest"ing Scripture to anybody! (Well, I mean I try to---to God alone be any credit if I'm even half-way good or faithful at it)

    We BOTH read the Bible.
    We BOTH love the Bible.
    We BOTH prayerfully study the Bible.
    We BOTH try to apply the Bible, to our life situations...

    ...and we BOTH listen to the Tradition, of those who have done the same, before us, using whatever Reason God has given us.

    It would be *as easy* John/Ob, for me to hurl the charge that you and "the Family Firm" (Brothers Jensen) are "sadly, biblically false", as you do to me and TEC.

    But that's way too damn simplistic.

    We have to LIVE WITH the tensions of our differences. We don't get a pass to write each other off, just because we disagree.

  15. Dear JCF,
    In one post you characterise the evangelical view of the bible as "ridiculous", and yet say that "we have to live with the tensions of our differences".
    There's a contradiction there. This makes me sad, but there it is.


  16. Point taken, John 2007.

    But can you explain to me the phrase "judged against scripture" in a way that doesn't seem ridiculously biased? Who's doing the judging? By whose interpretation of Scripture?

    [Note: if the judge is THE Judge then, by the Mercy of Christ, THAT is a judgment I'm willing to live with!]

    It just seems to me that a phrase like "judged against scripture" gets us precisely NOWHERE, because it inevitably ends with schoolyard-like "Nuh-uh! Scripture supports US!" "No way, Scripture supports US!" recriminations.

    It's this frustating No-Win situation I find ridiculous, John 2007. Not anyone's faith...

    Lord have mercy!


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.