The decision now rests with the Archbishop of Canterbury who invites bishops to Lambeth, and the Anglican Consultative Council who keeps a "schedule" of representatives and names the churches who belong to the council to decide just who is deemed to be part of the Communion and for what purpose. There are two lists that count: The ACC schedule and the Church of England's record of churches in communion with Canterbury (and the CofE), published at the end of the CofE canons.
Thus it is possible for one church not to be in communion with another, or in "impaired" communion with another, and both be in communion with the See of Canterbury and part of the Anglican Consultative Council's list of member churches of the Anglican Communion.
The GAFCON leadership knows this. Thus the statement by the Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, the GAFCON continuing organization:
"...we are painfully aware that the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada continue to promote a false gospel and yet both are still received as in good standing by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Furthermore, the Church of England itself, the historic mother church of the Communion, seems to be advancing along the same path. While defending marriage, both the Archbishops of York and Canterbury appeared at the same time to approve of same-sex Civil Partnerships during parliamentary debates on the UK’s ‘gay marriage’ legislation, in contradiction to the historic biblical teaching on human sexuality reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference."
GAFCON primates have declared themselves out of communion with ACoC and TEC. They understand full well that breaking communion with any other province of the Anglican Communion does not mean they have broken with the Anglican Communion itself. But Archbishop Wabukala indicated in his letter that there may be problems of communion with Canterbury.
The Archbishop of Kenya wrote:
"The need to take action to establish a clear and undiluted biblical witness to Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit is very great. We will gather (at the next meeting of GAFCON) to proclaim the gospel with clarity and confidence and set in place structures that will facilitate rather than frustrate that great aim. The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008 gave us our biblical basis and in the Jerusalem Statement we spoke prophetically of three ‘undeniable facts’:
1. ‘The acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’.’
2. ‘The declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel.’
3. ‘The manifest failure of the Communion Instruments (its international institutions) to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy.’
The ACoC and TEC have a "different gospel. The churches of the Global South (GAFCON folk) have broken communion with them. The Instruments of Communion do not work. And now, relations with the CofE are at a breaking point.
"The need to take action" may now include the need by GAFCON to break with the Church of England. That break will mean that GAFCON churches are no longer part of the Anglican Communion, since they are not in communion with the See of Canterbury.
Is GAFCON poised to break with Canterbury? Is that the action needed, in the Archbishop's mind?
And what will that mean in terms of the Anglican Communion? If a member church breaks, not with another member church, but with Canterbury, does that automatically exclude them from involvement in the various activities of the Communion? And will the ACC have to acknowledge that these provinces are not any longer in communion with the See of Canterbury, and part of the "schedule?"
And, since GAFCON primates have already begun to distance themselves from meetings where the ACoC or TEC are present, will any of this make any difference?
GAFCON II may be a rattling of swords, but it may also be the occasion for a formal exit of some Provinces in the Global South from the Anglican Communion.
It will be the end of the Anglican Communion as we have know it in its floundering times, and perhaps the continuation of the Anglican Communion as a communion of churches informed by the rise of the Church of England (as opposed to the Church in England), itself a product of modernity. This could be a good thing for which the wringing of hands and the screeches of the righteous unnecessary.
The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans - See more at: http://gafcon.org/news/july-message-from-archbishop-eliud-wabukala/#sthash.9aT021U7.dpufArchbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans