New Improved Neo Fundamentalist Anglican Communion calls a meeting.

On or about Christmas 2007 a mixed bag of ecclesiastical leaders gave the Anglican Communion a present: A brand new website proclaiming "Global Anglican Future: Pilgrimage to our Roots," whose purpose is give a web home to a conference with a slightly different title "Global Anglican Future Conference: A Gospel of Power and Transformation" to be held in the Holy Land (place unspecified) in June 2008.

Predictions of such a meeting have been going around the Communion for the last year or so. Now we have the reality.

The purpose of the meeting, according to the web site's page on
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is this:

"We are looking to the future of the Global Anglican Communion, which is itself a pilgrimage. Those who want to hold on to the Biblical and Historical faith need to come together to renew their faith and develop a fresh vision for our common mission. ......
The conference will outline the mission imperatives for the next 25 years for orthodox Anglicans. It is important therefore to reconnect with our roots in the biblical story."

The FAQ includes the following, regarding the relation between this conference, known as GAFCON and the Lambeth Conference:

"Is it not really an alternative to the Lambeth Conference?


It is not at the same time or in the same region as the Lambeth Conference. So there will be some who will attend both conferences and thus be able to consult with the Archbishop of Canterbury and others there.

As Archbishop Gregory Venables has said: “While there are many calls for shared mission, it clearly must rise from common shared faith. Our pastoral responsibility to the people we lead is now to provide the opportunity to come together around the central and unchanging tenets of the central and unchanging historic Anglican faith. Rather than being subject to the continued chaos and compromise that have dramatically impeded Anglican mission, GAFCON will seek to clarify God’s call at this time and build a network of cooperation for Global mission.”

GAFCON is a call to vision and action for mission based firmly on the “faith once delivered to the saints” and revealed in Scripture, to reform the church and transform persons, communities and societies through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. African Bishops had this focus at their Lagos 2004 conference. The Episcopal church’s agenda has recently overshadowed it. We now need to develop this gospel agenda for all like-minded in the communion.

It is to outline the mission imperatives for the next 25 years and how to begin to respond to them.

It is a pilgrimage to the places of the Biblical story to renew our faith and commitment. It is to envision the Global Anglican Future.

The Lambeth Conference has a different agenda."

The FAQ answer to the question of GAFCON being an alternative to Lambeth is 'NO." And of course they are right. It is not an alternative, it is a means of dismantling whatever role the Lambeth Conference has as one of the instruments of Communion. It is, in other words, an instrument of exclusion and breaking of communion.

GAFCON is about building an alternative Anglican Communion leadership, priorities, agenda and demands. They could care less about being an alternative to the Lambeth Conference.The salient point of this FAQ is this little notation: "there will be some who will attend both conferences and thus be able to consult with the Archbishop of Canterbury and others there."

The scenario is fairly obvious: GAFCON will meet, issue a communique, ramp up the power, and some of those attending GAFCON will put on their spiritual prophylactics and head off to Lambeth to "consult with the Archbishop of Canderbury and others there."

I have no doubt that those who go to Lambeth to consult will not go to participate but to demand. And their demands will look oh so Christian. After all they will have just been on a pilgrmage with like minded Anglicans from all over the world.

It will be of some interest to see who is invited to GAFCON and who does the inviting.

The leadership group making the press release consisted of the following who met in Nairobi the week before Christmas:

"At the meeting were 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. These leaders represent over 30 million of the 55 million active Anglicans in the world.

All men of course, and all ordained and mostly bishops. They represent collectively the most vocal leadership of "The New Improved Neo Fundamentalist Anglican Communion."

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America, (CANA) has argued in the courts in Virginia that there are two Anglican Communion entities. They argued that the two are: "those that relate to all provinces that relate to the See of Canterbury, and those that relate only to those who are understood as adhering to the historic faith, doctrine, and discipline of the Anglican Communion. ... The Church of Nigeria, with which the CANA Congregations have affiliated, is the principal leader of this new branch."

GAFCON is the international meeting of the second of these entities, self-described by CANA as "adhering to the historic faith doctrine, and discipline of the Anglican Communion." They of course will determine who adheres and how.

The web site, whose writers simply cannot get away from using the stock phrase "the faith once delivered to the saints," includes a pictorial list of the leadership.
It is clear that this leadership group has not the slightest interest in the Anglican Communion as currently organized as a fellowship of churches. What it wants is an organization that excludes all but the faithful and true and is organized with leadership that gives obedience to its patriarchs.

GAFCON will go down in the history of the Anglican Communion as the foundational meeting of a new communion. Since the current one, the Anglican Communion is already peopled with a wide variety of church folk GAFCON will either have to take over, kicking the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and a wide variety of other churches out, or start a world-wide Church of its own.

We should have no doubts, however. The present brought to us this Christmas by this leadership group is rotten. GAFCON may succeed in its purposes, but the gaffe in GAFCON is that it is indeed the work of con artists.


  1. I posted the following on Stand Firm but I believe it applicable here. In response to b.b.'s comment that there were no women mentioned on this organizers list and concern for no lay people:

    "b.b. Yes, where are the women and the lay people? And, equally true, where are the theologians? In the civil realm the organizers of this group would most likely be called lobbyists or politicians. It is important to remember that +Akinola’s earned degree from VTS is a MTS ...a master’s in theology and society and a curriculum heavily weighted to social and political concerns, not hermeneutics or exegesis.

    The group, +Atwood, Anderson +Minns +Guernsey etc. is also co-terminus with the recipients of the Allison Barfoot Memo of 2004. They are self-nominated and elected by no one. They have been working to establish a critical mass of the “orthodox” for years and a communion based on orthodoxy, not relationship.

    This conference is just one more step. They will invite those whom they have decided are orthodox...(will the line be set at homosexuality or women’s ordination?) and who will be discerning saints from sinners? CANA has already claimed in a US court that the “division” has taken place and Canterbury leads a branch of communion based on relationship and Nigeria, that of orthodoxy so it might be assumed that +Akinola and Nigeria (aka +Minns, +Anderson with help from Sugden) will be making the orthodoxy decision?

    The agenda of the meeting? I believe: 1. to establish parallel instruments of communion for this “branch” as those of Canterbury. 2. To count heads to determine if Lambeth can be dominated
    If Lambeth can be dominated: 3. To determine an agenda and strategy for its implementation. including a fast track implementation of the draft covenant transferring virtually all authority to the primates, the instrument of communion that the GS has the best chance to dominate. 4. If Lambeth can not be dominated, announce the formation of the new orthodox communion...as already argued as existant by the CANA attorneys.

    The FAQ’s on the news do not address who is to be invited to this event or who is paying for it. Sugden+ and +Anderson both have funds from Ahmanson or Ahmanson related foundations. +Anderson’s budget is circa 500K? and he, in his recent fundraising letter seeking 150K from ordinary folks (not close to his budget) has promised that the AAC will be at all functions working for the orthodox or, if not invited, close by)
    [43] Posted by EmilyH on 12-26-2007 at 10:08 AM"

    Ironically, there has been only one response...agreeing that he would not have chosen my words about the purpose for the meaning, he agreed that it was pretty much right. EmilyH

  2. The conference will outline the mission imperatives for the next 25 years for orthodox Anglicans.

    I guess they know some things about the next 25 years that the rest of us don't. . .

  3. as my bishop says, 'I'd like to see the receipt that was given when the orthodox faith was delivered to the saints.' Phonies.

  4. I was going to say, "Can we call it GAFFE for short?" but it is, indeed, not a gaffe, but quite intentional.

  5. I wonder just where in the Holy Land they are planning to meet; in the Israeli Holy Land or the Palestinian (Hamas or Fatah) Holy Land? Perhaps they will meet in a country that is again coming apart with sectarian hatred, Lebanon. Or maybe they might prefer a country where ideological unanimity is clear and strictly enforced, like Syria. They should find either familiar.
    Whatever. They will have their noses so buried in their Bibles that they read so very literally, that they will be completely blind to the reality that is playing out all around them.

  6. I found it striking that the "Chicago Consutation" and the "Nairobi Consultation" met within a few weeks of each other (and chose the same name).
    ENS reported that " Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago December 5-7 to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church."
    And "The members also began to develop strategies to advance the cause of full inclusion at the Lambeth Conference in 2008"
    You coud write a similar story about the nairobi consultation by including the word "Not' in the Chicago coverage....
    Richard comments abover that "I guess they know some things about the next 25 years that the rest of us don't. . ." That to my thibking corresponds to some of the comments Mark makes here. I don't know if the proposed GAFCON meeting will mark the beginnings of a new Anglican Communion or what i suspect is a possibility Mark (and Richard perhaps) would like less, the emergence of a strong conservative caucus within the AC.
    Concievably it might do both. Some GAFCON members may go on to Lambeth in such numbers as to form a solid conservative voice, even as others stay away.


  7. The split has come for real and I for one am overjoyed. Let's quit pretending we can get along. We believe in a different way of living out our faith. It is not based on a new gospel or work of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the Americans we can say the way to God is through Jesus. TEC has become just another United Nations service board which only gives .5 of one percent of their budget to MDG's. All talk and no mention of Christ and the gospel. But then why should they convert anyone if being a Muslim and Christian are the same.

  8. binx - must you be so crude and offensive? How does your comment reflect and glorify the God of radically inclusive love you so much like to speak about? Please remember at all times that you are referring to our brothers and sisters in Christ.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, 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.