GAFCON continues to muck about...

On re-reading the GAFCON release concerning the revised standard schedule of events for the Global Anglican Future Conference I more closely examined the following: "An important Consultation in Jordan from 18-22 June will include the conference leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders. The Jerusalem pilgrimage will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land."

The logo for the conference is "truth / unity". It is hard to see how GAFCON is providing either.

The announcement states that the consultation (which one supposes is the Conference as previously described) will include conference leadership (list here), the theological resource group (photo to left), bishops from majority Islamic settings and other key leaders. The focus then seems to be at least in large part on bishops dealing with Islam. So they will meet and no doubt will address a variety of issues concerning Christian Islamic relations.

Following this they will, with perhaps some others, go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land - that is to Israel and Palestine. It's a short trip and, as I pointed out earlier, all within the Diocese of Jerusalem.
The Press Release suggested that "Participants will include bishops and their wives, key clergy and laity." My assumption is that this refers to participants in the Pilgrimage, the participants in the consultation having already been referenced.

So what we have is a conference on the Global Anglican Future that has become a Consultation of some sort related to Islam, followed by trooping over the river to Jerusalem where whatever news was generated from the consultation will be greeted with whatever responses might arise from within that complex and very volatile religious and political environment.

No wonder the Bishop of Jerusalem has been a bit hesitant about all this. When these folk go home to wherever the Bishop is still there and will have to take out the trash.

GAFCON grows as an embarrassment to Lambeth, to the Diocese of Jerusalem and its Bishop, to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to any sort of Anglican sense of mutual responsibility and interdependence in Christ.
Perhaps it could be canceled due to design flaws and inept leadership. Or, if it continues to unfold as planned, for lack of interest.


  1. "inept" leadership in second to last line.

    Ed Fordyce

  2. ed...got it. I'm not the only one who spells on the fly...it appears that blogger does too, since it took enept hook line and sinker (or is that stinker?)

  3. Unium? I thought it was unitas...? I am out of practice with Latin, but still....I am not remembering unity (unitas) declined in this way (pun intended)......

    I enjoy your blog --margaret watson

  4. I believe their only concern with Islam is how it might impact their selection of a location for (their) communion headquarters. Since all the turf is already spoken for, I think they will be looking for vulnerable, yet attractive targets for them to snap up.

  5. i do hope that's not their actual logo. The latin word for unity is "unitas." There is no word "unium", not even as a declension of some other word.

  6. yes, it is their actual logo. I've blogged about it here

  7. I majored in Classics and "unium" struck me as quite odd, but stranger things have happened. As far as I can tell (I checked Lewis & Short and Project Perseus) there ain't (and never was) no such word, at least not in Latin.

    I will say, however, that it is a good example of how reality can be reshaped at need to fit one's preconceptions. The authors have had some practice with this in other contexts ….

  8. I shudder to think what this batch of Donatist swchismatics could have accomplished had a single one of their leaders been the least bit competent.

  9. Margaret is entirely right.

    There is no proper Latin word "unium".

    Latin for "unity" is "unitas".

    There is a verb "unire" which means "to unite", but it has no form of "unium".

    My 2000-page Oxford Latin Dictionary tells me that the closest noun to "unium"is "unio" which, apparently, is a kind of onion! (grin)

  10. I too wondered as Margaret H Watson did, about the word "unium". It might of course be the genitive plural of "unio" - a word used only as far as I can see by Seneca, and meaning a single pearl.
    Or maybe my Latin is pretty rusty too.

  11. Well there we are, we all know the wrong wing has the best scholarship and a 2000 year tradition of the right answer!



  12. unio, the onion or pearl, is unio, unionis. Apparently it can mean unity. But the genitive plural is "unionum", and again, unium isn't a form of that word. (Nor would a genitive plural make sense in the context, which demands a nominative.)

  13. Well they are thinking about establishing their new church in Alexandria, so that's possibly the Islamic connection.

    I think they were trying for UNIO but needed an odd number of letters and hoped no one would notice.


  14. Yes, Thomas. I said my Latin is rusty. It's 50 years since I used it in anger.

    Anthony- wouldn't "unio" simply mean an onion? (Or pearl?) Still a bizarre motto.

    FWIW I seem to remember an onion is "unio" because it is one bulb, and not divided into several like a shallot or garlic. I wonder whether that was behind the thinking?

    Somehow, I doubt it: it seems a bit subtle for the GafConners.

  15. A friend, who's a better Latin scholar than I, thought that perhaps the middle "i" was intended to go only with "veritas." In that case, what they were trying to say would be "unum veritas" or "one truth." But "veritas" is feminine. So the proper Latin for "one truth" would be "una veritas."

  16. Yet another gaffe for GAFCON, I see.

    Perhaps it's a Medieval corrupted form meaning, "one born every minute."

  17. Cryptogram, the primary meaning for Latin UNIO is not pearl or onion, but union or unity. The senses of onion or pearl are derived from that. GAFCON would have fared better with UNITI, which means united, in the plural. It is the masculine form, but I suspect this would not have bothered them. Still, I do like Sheila's interpretation.

  18. I have noted the following elsewhere, in light of Nigerian and Draft Covenanter insistence on the 1662 BCP:

    The Preface to the Ordinal of 1662 (amended in 1964) requires facility 'in the Latin Tongue' even before mentioning knowledge of the Scripture.


  19. Anthony, you are quite correct, except that roots don't exist in isolation, except in the minds of lexicographers (harmless drudges that they be) or philologists. For your average Roman, "unio" was what sat on the market stall. Maybe for those a little further up the social ladder it was something in the jeweller's shop. Using it as a cod word simply shows ignorance, rather of the level of "Nil carborundum" - which has at least taught plenty of schoolboys what a gerund is, even though it isn't one.


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