GAFCON and ACNA do the Schismatic Two-Step

GAFON said at the 2017 spring meeting of their primates that were going to appoint a bishop for Europe, with particular attention to the British Isles. While they were figuring out just how to do this and who would be the bishop for this effort, another group (CESA) ordained Jonathan Pryke a bishop for similar purposes. One wonders what that is all about.

But now GAFCON has now decided to use the Anglican Church in North America as the vehicle for its efforts to introduce what it considers "true" Anglicanism to England and Europe. 

Now there will be two bishops beating the bushes in England and all of Europe, claiming to be true Anglicans but denying the ecclesiastical validity of the Anglican churches already there.

GAFCON and ACNA are involved in a schismatic two-step. 

Archbishop Foley of ACNA announced yesterday in Edinburgh, Scotland, that Canon Andy Lines will be ordained as GAFCON bishop

You can read his bio HERE.

Archbishop Foley stated,

"The GAFCON Primates have asked our Province, the Anglican Church in North America, to take on the task of providing a missionary bishop for Scotland. Our Province was formed at the direction of GAFCON 2008 after many of the Provinces of GAFCON had provided the same kind of oversight for clergy and congregations in North America. They have asked us to consecrate Canon Andy Lines."

"Our College of Bishops discussed and decided to accept this responsibility. Following the Canons of our Province, the Executive Committee of the Province was not only consulted, but also voted unanimously to support this endeavor. We also appointed an oversight Committee of Bishops to provide guidance and accountability for Canon Lines as he walks through our consecration process and to support him after he is consecrated a bishop. Archbishop Robert Duncan is chair of the committee which consists of three diocesan bishops: The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, The Rt. Rev. Charlie Master, and The Rt. Rev. David Hicks."

Two things to note from all this:

(i) ANCA makes the claim that the "Province of ACNA" was formed "at the direction of GAFCON 2008." ACNA makes this claim based on the fact that the Jerusalem Declaration states, "In particular, we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates’ Council." 

The Common Cause Partnership was before GAFCON 2008 "a province in the making" and many of its members were present at GAFCON. The notion that ACNA was formed "at the direction of GAFCON 2008" is a stretch. ACNA was formed at the direction of its own leadership, and in particular the leadership of Bishop Robert Duncan, deposed Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh.  To say that ACNA was formed at the direction of GAFCON 2008 makes it sound as if ACNA was a product of GAFCON. It was not.

(ii) Archbishop Duncan, now retired, is still in the mix. He is chair of the committee of bishops who will work with Lines. Duncan is back, and this time will be supporting the ministry of a ACNA bishop mucking about directly in the workings of the Scottish Episcopal, the Church of England and the CofE and TEC work in Europe.

GAFCON and ACNA are continuing to claim the moral high ground, referring again and again to the Lambeth 1998 resolution on sexuality (Resolution 1.10). Like the claim that ACNA was formed at the direction of GAFCON, the claim that Lambeth 1998:1.10 constitutes the established doctrine or discipline that is binding on the whole communion is just not true. It is not true even if the Windsor Report says so, or the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion says so. Lambeth was constituted as an instrument for sharing in a fellowship already established and signaled by being in communion with the See of Canterbury. It is not a binding deliberative body.

Proof of this is that ten years earlier Lambeth 1988 passed resolution 72 on "Epsicopal Responsibilities and Diocesan Boundaries." It too was assumed by many to be binding on all Anglican churches in the Communion. It stated,

"This Conference:
1. reaffirms its unity in the historical position of respect for diocesan boundaries and the authority of bishops within these boundaries; and in light of the above
2. affirms that it is deemed inappropriate behaviour for any bishop or priest of this Communion to exercise episcopal or pastoral ministry within another diocese without first obtaining the permission and invitation of the ecclesial authority thereof.
3. urges all political and community leaders to seize every opportunity to work together to bring about a just and peaceful solution."

Lambeth 1988, Resolution 72, stands just as Lambeth 1998, Resolution 1.10 , as the resolved position of the Communion. The Windsor Report (section 155) called for a moratorium on actions contrary to Lambeth 1988, Resolution 72 just as it did on actions contrary to Lambeth 1998, 1.10.

But neither resolution is binding.

ACNA and GAFCON have regularly disregarded this resolution on the grounds that The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and now the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of England have fallen away from the true faith.

GAFCON and ACNA are now dancing the schismatic two-step in Scotland and England.  The Archbishop of Canterbury has to speak up, and quickly, to stop the dance. The objection is not about the binding nature of Lambeth 1988 resolution 72 or Lambeth 1998, 1.10,  but about the reality that GAFCON and ACNA are mucking about because they believe that the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of England are corrupted by a false gospel.  If so, they are out of communion with those churches, as they are with TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada.

The rupture in the Anglican Communion now consists of a breach of trust and boundary crossing between some member churches of the communion, and some faux Provinces (ACNA) and the Church of England itself, whose relationships of full communion define which churches are part of the Anglican Communion. It must now be addressed as an internal matter for the Church of England. 

This is no longer a matter for the Anglican Consultative Council, or the Primates, or the Lambeth Conference. This is a matter for the Church of England and its Primates. 

The Episcopal Church owes much to the Scottish Episcopal Church and we need to stand by and with the SEC. In addition we too have churches in Europe and they are subject to raiding parties from  ACNA and GAFCON as well. It is important that we stand with vigilance against the possibilities of ACNA and GAFCON incursion into the life of various of our parishes in Europe.

But most importantly, it is time for the Archbishop of Canterbury to act and separate the Church of England from communion with those who call the CofE morally compromised.  Now the CofE is itself being taken to task, and as well the Scottish Episcopal Church. ACNA and GAFCON have come to Europe and are out to finally bring the war home to Mother.

There are now two world wide organizations, the one called the Anglican Communion, is "fellowship, within the one holy catholic and apostolic church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury."(Lambeth 1930).  The other is The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans" organized as the GAFCON primates and their provinces together with certain regional bodies which they consider provinces or provinces in the making.  The two are increasingly adversarial. And GAFCON / ACNA have now moved further into an offensive posture.

It is time to call them to account. It is time to ask, "Are you in communion with the See of Canterbury or not?"


  1. Correction: The name is the Scottish Episcopal Church.

  2. John... Thanks for the correction...made.


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