Tuesday, 1 January 2008

update on GAFCON

Updated Tuesday afternoon

Reactions to the GAFCON announcement continue to appear.

George Conger had an article in the Jerusalem Post Anglicans choose Jerusalem for key June conference.

Changing Attitude issued a press release: Changing Attitude responds to the GAFCON announcement.

And there is a report on Sydney Anglicans titled Future Anglicans Unite.

Bishop David Anderson of CANA and the AAC, had this to say about it in his weekly email:

Orthodox Primates with other leading bishops from across the globe are inviting fellow Bishops, senior clergy and laity from every province of the Anglican Communion to a unique eight-day event in Jerusalem, to be known as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) 2008. This GAFCON event, which was agreed upon at a meeting of Primates in Nairobi a few weeks ago, will give the orthodox Anglicans from around the world the opportunity to gather, to learn, to take counsel together and to go forward equipped to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a world sitting in the shadow of unbelief. The gathering will be in the form of a pilgrimage back to the roots of the Church’s faith: thus this journey begins with a pilgrimage.

The first thing that springs to my mind is the planning necessary to accommodate all the people who will want to come. I remember the summer of 2003 when Canon David Roseberry and I had planned a small gathering of church leaders at his church near Dallas, to take place after the General Convention in Minneapolis and to be jointly hosted by Christ Church, Plano, and the American Anglican Council. As people heard of the gathering, more wanted to come, so we upped our estimated attendance several times. Finally, as a number of unfaithful and unholy decisions were made by the General Convention of TEC, the rallying cry of the orthodox became, “See you in Plano,” and David Roseberry and I had to begin to think really big. Hurting people who wanted to be hopeful came, bishops, priests and deacons and laity came, over 2000 in all. Over 800 clergy were vested in the great procession in the Eucharist. A note of encouragement from Cardinal Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict, was read by Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh. Plano became a term and Plano II and Plano West happened as people took the hope and enthusiasm back home to their areas. The relentless grinding down of the orthodox members by the Episcopal Church, the subsequent departures and planned departures, the law suits and litigation, the depositions and deceit of TEC have all taken their toll, and many of our faithful Anglicans in North America are hungry and hopeful.

Could Jerusalem 08 (GAFCON) be more than a simple gathering of the faithful? Might this meeting be on a global scale what Plano was in the USA: the crystallization of the future; the future taking form and substance in our midst, and bringing us forward into a reality shaped and formed by the Holy Spirit of God? What might God do with Jerusalem 08 and GAFCON?

Tuesday afternoon update
Riazat Butt has published an article on the Guardian website Conservative Anglicans plan rebel summit.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 2:11pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Interesting that they are beginning to position themselves alongside the American Right in support for Israel. The "He Who Pays the Piper" principle in action? Might this be a reason why Presiding Bishop Anis and Bishop Dawani of Jerusalem seem less than totally committed to GAFCON?

"The Jerusalem meeting will not be a rival to the Lambeth Conference." The "Big Lie" principle is certainly alive and well.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 3:19pm GMT

The posting by Changing Attitude aptly describes the hypocrisy of the entire evo con and/or realignment enterprise. To wit,

"The participation of Bishop Wallace Benn puts him in an invidious position. He is a bishop in a diocese with one of the largest numbers of gay priests in England. Many of these priests are also partnered and sexually active.

Is Bishop Benn aware that he ministers among and to large numbers of gay priests and lay people?

If he is not, then he is naïve and his clergy are successfully hiding their sexuality and their relationships from him; his pastoral relationship with his clergy will be deficient in one of the most important areas of pastoral concern - the love people have for one another and the expression of love in intimate relationships. Bishop Benn will not know the truth about his own clergy.

If he is aware of his gay clergy, then he is compromised. He has allied himself with Primates and bishops who are opposed to the ordination and ministry of partnered lesbian and gay clergy. He is committed to Issues in Human Sexuality, Lambeth 1.10 and the House of Bishop’s Guidelines on Civil Partnerships but he fails to act against his own clergy who reject the advice of these documents.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has lesbian and gay clergy in his own diocese of Rochester and will be subject to the same compromise and judgement. If he knows who his lesbian and gay clergy are, he does nothing to discipline them. If he does not know who they are, he fails them pastorally."

Posted by: John Henry on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 3:25pm GMT

"What might God do with Jerusalem '08 and GAFCON?"

Yawn, likely.

I would remind the writer the that lawsuits over TEC property in Virginia were initiated by the departed Africans - indeed, simulteously filed the morning after the votes to leave by the various congregations. What a coincidence! Each congregation had hired legal counsel and had prepared the filings, I suppose, 'just in case' the vote was to depart.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 4:03pm GMT

Whilst I have general agreement Changing Attitude piece, a lot of this is way over hopeful and surely misinterprets key points, especially:

"Canon Chris Sugden states: “While [GAFCON] is not a specific challenge to the Lambeth Conference, it will provide opportunities for fellowship and care for those who have decided not to attend Lambeth.” ...It is a significant change of strategy from the original claim that they would boycott Lambeth if The Episcopal Church bishops were invited."

No, there is a deliberate combination of underplay and difference in this new Conference, because it is not another Lambeth - it is a launch party. Another difference is its pilgrimage. There are those whose bishops are not recognised at Lambeth who specifically won't turn up - some want to but the Church of Nigeria has its own processes. But the GAFCON is not a mirror image.

The launch party cannot be for just bishops, because it has to include Chris Sugden at the helm. Also there may not be enough bishops: 'Add personnel, look more representative.' More so: 'Be more Reformation - be more appealing to "believers" (than "Communion").'

Think of a launch party organised by Reform and the Church Society, with just a nod or two to the dogma of Anglo-Catholics.

As for Changing Attitude regarding Lambeth 2008: ask if Lambeth would have sold the LGBT community down the river in order to appeal to these party launchers and near, as did the Advent Letter. I think you'll find the answer is yes. That Advent Letter sold many down the river, who might then say, "Ah but don't take it at face value."

It is all very grubby.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 4:04pm GMT

David Anderson's piece shows the ambition at least.

"the future taking form and substance in our midst, and bringing us forward into a reality"

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 4:13pm GMT

BBC Radio 4 are about to broadcast an interview with PB KJS:


Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 5:33pm GMT

PB Katharine is just a fine steady hand at the plow during all this hoo-ha. Thank goodness for her leadership.

GAFCON is an internal realignment campaign test to see just what the new puritans can actually get up to - and the really big question is: Can they unite in something besides scapegoating outsiders? Do the new puritans always need targets to glue them together on their pilgrim ways? By all neutral reports, African believers have plenty on their church life agenda besides dogging western democracies and non-African Anglican provinces for failing to properly hunt down and punish their queer citizens.

The realignment campaign is like a lot of other unsolicited emails from Nigeria - full of big talk, promising really big things, and just out to steal the whole treasure house of worldwide Anglican identity for shadowy use later in fraudulent but quite profitable side transactions. Infringing the historic Anglican brand name by collapsing it so exclusively to nothing but its new puritan parts is just one dubious (and business unethical?) ploy among many others.

How this finally plays out in England will be one tipping point as Reform and AngMain make their hostile take-over moves, claiming a New Jerusalem foundation?

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 5:56pm GMT

I listened to the interview on another blog and would like to say to the BBC and everyone else who seems unable after all these years to remember it: TEC bishops are ELECTED not appointed.

They are ELECTED by the clergy and laity of their dioceses. These ELECTIONS are consented to either by mail [Bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committes, consisting of ELECTED priests and laity] or, if the ELECTION comes within X days of General Convention [I am too lazy to look the number up in Constitution and Canons], then the ELECTION is consented to at General Convention.

Got it? ELECTED.

Is this a perfect way to find Bishops? Probably not. It got us Schofield, Dunkin', and Iker, after all.

The only perfect way to find a bishop,I guess, would be as in the early church, when the Holy Spirit would sometimes send a dove to light on some unsupecting person's head.

Maybe Monty Python could do something with that: The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove pooped on his head! Make him a bishop! NO! It was a seagull! What does that make him?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 6:32pm GMT

They are driven to create their new global communion. I don't think it is possible to stop them, and I don't think it is appropriate to stop them.

It is better that they be what they are openly and honestly and in honest and open alliances with compatible souls.

We would never want anyone to pretend to be something other than what they are, nor would we want people to not manifest their affections and preferences.

It is better that they be honest and open about who they are and what they stand for, it enables others to make a choice if that is what they want to become and how they want to relate to them and each other.

My hope is for at least one form of an honest communion that avoids the extremes and risks of excessive laisez-faire or puritanism.

Ecclesiastes 7:16 to 8:1 "Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise — why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool — why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes … There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins... This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes. Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 7:30pm GMT

Only a week and its all starting to come apart just read the Bishop of Egypt's concerns on Virtue on line.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 8:42pm GMT

Please, any more comments about the BBC interview should be made on the new article now published that is devoted to that subject.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 10:29pm GMT

Bishop Venables of the Southern Cone has been posting as "Gregory" on Stand Firm to the effect that the hardline primates won't be at Lambeth and the liberals are going to win the battle for the Anglican Communion because (he says) most of the Global South has lost interest in Lambeth now.

His posts start at http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/8802/#165154

The StandFirmers sound gloomy, but it is surely right that part of Dr Poon's complaint about GAFCON is that American conservatives are calling the shots and everyone is fed up with them - including conservatives in the Global South.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 11:27pm GMT

It is remarkable that so many GAFCON bishops seem to have an American or English eminence grise handling the public relations. I wonder if so much of the NeoCon money that is pouring into right-wing Anglican organizations is part of a larger ambition to create a grand global alliance of apocalyptic Christian fundamentalism, supremacist political ideology, and corporate plutocracy. The Global South conservatives may be right to be suspicious.

Posted by: counterlight on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 3:07am GMT

OK - I teach English literature at an American university - my day job - but I give up [and it's too late at night for me to do research] - so what's the difference between 'while' and 'whilst' in the two examples below?

1. "Whilst I have general agreement Changing Attitude piece, a lot of this is way over hopeful and surely misinterprets key points,"

2. While I don't generally hold with burning people at the stake, I could make an exception...
[That's one I made up. - C]

I am quite aware that 'while' can also mean 'during the time that,' as in, "While shepherds washed their socks by night..."

Elucidation please.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 4:41am GMT

"Interesting that they are beginning to position themselves alongside the American Right in support for Israel." ---Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 3:19pm GMT

You misunderstand American politics. It is not the Right alone that supports Israel. It is the entire political spectrum and the huge majority of American people. Support for Israel is as ordinary in America as support for Canada or Great Britain or NATO. It has nothing much to do with religious preference. Among those running for President, it includes every candidate from Obama on the left, to Huckabee the populist, to Thompson on the right. The US is no more likely to change its policy on Israel than it is to change its policy on Wales.

Posted by: Andrew on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 7:32am GMT

Not that I'm an expert but when I learnt English I was taught that whilst means "for as long as", wheras "while" means however, during, at the same time.

Not sure that's correct as it would make your #1 wrong.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 11:38am GMT

Cynthia said
I am quite aware that 'while' can also mean 'during the time that,'

And in Yorkshire it can mean 'until' - hence the great Goole Docks disaster when someone posted a sign saying 'Do not use this walkway while bridge is open'.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 1:45pm GMT

Andrew said that support for Israel is not limited to a right-wing religious agenda in the US.

I think lapin's thought may be more on the lines of the Darbyite (again!) theological impetus behind the Right's support for Israel, which means that it is exempted from the possibility of rejection/moral censure regardless of what it might do in terms of human rights violations etc - because the re-emergence of a Jewish state is one of the necessary markers on the way to the Parousia. To oppose Israel is not therefore about anti-semitism or anti-Zionism in this camp - it is about opposing the plans of God.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 1:48pm GMT

I would appreciate a joint statement on this from John Hind - Bishop of Chichester, and Wallace Benn and Lindsay Urwin, his two suffragan bishops, to see what collegial line there is even within the diocese in which Wallace Benn serves.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 3:10pm GMT

I have lived in the United States for more than 35 years, Andrew, so I am well aware of the uncritical, across the board support that Israel enjoys in Washington. One of our 100 senators is a man whose only certain political allegiance appears to be to Israel. But the re-establishment of a Jewish state is of strong theological importance to the substantial bloc of the American Christian Right that believes that its creation is a prerequisite for the Apocalypse and the Second Coming. This group is therefore totally uncritical in its support, even though, paradoxically, it holds that unconverted Jews will be damned at the Second Coming. Right-wing support of Israel - by no means all of it fundamentalist Christian - was a strong factor in the US invasion of Iraq and in the continuing support that it enjoys on Capitol Hill.

Question, for those of paranoid bent: what so-far unnoticed interests might be involved on the periphery of the current mess?

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 3:21pm GMT

"Interesting that they are beginning to position themselves alongside the American Right in support for Israel." ---Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 1 January 2008 at 3:19pm GMT

After all, many of them are millenarians. Armageddon is coming. Hence no interest in social justice issues; after all, the poor suffer as part of the great tribulation, and God wills their suffering. Their focus before the end-time is therefore entirely on "purity issues".

Posted by: John Henry on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 3:34pm GMT

To Cynthia,
I am an American priest working in the C-of-E, so I hear 'whilst' quite often. The dictionary (Shorter Oxford English) says it was an alternative to while in both its meanings, though it is now obsolete in the sense of 'during'. Some Brits use it a lot, others not at all. At least those are my observations.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 4:10pm GMT

Wow... Dr. Poon's incisive criticisms of GAF(FE)CON(JOB) have now been joined by salvoes launched by the Bishop in Jerusalem and even by the indisputably conservative Primate of Jersualem and the Middle East. See:


The neo-Puritans' gaffes and the cons just keep getting exposed to daylight! Ya just gotta love how the Holy Spirit works in His/Her way, in His/Her own time.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 5:23pm GMT
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