Tuesday, 24 April 2012

GAFCON proposes to reorganise the Anglican Communion

Ed Malnick set out the background to this event a week ago in the Sunday Telegraph Traditionalist Anglican leaders to meet over homosexual bishops ‘crisis’.

This weekend, the BBC Sunday radio programme interviewed the Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen (go here for a podcast the interview starts about 10 minutes into the programme).

And the BBC reported Leaders of a dissident Anglican movement meet in UK.

The meeting opened yesterday. There is a press release, and the full text of the keynote address:

John Bingham explains in the Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury to lose worldwide Anglican role under traditionalist plans.

A coalition of bishops and leaders from Africa, the Americas and Australasia said it was time for a “radical shift” in how the church is structured away from models of the “British Empire”.

They criticised what they called “revisionist attempts” to abandon basic doctrines on issues such as homosexuality and “turn Christianity merely into a movement for social betterment” during Dr Williams’s tenure.

And they said it was now clear that the leadership in England had failed to hold the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion together, leaving it in “crisis”.

They spoke out as 200 clergy and laity from 30 countries gathered in London to discuss what they called the “present crisis moment” in the church…

And this:

…They also outlined plans for an overhaul of church structures, replacing the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the worldwide Anglican primates with an elected chair.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, leader of Kenya’s 13 million Anglicans, said there needed to be a “radical shift” in how the church is run.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the leader of 23 million Anglicans in Nigeria, said that while the historic position of the Archbishop of Canterbury would always be respected he should be seen as “one of” many primates.

Likening the overhaul to the way in which the Commonwealth now elects its leadership, he said: “It is the same thing, the church of independent countries – no longer the British Empire – must make some changes.”

He went on: “It is not something that should remain permanent that the Archbishop of Canterbury – whether he understands the dynamics in Africa or not – remains the chair and whatever he says, whether it works or not, is an order.

“No I think if we are to move forward we have to reconsider that position.”

He added: “At the moment it seems that the Church in England isn’t carrying along everybody in the Communion and that is why of course you can see that there is a crisis, so if we must solve the problem we must change our system.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 9:13am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Shockingly Predictable.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 10:14am BST

This is what you get when you try to boost Canterbury's authority--a demand that more authority for any central figure must come with concomitant legitimacy.

If Lambeth had been clearer, earlier, that Anglicanism is nothing more than a family of independent churches, the GAFCON proposal would not look as reasonable as it does.

It's only when the "spiritual head" of the Communion really doesn't matter, that it doesn't matter who he is, and the non-English in the Communion can tolerate the special role for Canterbury.

Start giving Canterbury power, and then it can't be Canterbury any longer.

Are you clear on this, Canon Kearon?

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 10:42am BST

Politicking and power playing.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 10:46am BST

I don't believe that such a job as 'chair' of the Anglican Communion exists. ABC is primus inter pares, which I've always understood literally: he's first, but equal with other primates. Wabukala and Okoh have equal responsibility for the Anglican Communion as Williams, but they are the ones who have created parallel structures and conferences, while also seeking more centralised control in the Communion. All this talk of structural change is a red herring: they simply want to have a conservative bishop issue diktats and excommunications.

It bears repeating that sexuality is not a central nor basic doctrine of the church, nor has it ever been — creeds (nothing), articles (nothing), scripture (meagre). Take the plank out of your own eye first!

Posted by: Gareth Hughes on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 12:05pm BST

Cocky little group are nt they ?

And yet this is just their American policy writ large - in grasp. Small spirit.

How they hate lesbian and gay people.

Carey has a lot to answer for.

Williams' sacrifices of gays have gone for nothing.

Should these hate mongers actually be allowed into UK, breaking as they do our most basic hate and equality legislation ?

Will they be arrested ?


Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 1:03pm BST

'They spoke out as 200 clergy and laity from 30 countries gathered in London to discuss'..

a force to be reckoned with !

Avignon all over ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 1:22pm BST

Then there was the group of disaffected Episcopalians (even a bishop or two) a few years ago that tried to trademark the legal name of TEC and then leave. They thought they could become TEC by stealing our name and passing themselves off as the "true" church. We took them to court and they lost. These same folks are now part of the group that would "steal" the Anglican Communion. I sure hope the Anglican Consultative Council and the corporation formed in England to make the Proposed Anglican Covenant possible make sure they have firm hold on the names and the corporation itself. Our experience here in North America is that our disagreeing brothers and sisters will stop at nothing to have their own way.

Posted by: Tom Downs on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 1:39pm BST

Archbishop Jensen can then remove his diocese of Sydney from the Anglican Church of Australia, while claiming to remain in the "true" Anglican church. This should (unfortunately) allow him to retain the fortune held by the wealthy Diocese of Sydney.

Posted by: Richard on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 3:56pm BST

In the statement made at the outset of the American Civil War, attributed both to Winfield Scott & to Horace Greeley, "Let the wayward sisters depart in piece". Assume Gafcon's shenanigans will be a chess piece in the ABC stakes. Will lead candidates dissociate themselves?

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 4:13pm BST

"If we were facing a merely institutional problem, then we would have expected that the heavy investment made in Anglican Covenant would have brought a resolution. But now with the rejection of the Covenant, even in the Church of England itself, it is obvious that institutional remedies for the crisis have failed and that the problems we face are far too deep seated to be dealt with by merely managerial and organizational strategies." Archbishop Eliud Wabukala's keynote address.

I find myself in agreement with the author of these words. At least, putting aside the political spin, it's true to say the problems were never going to be answered by the "Windsor Process". Having said that, this speech is as false and misleading as any I have seen drafted by the pens of this cabal. It's full of puff and invective while pretending to lean heavily on Scripture, quite nauseating.

While claiming humility we get the classic "Look at wonderful US - and look at that sorry misguided bunch" rhetoric, so antithetic to all Christian teaching. Intended, of course, to make his audience feel self-righteous as they plot! It takes farce to a new level.

It's a power grab. Pure and simple.

Dressed up as a new Reformation.

Tripe!!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 4:14pm BST

I am reminded of a passage from a novel -- itself quoted in brief fragment by another book. The novel discussed two Polish Jewish boys in their teen years, as the Germans invaded Poland and the Warsaw Ghetto was created.
The two teens were seeing the devastation and despair first hand, and one, commenting on the long hold of anti-Semitism in Western culture asked of his friend,
"Why do they [the Christians] hate us so? They have taken the cross and turned it into a sword."
I'm sure the author of the novel isn't the first to turn that phrase. But regarding GAFCON, and all similar organizations, and the African bishops on the subject of GLBT people, I have to ask that myself:
"Why do they hate us so? Why do they take the cross and turn it into a sword?"
They are willing to destroy the loose ties that hold the Anglican Communion together, seemingly solely because of some provinces' recognition of GLBT people.
I'm sure there are other reasons driving this, South vs. North concerns, socio-economic disparity concerns, cultural concerns, but it all seems to focus on sex -- or the "wrong" kind of sex.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 7:13pm BST

Jeremy's point is absolutely correct.

By centralising authority, you are bound to create competition for the leadership position, and it is entirely logical: that, just as political powers that are centralised, are accountable to an electorate... so in the same way people will press for an electoral control over the centralised authority, to ensure it is representative of the superordinate group.

Whereas, in an understanding of Anglicanism as a collection of provinces, each determining its growth according to human reality where they are, and sharing with other provinces in a unity of diversity...

It really wouldn't matter who was leading Anglicanism at all.

The Covenant was part of a centralising and controlling impulse. The desire to impose ONE view of sexual ethics is a centralising and controlling impulse.

The logic is in place.

All it needed was for Gafcon to join up the dots.

It's not going to happen because people simply won't accept a centralised elected body telling all provinces what they must believe. It's a nonsense and a non-starter. Centralisation is about Empire itself, ironically.

Posted by: Susannah on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 7:54pm BST

The Private Members, Global South Anglican ¨Big ¨ Mens¨ club meets again to inform us how they won´t let ¨some of us¨ into their private, extra-holy meet ups/character smearing society while they decide what is correct/acceptable Anglican believing for the ¨marginalized¨ US!

Fair enough.

I have a promise for those of you who are wrapped up in selfseeking/suffocating ¨better than¨ prancing and Evangelicalike excluding:

If my LIFE and SOUL were in immediate danger I´d run as fast/far away as I could from ANY/ALL of the most righteous of you! No need to guard/slam your door, I´ve passed your way before and listened to all your carefully pasturized hatred and bigotry against people like me. I won´t betray my own honesty by pretending to be one of you. Banish me, send me away! Horray! My honestly earned freedom from your grandstanding and silly ¨damnation¨ has arrived at last!

You call yourselves Holy and Men!

You excluders of *other* Anglicans, at the body of Christ, who travel about the World *being* religiouslike leaders, as your own countrymen/women fear for their everyday are shams for real spiritual men. Real lives, are at stake and you seem a very emotionally/spiritually damaged exclusive lot.

Dear Lord,

Please keep GAFCON arrogance far away from me/us. Please spare GAFCON countrymen/women from the selfrighteous/shortsighted plague of leadership hatred and the generating of religious ¨superiority¨ at the Global South/beyond.

I pray Lord, please save/spare innocents from the acts of biggoted clergymen whose greed, fear, puffed up egos/machismo silliness and basic ignorance are running way out of control as they harm others closer to their own homes.

Lord hear my prayer

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 8:18pm BST

NOTHING ANY ONE PRIMATE SAYS SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS 'ORDERS', ABC OR OTHERWISE.

That is exactly the kind of thinking that got us into this mess and these people just won't stop digging.

Posted by: Nathan on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 8:27pm BST

I would love it if someone did an analysis of how much of this is a contrived "emergency" and how much is a poorly concealed power grab with the pastoral "emergency" just a manufactured cover story.
I really feel such a disaffected group should just be "good" schismatics and leave the parent group to go out on their own --complete with a new name and new chain of command-- rather than trying to take over existing structures. It did not work in the USA - how will it play elsewhere?

Posted by: ettu on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 9:10pm BST

A very elastic use of the word orthodoxy and no list of bishops attending...Nigeria is proclaimed to have 23 milion Anglicans..up 6 million on five years ago!

Posted by: robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 at 10:58pm BST

"depart in peace"! Sorry!

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 12:02am BST

Follow the money. Who's paying for all of this? Air fares and hotels don't come cheap and many of these guys are from parts of the world where most of the population are living on a few dollars a day. Where are all the investigative journalists when you need them?

Posted by: Fern on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 12:33am BST

"Give us a king to govern us."

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 9:57am BST

I want to know how Archbishop Okoh gets to be a Primate while having no clear idea of the actual role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Amazing, really! These bishops abandoned the Covenant even befor the CofE could vote it down. Now they demand to recreate the Anglican Communion in their own image, no doubt insisting on proportional representation in a Communion-wide vote on the appointment of an Archbishop.

Will you members of the CofE correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that the Church of England is not separate from the state, but, rather, is the state Church. Is it not senseless to propose that an officer of the English state be elected by a vote of many national Churches to represent them, regardless of the laws of England?

I wrote the CNC suggesting that, in nominating a candidate for the office of ABC, they have foremost in mind the needs of the Church of England. As to the role of ABC in the Communion, I would strongly prefer an ABC who has the skills to facilitate dialogue among the Provinces, and who would be very clear that it is not the role of the ABC to pretend to some sort of universal primacy. The Communion's experience with +George Carey and +Rowan Williams attempting to use the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference as authoritative statements of the Church's teaching or the "mind of the Church" has not been good. And the attempts to foist a Covenant on the provinces that would restrict innovation in the provinces has been an egregious failure.

The Anglican Communion as a family of Churches and a more modest role for the ABC seem to me to be more authentic expressions of who we are. Thank God for common sense, that the FOCA bishops will return home having failed to persuade most people of their ideas for creating a confessional Anglicanism with them at the helm. Can their American benefactors not think of more effective ways of using their money than these endless junkets? How about feeding the hungry, and the rest of Matthew chapter 25, on which standard Jesus tells us we will be judged?

Posted by: karen macqueen+_ on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 10:57am BST

Well at least this would give the next Archbishop more time to deal with his primary job as Primate of All England.They say the job of Archbishop is impossible...but it seems to me the Anglican Communion element is the area that makes the job impossible.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 12:18pm BST

Fern, the Kenyan primate ( or was he Ugandan) gave full praise to the FCA secretary , Archbishop Jensen. At the inaugural service the latter was singled out and honoured.

Posted by: Robert ian willaims on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 1:31pm BST

The Ugley Vicar is at GAFCON and blogs this surprising bit of information:-

"Yesterday we had a welcome from the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered by the Bishop of Southwark (in whose diocese we are meeting)."

Posted by: badman on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 3:29pm BST

This has nothing to do with sexuality, or even scripture or doctrine. It is power politics at its worst.An attempt by so called Primates to achieve power, rather like their counterpart who in the political world dictate over ther people.
Financed and encouraged by right wing evangelicals in Britain, who invite them here. They are not wanted here, and should be back in their home provinces loving and caring for their flock.
Sadly they do not know the meaning of Shepherding, they are the 'wolves' in the fold.

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 4:25pm BST

I should think the airfares have been donated by wealthy American and UK Christians,
who believe in sacrificial giving.

Not much to investigate there.

Posted by: James on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 5:35pm BST

Why does their 'modest proposal' that they 'have been turning around' 'in their mind' put me in mind of The Reverend Mr Slope ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 9:24pm BST

Two bishops from two of the most corrupt and conflicted countries in the world.

Ya think they'd have enough at home to keep them busy.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 at 11:01pm BST

"Not much to investigate there."

*Psssst! DON'T follow the money!*

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 26 April 2012 at 4:32am BST

I thought the keynote speech was quite restrained. The point about ++Canterbury being leader surely is a throwback to empire days. However I'm quite shocked at the hateful invective expressed in the comments - does love come into this? Or is it simply racial bigotry? I've always found the Gamaliel principle helpful. We see here growing churches wanting to free themselves of the decadent west, whose liberal congregations have a half-life of less than 10 years.

Posted by: Peter Collard on Thursday, 26 April 2012 at 4:21pm BST

“Archbishop Jensen can then remove his diocese of Sydney from the Anglican Church of Australia, while claiming to remain in the "true" Anglican church. This should (unfortunately) allow him to retain the fortune held by the wealthy Diocese of Sydney.”—Richard

From what I hear, many Australian Anglicans would be ever so happy to see Jensen and his ilk depart. After all, the rest of the Australian Church receives little financial benefit by their presence, and they disrupt and divide by their church “plantings” all over the map. Good riddance to them, I say!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt on Thursday, 26 April 2012 at 6:23pm BST

"However I'm quite shocked at the hateful invective expressed in the comments ... free themselves of the decadent west, whose liberal congregations have a half-life of less than 10 years." Posted by Peter Collard

Q.E.D.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 26 April 2012 at 10:34pm BST

Oh Peter Collard, if it were the case that this were a struggle to be free of post imperial shackles then most here would be cheering from the rafters!

A small group of white men from America, England and Australia are writing the script and pulling the strings here - sadly, money is at the heart of the nightmare as we all too clearly see as the AMiA debacle unwraps and we understand how totally dependent the Province of Rwanda became on American money. I see the Congo are to get the back-handers next.

The speech is mild, mildly nauseating, and deeply deceitful.
I'm sorry if you find these comments hateful, they is not an ounce of hate in my heart!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 12:13am BST

'I've always found the Gamaliel principle helpful.'

Start applying it then !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 4:37am BST

I agree that the rest of Australia would be happy without Sydney. Much of Sydney's vast wealth came from the Crown when the Diocese of Australia (now Sydney) was an archdeaconry of Calcutta or, subsequently, the only diocese in what became Australia. The rest of the country might not benefit currently, but would likely be legally entitled to some of it if Sydney were to leave the ACC. Jensen probably feels that if the diocese remains Anglican (the "true" Anglicans at that!), they would not have to forfeit anything. It's hard to fathom Jensen aligned with Anglo-Catholics or any liturgically minded church.

Posted by: Richard on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 4:52am BST

"However I'm quite shocked at the hateful invective expressed in the comments ... free themselves of the decadent west, whose liberal congregations have a half-life of less than 10 years."

Who knew that Tehran would be the City of Tomorrow?

Posted by: Counterlight on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 12:42pm BST

Someone asked me who I thought the next archbishop of Canterbury would be.
The Gafcon answer is beginning to be- does it matter? 80 % of the Anglican communion has moved on without him...

Posted by: James on Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 6:48am BST

I'm just disappointed to see that there was a single bishop from the Nelson Diocese of ACANZP in the clan meeting at the Gafcon/FCA Talk-fest at Battersea. However, he does have an alliance with the Sydney Abp., having had the distinction of walking out of the last Lambeth Conference.

My main problem is that this bishop was in England for the conference, and was offered the opportunity to preach in Westminster Abbey at the Anzac Day Service. Gafcon and Anzac don't seem to go together somehow.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 11:04am BST

Possibly true James..but fortunately he has a job to do in England, and being shorn of some of the Anglican Communion stuff will give him time to be a more effective Primate of All England..which is how it was once, and to my mind, how it should be.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 12:18pm BST
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