Friday, 27 April 2012

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Leaders Conference Statement

The GAFCON conference at Battersea has concluded by issuing this press release: The movement begins its mission and this Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Leaders Conference Statement and Commitment (PDF).

From the press release:

…In a plenary address, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali concluded that the Anglican “Instruments of Unity” have failed dramatically and that the FCA is called to model an alternative way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another in such a way as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades.

In their final conference ‘Commitment’, the leaders resolved to work together in an ever-strengthening partnership, to stand by each other and to engage in a battle of ideas on behalf of the Biblical Gospel.

The next Global Anglican Future Conference was also announced. The event, with invitees including clergy and lay people, as well as bishops, is scheduled for May 2013.

From the Statement:

…We received from Anglican leaders accounts of terrorism leading to death and destruction in Nigeria, and of persecution and ostracism of believers in Islamic and Hindu societies; we heard from a Christian prolife and pro-marriage advocate who has been maligned by the secular media in England, with precious little support from the Church establishment. We heard numerous accounts from Anglican leaders around the world who have been harassed by their own bishops and fellow clergy for their Gospel witness, yet have been grateful for the stance of the FCA. We note that The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are proceeding post-haste to approve same-sex blessing rites with total disregard for the conscience of their own members, for the moratoria mandated by the official Instruments of the Anglican Communion, and for the broken state of communion where more than half the world’s Anglicans are represented by the FCA…

And this:

…In a plenary address on “Jesus, the Lord of the Church and his Mission,” Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali noted that St Paul presents the church as an exalted communion known to God, the Jerusalem above (Gal 4:26), and also as an earthly community of believers gathered together for the preaching of God’s Word, the sacraments duly administered, and effective church discipline (Article XIX; Second Book of Homilies). Applying this pattern to the current Anglican situation, Bishop Nazir-Ali concluded that the Anglican “Instruments of Unity” have failed dramatically and that the FCA is called to model a biblical way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another so as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades. This way needs to address different forms of missional leadership, gathering the church with traditional episcopal leaders as well as leaders exercising oversight in parochial and non-parochial ministries. The Primates’ Council will have responsibility for planning, directing and driving this agenda…

And this:

…Archbishop Jensen, the FCA General Secretary, challenged participants to agree on a “statement in the form of a commitment.” In affirming this statement, we commit ourselves to the following:

  • to reaffirm the Jerusalem Declaration and Statement
  • to commend the Jerusalem Declaration to others as the basis for resolving the spiritual crisis currently besetting the Anglican Communion
  • to invite Anglicans around the world to join FCA in order to serve Christ and his mission
  • to promote and fund the networks in their various aims to strengthen the Church
  • to create a network for ministry among young people
  • to pray for the work and ministry of FCA and for each other.

At the conclusion of the Leaders Conference, it was announced that a second Anglican Future Conference will be held in May 2013. This Conference will further the work of the FCA to renew and reform the Anglican Communion. This leads to a further specific commitment from leaders and their churches:

  • to gather for GAFCON 2 in May 2013
  • to obtain funding and resourcing for GAFCON 2.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 6:13pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

"we heard from a Christian prolife and pro-marriage advocate who has been maligned by the secular media in England"

Anybody know who this is?

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 6:43pm BST

So is the former Bishop of Rochester (Kent, England) positioning himself to be elected the chairman of GAFCON/FoCA?

Answers on the back of a postage stamp please.

Posted by: RPNewark on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 6:44pm BST

I'm just interpreting this as a schism, at this point, whether the quixotic conservative definition of 'communion' is in their view impaired or otherwise.

Posted by: Nathan on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 8:55pm BST

Their insistence on the Jerusalem Declaration has the (perhaps) unintentional effect of keeping some Provinces from joining them. The Declaration makes much of forms and formularies that have never been authoritative in ECUSA, like the 1662 BCP and the Articles of Religion. And then there's that bit about reading the Bible in its "plain and canonical sense," whatever that's supposed to mean.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 9:28pm BST

If their view of understanding Scripture was so clear, they wouldn't disagree on divorce and women's ordination.

Posted by: Robert ian Willaims on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 10:57pm BST

Let me tell you - I am pro-marriage. I am so pro-marriage, I want it to be open to same-sex couples - if I was anti-marriage I would be against it altogether not trying to increase it. Murdering logic ought to be banned somehow.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 11:11pm BST

"the former Bishop of Rochester (Kent, England)"

...whose former diocese just rejected the implicitly ant-gay Covenant?

Posted by: Andrew on Friday, 27 April 2012 at 11:47pm BST

All they need now, in order to augment their validity, in the likes of former Bishop Thingy, ex-leader of the Diocese of Harare in Zimbabwe to apply for accreditation as contender for leadership of GAFCON, and the circle will be complete.

So much for the ex Bishop of Rochester and the soon-to-retire Archbishop of Sydney - future clan leaders of the A.C. in Exile. And we thought Calvin was out of kilter.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 7:21am BST

'"the former Bishop of Rochester (Kent, England)"

...whose former diocese just rejected the implicitly ant-gay Covenant?'

Yep! That would be the one.

Posted by: RPNewark on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 9:41am BST

Bill -- your point about the Articles of Religion not being authoritative in the Episcopal Church is incorrect.

The Articles of Religion, as amended to suit American circumstances, were established by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1801 as its official doctrinal statement. The Articles have never been repealed, modified, or 'unestablished.' Thus, they remain what they always have been, the official statement of the doctrine of the Episcopal Church in America.

At ordination, every deacon, priest, and bishop must pledge conformity to the "doctrine, discipline, and worship" of The Episcopal Church - which, in effect, means conformity to the BCP. And the constitution of TEC specifically includes the Articles as part of the BCP.

Posted by: George Conger on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 3:04pm BST

The unnamed Christian prolife and pro-marriage advocate was Andrea Minichiello Williams -- this according to the closing press conference. However I may have mistaken the name as the sound quality was poor.

Posted by: George Conger on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 4:41pm BST

Fr Conger, GC did "set forth" the Articles of Religion in 1801, but subscription to the Articles was never required of anyone, as it was in the Church of England.

As far as being "the official statement of the doctrine of the Episcopal Church," you're mistaken. Canon IV.2 has this to say about the Church's doctrine: "Doctrine shall mean the basic and essential teachings of the Church and is to be found in the Canon of Holy Scripture as understood in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds and in the sacramental rites, the Ordinal and Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer." You'll notice that there is no mention of the Articles of Religion here.

Nor have I been able to find a reference to the Articles anywhere in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church; neither the "Find" function on Adobe Reader nor the index to the Canons and Constitution were any help in finding them. Where exactly do you think the Constitution mentions them?

I wouldn't particularly mind if ECUSA made the Articles its official doctrinal statement; Franciscus of Sancta Clara's book, Newman's Tract 90, and the instruction given me in Confirmation class long ago removed any problems the Articles might present. But they are not now that official statement.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 28 April 2012 at 11:44pm BST

The Articles of Religion of 1801 appear in the 1979 BCP beginning on page 867 in the “Historical Documents” section. This seems to put them in the interesting-but-not-authoritative category.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 3:52am BST

This has nothing to do with ordinary Christians I meet in ordinary parish churches with ordinary views, here in the UK, many of whom have a relative in a gay or lesbian partnership, and many of whom are far more tolerant and accepting of gay love. UK society has moved on from the 1950's. We no longer stigmatise people for their sexual orientation. I've only encountered friendship and ordinariness in parish pews even though I have a trans history.

UK civil society and ordinary Christians up and down the land are moving on - into a more tolerant and mature future - based on real and ordinary experience in their lives.

Sad to say, some of these 'leaders' are left behind in all this, out of step with the reality on the ground, and it is preposterous to suppose that the Church of England can align, one-sidedly, with these 'leaders'. The defeat of the covenant shows this.

Increasingly, among ordinary parish Christians in the UK, there is more alignment with the US/Canadian acceptance of gay love, than with the Nigerian or Ugandan models, which speak for a different culture, and their strictures against homosexuality.

In this, most of the bishops in the UK are not yet speaking for the ordinary Christians in their pews. But most of the Bishops have been defeated in the recent Covenant votes. The Church of England is affirming LGBT in increasing numbers, whether the bishops choose to or not. The bishops are out of step.

Posted by: Susannah on Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 12:55pm BST

I would direct attention to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, which define Doctrine (at least for disciplinary purposes) as "the basic and essential teachings of the Church ... found in the Canon of Holy Scripture as understood in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds and in the sacramental rites, the Ordinal and Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer." (Canon IV.2) The Articles of Religion, though they were once held as declaring a commendable summary of the doctrine of the church, are no longer in that position, at least as far as the discipline of the church is concerned.

At the same time, I hasten to note that being a "Historical Document" does not mean something is unimportant. Personally I find much of value in the Articles, including a robust defense of the autonomy of national churches.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 30 April 2012 at 3:31pm BST

Let me also note that the reference to the Articles of Religion in the Constitution of the Episcopal Church (Artticle X) was deleted in 1988. (Resolution A-006)

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 30 April 2012 at 4:56pm BST

Susannah is spot on.

Posted by: LaurenceR on Monday, 30 April 2012 at 8:50pm BST

There is no requirement of a newly-ordained clergy- person in ACANZP to 'sign-up' to the 39 Articles. The Creeds, however, are mandatory.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 at 11:45pm BST
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