Saturday, 26 October 2013

GAFCON 2 concludes with Communique and Commitment

Here is the full text of the document issued at the end of the conference in Nairobi. There is also a PDF version here.

There was an earlier press release containing the text of a resolution agreed by an unspecified number of GAFCON bishops: GAFCON votes to expand.

Much other material is available from this page. English readers may be particularly interested in the following contributions:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 2:35pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Reading carefully the communique from Nairobi, I wonder how those who drafted it and those who voted for it can square the tone and sentiments with Jesus's very clear teaching set out in tomorrow's Gospel reading in Luke 18 v 9 - 14 the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. also, the fact that Jesus chose his Disciples from people on the margins and not from the religious leadership who were full of judgement of others and of their own importance.

Posted by: Malcolm on Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 4:17pm BST

Resolutions agreed, anathemas pronounced, lashings of hubris and post colonial antagonisms. A background of an exported and proxy war between conservative and liberal Americans and what seems like a very unhealthy preoccupation with sexual matters. All offered by unidentified signatories claiming to speak on the part of vast numbers of Anglicans.

The truth is that these millions, however socially conservative they may be, are loyal to their Church. They are not thinking daily of the supposed iniquities of the now retired Bishop Gene Robinson and would be surprised to learn that they were ever in future to be anything other than in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury as the chief bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 8:05pm BST

So the border-crossings will now increase.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 26 October 2013 at 11:39pm BST

"Many of the least believing ( clergy), male and female, are in central leadership positions in the church" Paul Perkin really? The sad thing is that most of those in Nairobi will believe Paul Perkin's caricature...........

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 7:03am GMT

I, too, was jolted by today's Gospel reading - from Luke's parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The jolt for me - as it probably affected those listening to Jesus who had respect for the Pharisee's uprightness - was the sting in the tail. That Jesus commended the known sinner for his humility. He was justified by this. The Pharisee, on the other hand, was not justifed - because of his boasting about his own (undoubted) righteousness according to The Law.
Food for thought here.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 7:05am GMT

What I find so fascinating about Mike Ovey's talk is that he accuses western culture of narcissism, without any sense of how modern evangelicalism displays all the same traits of entitlement, intolerance of dissent, self-righteousness, etc.

His talk presents the classic case why his dualism is so wrong and dangerous. But he at least uncovers for us the true origins of homosexuality: pride apparently.

No wonder so many people reject this kind of religion.

Posted by: sjh on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 7:20am GMT

Please note this in the communique:

"We recognize that we have differing views over the roles of men and women in church leadership."

That is Gafconese for, we can't agree what Holy Scripture says on this subject...but we can't say that explicitly, because the Homosexuals will say that there can also be a variety of scriptural interpretation on sexuality!

Bishops Nazir Ali and Jensen actually preached on the clarity and perspicuity of scripture!

Condemnation of polygamy , but nothing on divorce ACNA is riddled with it! He that pays the piper, pipes the tune!

Posted by: robert Ian wiliams on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 8:06am GMT

Fr Ron Smith has drawn attention on his own blog to an earlier draft of this communique, and an analysis made by someone else of the differences:

Fr Ron's own comments on this (scroll down)

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 8:25am GMT

Rev Paul Perkin no doubt receives his stipend from the thoroughly "heterodox" Diocese of Southwark...

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 8:54am GMT

I actually ministered in the parish next door to P. Perkin's for seven or eight years but have never been able to figure out whether his congregation actually goes along with all this. Can anyone tell us? I suspect the same applies to many a CofE 'minister' present.

Posted by: Lorenzo on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 12:28pm GMT

I too was struck by today's gospel hot on the heels of GAFCON. I see the parable as a straight comment on the two kinds of religion, of works and of faith. One would expect the GAFCON Fathers, evangelicals almost to a man (gender reference intended!), to note that faith is commended rather than works. But not them. It seems to me that the Gospel offers us the exact opposite of Kennedy's much quoted inaugural address. "Ask not what you can do for God, but what God can do for you."

Posted by: cryptogram on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 1:13pm GMT

Could Fr Perkin be kind enough to name these wonderfully vigorous churches, especially the LARGEST church in England?

Posted by: commentator on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 4:50pm GMT

Continuing my earlier comment...

Further information about the earlier draft of the communique is in this post:

And also in this one:

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 8:57pm GMT

And another two critiques of the communique etc.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 October 2013 at 11:08pm GMT

Mike Ovey strikes me as a clever man whose personal preoccupations are leading him into some problematic places. I particularly objected to his appropriation of Bonhoeffer, a wise and compassionate theologian who would certainly have critiqued the kind of 'splitting' which is characteristic of so much of Ovey's thinking. Ovey's twin monoliths, the 'holy South' and the 'evil West' exist only in his imagination. All human society exhibits some positive and some problematic features, including some which call for repentance. Obscuring that helps no-one.

Ovey is most deeply ambivalent when he speaks about human rights and social justice issues which continue to pose profound challenges for conservative evangelical theology generally and for the Gafcon bishops in particular. His ingenious solution is to suggest that these issues are morally insignificant for the Church because this is what the world also believes. The only issues which are morally determinative for the Church are those where it rejects what the world believes, of which his chosen example is, of course, same sex relationships.

Of even greater concern though is how the ideas set out by Ovey might be seized upon and acted out by others. What does 'rejecting the world of the West' look like in practice? Other faiths leaders who preach these beliefs tend to find themselves under scrutiny. All too well we know where they may lead if pursued to their logical conclusion. I hope that someone from the Archbishop's office with responsibility for international affairs may have a quiet word with Ovey when he gets back from Nairobi. Global politics and conservative evangelical systematics should be kept far far apart.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 11:30am GMT

Here in the U.S. many evangelical Christians start foaming at the mouth when it comes to homosexuality but suddenly hit the mute button on the issue of divorce. The participants of GAFCON have done the same thing. It only serves to prove that their movement is based largely on an intense dislike of homosexuality. A religious movement based on hate can't go far.

Posted by: Doug18 on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 3:09pm GMT


Your post is proof of how different people can read the same text and draw different, even opposing conclusions from it. Your comment particularly puzzles those of us who have stood in the Ploetzenzee hut where Bonhoeffer's colleagues were hung on piano wire. It amazes those in my family who objected on moral and political principles to the policies of the Nazis. It shocks us who experienced the 1930's struggle over religious authority with the state and lived in the bombed 1945 ruins of, of all places, Wuppertal-Barmen. To us Bohoeffer was exactly as Mike Ovey related, the advocate of the scripture informed conscience of each individual leading to repentance and action in community with other members of a church with a clear confessional basis. To us, Dietrich was almost the ultimate 20th century example of costly obedience to God's word, led into action against his nation and culture even to a gracious death.

Because posters' memory only extends to last week's Gospel reading they should not forget what Jesus said repeatedly about law and repentance. He supported it, even when rightly rebuking the Pharisees from missing the loving point of the law.

Please re-read your Bonhoeffer, all of it, with both eyes and mind open to hear what this humble holy man actually wrote.

Posted by: John Waldsax on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 3:42pm GMT

GAFCON accomplished two things: 1-rallied the troops against rights for homosexual persons, and 2-created a separate Anglican Communion structure for conservatives. This is a struggle between the Anglican Global South, aided by their First World homophobic allies, and the Anglican Global North. The South is fighting against the tide of history and modernity. It will eventually lose but it can create havoc in the meantime. More at my blog:

Posted by: Ron Caldwell on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 7:10pm GMT

So Gafcon is happy to live with differences about women priests but not about same sex relationships. I thought they wanted us to believe the same thing everywhere and always as they do?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 7:53pm GMT

John, I hope you have misunderstood me. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a theologian I greatly admire and The Cost of Discipleship is a book that means a great deal to me. The Nazis who persecuted the Confessing Church and murdered Bonhoeffer also persecuted and murdered many homosexuals. I say they were wrong on both counts. What do you say?

Posted by: Jane Charman on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 9:16pm GMT

The reference to Bonhoeffer is rather strange. Many Christians holding views on homosexuality not dissimilar to some GAFCON leaders colluded with the Nazis to herd gays and lesbians into concentration camps, along with others they considered unrighteous. Today, these leaders collude with hate-mongering politicians to damage the lives of some and poison the hearts of others with hatred or callous indifference. This is surely worldliness of the worst kind. Interestingly his attack on human rights includes the use of the term 'pro-­same-­sex policies' to try to rubbish calls for decriminalisation.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 10:30pm GMT

John Waldsax, is comparing same-sex love to a genocidal, racist regime really a wise move? It is not enough for Christians to be countercultural. They need to be able to explain exactly what they are countering and why. In the recent debate over same-sex marriage, conservative Christians lost the debate because there was no cogent moral justification for their arguments.

Posted by: AndrewT on Monday, 28 October 2013 at 11:31pm GMT

This is an empty shell of a communique (but then communiques usually are). Not surprising, when as others have noted, all that unites GAFCON, is a common hatred of gays. On all other substantive theological dividing issues within Anglicanism, including gender and sex-as-far-as-it-relates-to-straights, GAFCON's supporters are all over the place.

The document says nothing of substance, and promises no actions of substance. Basically, they got a big conference together to prove they weren't irrelevant because everyone had basically forgotten about them. How relevant is GAFCON? They got Canterbury to go on a 9,000 mile detour and preach a really stupid sermon, where he sounded appropriately offensive about the gay menace. Then he flew home to continue sweeping up the mess caused by the C of E's opposition to marriage equality. Via his original destination, a conference of liberal Porvoo Lutherans, who consecrated married lesbian bishops and just a few years ago had a virtual fatwa placed on them by Lambeth Palace and Church House for having the temerity to be a decade or so ahead of the C of E on gay lib (I mean, how dare they!)

Pilling seems set to legitimise the blessing of same-sex relationships. If the C of E is stupid enough to pretend this is because they aren't necessarily sexual in nature, then it will lose any potential positive press for doing so. In any case there is nothing anyone can do to prevent this: not Ugandan Bishops, not breathless young ConsEvo clerics in Justin's own See, and not any of the lost tribes that inhabit Bobby Duncan's eyebrows.

Meanwhile, Bobby Duncan and his bizarre bedfellows in Sydney are finding out they're badly on the wrong side of a cultural chasm. And English ConsEvos will find this country now provides stony ground for those who want to promote schism in tandem with prelates from Nigeria, Uganda, and the West Indies, all places known to be centres of murderous homophobia.

ITV news this week is majoring on the English expat in Entebbe facing 7 years in jail because an invasive police medical examination has confirmed he and his Ugandan friend have both had anal sex. This is the world GAFCON wants us all to live in. The silence of its Western members speaks volumes.

Posted by: The Rev'd Mervyn Noote on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 at 10:14pm GMT

Is there a list of the Gafcon bishops anywhere?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 at 8:00am GMT

No list Perry, because a third of them have never been Anglican!

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 at 3:33pm GMT

"The silence of its Western members speaks volumes."

Yes. It most certainly does. Thank you for speaking up. This LGBT person is tired and up to her eyes in work.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 31 October 2013 at 5:18am GMT

Having experienced, very unwillingly, the militarist and nationalistic liturgies of the American churches who follow the GAFCON line, and in particular their custom, during the Iraq War, of parading American flags up to the altar at each service while singing "God Bless America" -- well, then, I have to think that Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have preached against those who now call themselves "Confessing Anglicans" every bit as strongly as he preached against those who, in his own time, cooperated with the nationalistic, militaristic travesty of Lutheranism sponsored by the Nazi regime. I do have to agree that the appropriation of Bonhoeffer by the militant nationalists of the American GAFCON faction is very strange indeed.

I do not find, either, that Bonhoeffer's surviving relatives -- and his nephew, as some would be aware, was music director of the Cleveland Orchestra in years past -- are eager to join the GAFCON group. Others might be aware of the support provided by Lutheran churches in the former DDR for campaigners for gay rights in that repressive socialist regime, even as they themselves campaigned for greater freedom and democracy.

No, the invocation of Bonhoeffer to legitimate homophobia within the Anglican Communion cannot stand and cannot be allowed to stand. That is not Bonhoeffer's legacy.

Posted by: Charlotte on Saturday, 2 November 2013 at 10:34pm GMT
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