Comments: GAFCON: October pastoral letter

"In recent days the Lord has put on my heart the seriousness of the call to be a faithful watchman. In a time of crisis and confusion in ancient Israel, God appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman over his exiled people (Ezekiel 33:1-9)." - Eliud Wabukala -

Sounds like the Anglican Church of Kenya has its own Pope - reaching out to the diaspora in the USA. What will he have to reveal to the ACC Primates' Meeting - if he deigns to be present?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 7:24pm BST

Oh dear ...

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 7:38pm BST

Recognition of the ACNA in return for freedom for provinces to follow their own path on sexuality would be a sensible and realistic trade to make; it's a trade that TEC needs to have happen urgently, before Gafcon make their move, and drive (one of) the American churches from the Communion.

Unfortunately, Welby and Sentamu show no interest whatsoever in achieving that provincial freedom, so it looks like this valuable bargaining position's gonna be squandered, and the ACNA incorporated into the Communion gratis.

Posted by James Byron at Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 9:51pm BST

Take, heart, James; I believe the non-Gafcon parts of the Communion (including the Church of England) will not be surrendering sovereignty to Pope Eliud any time soon. Archbishop Welby is well aware of the ambition of the Gafcon Leadership and, I believe, will not succumb to their threats. If the Communion is stripped down to its Western Provinces - with any of the Global South who wish to Break Bread with us - then I think this is what may emerge from this upcoming Pow-wow.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 12:34am BST

If ACNA becomes part of the Communion, then TEC should open a parish in London.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 2:07am GMT

This sounds like an attempt at some sort of coup... in the sense that Welby speaks of sleeping in separate bedrooms but the GAFCON man wants a big decision to decide for THE Communion (as in Church). Sleeping in separate bedrooms is an attempt to avoid a divorce; but if the GAFCON man wants to press the case and have an almighty row, divorce seems all the more likely. Or at least a couple of houses results with separate bedrooms in one and some sort of dormitory in the other.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 4:29am GMT

James, I've a strong feeling that boat set sail a long time ago....

Posted by Peter K+ at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 8:50am GMT

Have the GAFCON folks considered whether the January meeting is, or is not, a formal Primates' meeting, and if it is, whether there might be limits on the Primates' ability to "decide" anything for the Communion?

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 11:21am GMT

Jeremy wrote, “If ACNA becomes part of the Communion, then TEC should open a parish in London.”

Not a bad idea. Even better is to open a parish in Kampala.

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 12:09pm GMT

GAFCON wishful thinking and demands are always laced with twists and turns directed against LGBTI Anglicans...may their excluding efforts come to an end.

I see no way ahead when pretending to be loveable/congenial brothers and sisters (who demean/worse fellow Anglicans at the Communion rail at the body of Christ). Any real act showing any measure of generosity of spirit toward fellow LGBTI Anglicans/others will not suddenly appear before us at the Primates gathering in Canterbury. My opinion only... these fellows, and they are fellows, make themselves too easily ¨at home.¨ Leonard Clark/Leonardo Ricardo

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 1:46pm GMT

I don't know about sleeping in separated bedrooms but this seems to me to be more and more turning into Alan Ayckbourn's "Bedroom Farce".

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 3:59pm GMT

This is such a bore that I can hardly put finger to keyboard.

I suppose that ACNA believe that if they keep stating that they are now recognised by just about everybody then it will become true. The question is however, exactly who wrote this latest pastoral letter? A careful form criticism clearly shows a hand other than that of Archbishop Wabukala, he doesn't write in that style. Who therefore is his ghost writer or sadly who is really setting the agenda? Assuming the Primate of Kenya is sympathetic to what he has supposedly written it still reads like an American writing on the part of ACNA rather than him.

When Peter Akinola, formerly Archbishop of Nigeria, used to write similar missives it turned out to have be Martyn Minns (now a Bishop of ACNA) who was editing his work substantially. I don't think Minns is the author this time as once again the style isn't quite right for him.

Any suggestions out there as it who it might be? It would be useful to know exactly who the rest of the Communion is supposed to be talking to rather than the nominal figurehead.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 4:02pm GMT

I agree with Jeremy--it's high time for TEC and ACC to make some kind of pastoral provision for the faithful Anglicans in England who are being neglected and even abused by their own church leaders, who seem far more interested in Africa than England.

Posted by JPM at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 6:23pm GMT

This "letter" was clearly ghost-written by a North American whose agenda in promoting ACNA and their wonderful new Chicago parish is front and centre. This is nothing new. At Lambeth 1998 some African bishops were being instructed on what tactics to use by electronic means during the sessions by those on the outside.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 7:58pm GMT

"I don't know about sleeping in separated bedrooms but this seems to me to be more and more turning into Alan Ayckbourn's "Bedroom Farce"."

I'm currently directing this play for a community theater, and not even Ayckbourn could make anything as dysfunctional as the Anglican Communion currently seems to be.

Trevor and Susannah have nothing on the primates.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 8:05pm GMT

I think it would be really lovely to have a TEC church in London, to which sympathetic C of E churches could affiliate as friends.

That way, those of us who wanted to get married in an Anglican Church could do so, while still fully participating in life in the Church of England as well.

I can't see that the law or anyone else could stop my lesbian partner and myself getting married (which after all is now legal) in a TEC church in London (which is outside the constraints placed on the Church of England) while continuing our lives both in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church.

TEC is a beacon in the Anglican Communion, and I see no reason why it can't plant it's 'brand' in London.

Quite where it would locate is a different matter.

Then at least those of us who in good conscience want to be married (inside Anglicanism) could get married here in the UK.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 8:32pm GMT

I wish I weren't so suspicious, James Byron, but beware those who, once in power, will change the rules so no one else has influence or any say.

Posted by lorenzo at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 9:03pm GMT

We in other Provinces of the Anglican Communion are looking to the Archbishop of Canterbury not selling out to the Gafcon Primates at the upcoming Meeting. We are looking to the Primates of the the Church of England to reserve the honourable title 'Anglican', for those Churches loyal to Canterbury, rather than Kampala or any other Gafcon enclave (even Sydney!)

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 11:05pm GMT

The fatal flaw in GAFCON will be the disparity in churchnmanship and the ordination of women.Sydney the behind the scenes puppeteer is losing its grip.You can already see the former tensions, destroying ACNA.

Posted by robert ian williams at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 6:20am GMT

"Who therefore is his ghost writer or sadly who is really setting the agenda?"

If I were to write a letter for publication in a language other than my own I would ask a native speaker to re-write it/edit it. I don't think it should be assumed that the Archbishop of Kenya is incapable of setting his own agenda just because his words have been polished by someone else.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 8:47am GMT

"Even better is to open a parish in Kampala."

When "Kampala comes to Chicago", there are Communiques.

If "Chicago goes to Kampala", I suspect there will be arrests.

Posted by JCF at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 9:35am GMT

"Noting the unique nature of this proposed meeting, we are agreed to go and I am confident that in doing so we will not compromise the biblical principles for which we stand…"

Where to begin?

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 10:32am GMT

JCF, if Chicago goes to Kampala... do I guess you think that Chicago is nicer than Kampala? It reminds me of someone else, who went from a nice place to a less-nice place. Come to think of it, wasn't there an arrest then?

Posted by Jamie Wood at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 12:47pm GMT

Archbishop Wabukala has an Officer for Anglican Communion Affairs, one Charles Raven, who was at one time a priest in the diocese of Worcester and fell out rather publicly with Bishop Peter Selby. As a result he founded a church in Stourport called Christ Church Wyre Forest, which is one of the churches of AMIE. Possibly among his duties in Kenya is to be a ghost-writer. He is an associate mission partner of Crosslinks, formerly BCMS.

Posted by cryptogram at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 1:30pm GMT

There are no more chilling words than "Biblical Principles". We see them trotted out to defend endless hatred, bigotry, and lack of compassion. Look no further than the current Republican fiasco in the U.S. Anglicans have always said "Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, not "Scriptura Sola". Since when have we become Bibliolaters?

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 2:50pm GMT

Adam,
I wouldn't mind biblical principles! There is no other instance in the bible where God deliberately and seemingly without reason condemns 5% of mankind to loneliness, feeling ashamed of themselves and mental suffering.
If we applied biblical principles, none of this would be allowed in church.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 4:27pm GMT

Thanks Erica
Biblical principles are simply too important to be left to the narrow and the tribal readers of the bible.

Posted by David Runcorn at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 7:08pm GMT

The ACNA "House of Bishops" issued a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision re. same-sex marriage. http://www.churchrez.org/news/bishops-statement-on-the-supreme-court-ruling

In it the following statement is found:
"We will work with others to overturn this decision, and we pray that others will join with us in this effort. Meeting this week in Vancouver, British Columbia, we are reminded that our Canadian members have been living under a similar legal standard for the last ten years. Their situation includes minimal legal protections for those who in good conscience cannot recognize this redefinition, and it is our prayer that stronger protections will be put into place and honored in the United States. In the meantime, we shall continue to exercise our religious freedom to perform marriages for those who come for holy matrimony as defined by our Church."

This statement contains much misunderstanding or misinformation re. the Canadian situation, which allows them to tap into the right-wing false paranoia about so-called "religious freedom", which is code in the U.S. for "persecution" and being compelled to act against one's beliefs. This is deliberate manipulation, which shows how these people function. In Canada same-sex marriage has been legal for ten years. The Anglican Church of Canada has not performed same-sex marriages in all that time. No clergy of any denomination have ever been compelled or had their freedom threatened. This is a complete red herring. If any clergy of the Canadian section of ACNA ("The Network")have been asked to perform a same-sex marriage, which is unlikely, they have never been obligated to do so and there are no repercussions, especially from the government. This has been true of all clergy of all denominations. Yet the suggestion that this is the case has been made in this letter to increase anxiety and inflame the members. This is untrue and unworthy of people who claim to be truthful. This does not bode well for the January conversations.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Monday, 26 October 2015 at 10:14pm GMT

"January conversations"?

January hectoring, more like.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 3:36am GMT

It's clear that the ACC has deserted TEC, but wants to keep the money pumping in.

It's time TEC diverted that money to building a progressive communion, with missions (regardless of the personal danger) to places like the Global South. We have to find a way to protect these people from the monstrous political-posturing-as-faith that has become conservative "christianity."

It's clear that we no longer owe anything to Canterbury - never did, really, as the Scots allowed us to have our own church - and it's time we withdraw from an unhealthy relationship that is abusive, which we enable, and which cripples our ability to behave with complete moral and ethical integrity.

The ACC is not concerned about community and accountability, but about their market share, and I, for one, am no longer going to pretend that they are acting with Christian charity and integrity in the name of some sort of self-serving sense of personal "humility" and "patience," which has come to mean self-preservation and moral cowardice.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 5:08am GMT

"I guess you think that Chicago is nicer than Kampala?"

[N.B., I used "Chicago" and "Kampala" as representatives of, respectively, TEC and GAFCON. Not the actual metropolises, per se.]

Do I think that Chicago is a nicer place than Kampala (Uganda)---for LGBTs/allies? Is this a serious question?

[I don't follow the rest of your comment, Jamie ("reminds me of someone else, who went from a nice place to a less-nice place"). Explain to dim lil me?]

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 5:54am GMT

The previous PB of TEC was explicitly asked whether TEC would open a church in London. She very politely explained that this would be contrary to promises and undertakings she and TEC had made. Clearly TEC plays by the rules contrary to all the tired accusations.

Posted by Turbulent Priest at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 8:10am GMT

Mark Brunson, I can understand the cause of your frustration. However, don't lose heart. Many of us in the non-Gafcon Anglican world are deeply appreciative of TEC's and the Anglican Church of
Canada's forward movement on justice issues for Women and LGBTQ people. We, too, believe that the Anglican Communion ought be a place of safety for ALL people, not just the self-righteous.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 8:37am GMT

Adam Armstrong:

The "religious freedom" argument in the US is more about business relationships than religious ones. Only the most rabid anti-gay contingent has suggested that the government would ever force a religious institution to celebrate a marriage that violates its own beliefs.

But the less rabid have supported those government employees who claim that issuing a license for a civil marriage to a same-sex couple violates their "religious freedom" or the bakery or photographer who argues that performing that service for a same-sex wedding violates theirs.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 11:31am GMT

What exactly does the acronym "ACC" mean in Mark Brunson's post? To me it means "Anglican Church of Canada", but not apparently so.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 5:06pm GMT

"If ACNA becomes part of the Communion, then TEC should open a parish in London."

Why not open one in Sydney to give the neo-Puritans there cat fits..?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by Kurt Hill at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 5:41pm GMT

"Archbishop Wabukala has an Officer for Anglican Communion Affairs, one Charles Raven,"
- cryptogram -

The plot thickens! Has Mr. Raven's ambassadorship to the ACC - on behalf of the Chair of GAFCON - actually been ratified by the A.C. Primates?

If so, has this little 'irregularity' not been noticed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who could be construed, thereby, as colluding with the territorial ambitions of Mr. Raven's A.M.i.E.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 11:29pm GMT

Pat O'Neill said "Only the most rabid anti-gay contingent has suggested that the government would ever force a religious institution to celebrate a marriage that violates its own beliefs." This is an understatement to say the least, as we see reflected in the ACNA letter. Ten years ago in Canada those clergy and churches opposing gay marriage shouted from the rooftops about their rights being violated and that they would be forced to marry or be prosecuted. This never happened, but the spectre seems to be raised whenever this issue comes up. It is not more about business than religion and it has been raised mostly by religious institutions in the U.S. It is a Fox News staple.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 3:23am GMT

"Unity by Inclusion"

Sir Ninian Comper

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 6:28am GMT

Adam,

Anglican Consultative Council. One of the "instruments of communion."

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 7:13am GMT

I think Fr Ron is making massive assumptions about Mr Raven's brief. I merely observe that he is there, has form, and might be a candidate for the spectral presence of a ghost writer.

Posted by cryptogram at Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 10:17am GMT

I only mentioned Charles Raven, 'cryptogram', because he is known to head a member-church in the U.K., known as the Anglican Mission in England' - AMiE - which has direct links with the Chair of Gafcon, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.

The fact of Raven's appointment as Kenya's 'Officer for Anglican Communion Affairs' might just presume some official entitlement to speak for Kenya's role in the Anglican Communion when, in fact, he (Raven) heads a church in England that operates outside of the provenance OF the C. of E. - and, therefore, of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 29 October 2015 at 12:09am GMT

No, Ron, you are going way beyond the evidence. CR is not in England: he lives in Kenya and works for Abp Wakubala, he does not pastor an AMIE church, though the church he used to pastor is now associated with AMIE. There is no evidence at all that he is a sort of plenipotentiary for GAFCON, nor yet some sort of eminence grise in AMIE. Check their website: he isn't mentioned! All I suggested is that if a ghostwriter is involvd in these pastoral letters from GAFCON, he is suitably placed to be a possible candidate.

Posted by cryptogram at Thursday, 29 October 2015 at 4:33pm GMT

The previous PB of TEC was explicitly asked whether TEC would open a church in London. She very politely explained that this would be contrary to promises and undertakings she and TEC had made. Clearly TEC plays by the rules contrary to all the tired accusations.

Posted by Turbulent Priest at Saturday, 31 October 2015 at 10:41pm GMT

Sheesh, she wasn't even allowed to wear her mitre, let alone open a church.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 11:36am GMT

Righto, cryptogram. I stand corrected. I had not realised that Mr RAVEN had moved out of the U.K. However, it seems reasonable that his ecclesial trajectory would have led him to join Abp. Wabukala. They are like-minded in their problem with inclusion of Gays in the Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 1:07am GMT
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