Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON: Monday

Some articles written before the release of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response to the GAFCON statement

Andrew Brown in the Guardian Meet the Focas

Joanna Corrigan and Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sidelined by new global Anglican movement

The Age [Melbourne] Jensen says Anglican church hasn’t split

Linda Morris in The Sydney Morning Herald Breakaway move puts Jensen in a bind


Archbishop responds to GAFCON statement

Update: This response is now online at the Archbishop’s website and the Anglican Communion Official Website.

The following press release from Lambeth Palace was issued at 1641 BST today.

Press release from Lambeth Palace

For immediate use

Monday 30th June 2008

Archbishop responds to GAFCON statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has responded to the final declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference with the following statement:

The Final Statement from the GAFCON meeting in Jordan and Jerusalem contains much that is positive and encouraging about the priorities of those who met for prayer and pilgrimage in the last week. The ‘tenets of orthodoxy’ spelled out in the document will be acceptable to and shared by the vast majority of Anglicans in every province, even if there may be differences of emphasis and perspective on some issues. I agree that the Communion needs to be united in its commitments on these matters, and I have no doubt that the Lambeth Conference will wish to affirm all these positive aspects of GAFCON’s deliberations. Despite the claims of some, the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God and the absolute imperative of evangelism are not in dispute in the common life of the Communion

However, GAFCON’s proposals for the way ahead are problematic in all sorts of ways, and I urge those who have outlined these to think very carefully about the risks entailed.

A ‘Primates’ Council’ which consists only of a self-selected group from among the Primates of the Communion will not pass the test of legitimacy for all in the Communion. And any claim to be free to operate across provincial boundaries is fraught with difficulties, both theological and practical – theological because of our historic commitments to mutual recognition of ministries in the Communion, practical because of the obvious strain of responsibly exercising episcopal or primatial authority across enormous geographical and cultural divides.

Two questions arise at once about what has been proposed. By what authority are Primates deemed acceptable or unacceptable members of any new primatial council? And how is effective discipline to be maintained in a situation of overlapping and competing jurisdictions?

No-one should for a moment impute selfish or malicious motives to those who have offered pastoral oversight to congregations in other provinces; these actions, however we judge them, arise from pastoral and spiritual concern. But one question has repeatedly been raised which is now becoming very serious: how is a bishop or primate in another continent able to discriminate effectively between a genuine crisis of pastoral relationship and theological integrity, and a situation where there are underlying non-theological motivations at work? We have seen instances of intervention in dioceses whose leadership is unquestionably orthodox simply because of local difficulties of a personal and administrative nature. We have also seen instances of clergy disciplined for scandalous behaviour in one jurisdiction accepted in another, apparently without due process. Some other Christian churches have unhappy experience of this problem and it needs to be addressed honestly.

It is not enough to dismiss the existing structures of the Communion. If they are not working effectively, the challenge is to renew them rather than to improvise solutions that may seem to be effective for some in the short term but will continue to create more problems than they solve. This challenge is one of the most significant focuses for the forthcoming Lambeth Conference. One of its major stated aims is to restore and deepen confidence in our Anglican identity. And this task will require all who care as deeply as the authors of the statement say they do about the future of Anglicanism to play their part.

The language of ‘colonialism’ has been freely used of existing patterns. No-one is likely to look back with complacency to the colonial legacy. But emerging from the legacy of colonialism must mean a new co-operation of equals, not a simple reversal of power. If those who speak for GAFCON are willing to share in a genuine renewal of all our patterns of reflection and decision-making in the Communion, they are welcome, especially in the shaping of an effective Covenant for our future together.

I believe that it is wrong to assume we are now so far apart that all those outside the GAFCON network are simply proclaiming another gospel. This is not the case; it is not the experience of millions of faithful and biblically focused Anglicans in every province. What is true is that, on all sides of our controversies, slogans, misrepresentations and caricatures abound. And they need to be challenged in the name of the respect and patience we owe to each other in Jesus Christ.

I have in the past quoted to some in the Communion who would call themselves radical the words of the Apostle in I Cor.11.33: ‘wait for one another’. I would say the same to those in whose name this statement has been issued. An impatience at all costs to clear the Lord’s field of the weeds that may appear among the shoots of true life (Matt.13.29) will put at risk our clarity and effectiveness in communicating just those evangelical and catholic truths which the GAFCON statement presents.

© Rowan Williams

Marie Papworth
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Press Secretary
Lambeth Palace

020 7898 1280


GAFCON: Sunday evening

Updated to add second Riazat Butt article

Some more news items from around the world

Riazat Butt in The Guardian Conservative Anglicans form global network

Riazat Butt and Toni O’Loughlin in The Guardian Conservative Anglicans form breakaway church in revolution led from the south
[an updated and expanded version of the above]

Linda Morris in the Sydney Morning Herald Anglicans’ new group denounces liberalism

Dina Kraft and Laurie Goodstein in The New York Times Anglicans Face Wider Split Over Policy Toward Gays

and an opinion article from Australia

Michael Kirby in The Age [Melbourne] Religious condemnation of homosexuals denies human rights


GAFCON: Sunday lunchtime

Updated to include four Church Times blog entries

The final statement (as approved rather than leaked) is now available on the GAFCON website.
Statement on the Global Anglican Future.
For the convenience of our readers we have copied the statement below the fold.

Here are some initial press reports.

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Anglican Church offshoot founded by traditionalists in Jerusalem

Ruth Gledhill in the Sunday Times Anglicans form ‘new church’ in gay clergy row

Nick Mackenzie in Religious Intelligence Gafcon plans a future distant from the Archbishop of Canterbury

BBC Anglican conservatives form group

George Conger in Religious Intelligence Conservatives to split — but only from Episcopal Church

Timothy C Morgan at Christianity Today Anglicans Birth Global Confessing Movement

Rachel Zoll at Associated Press Anglican conservatives launch liberal challenge

Four items from Jerusalem by Paul Handley of the Church Times
A first look at the GAFCON statement
Is it a split?
Delegates endorse GAFCON final statement
Jerusalem declaration thoughts



GAFCON: Saturday evening

Two more reports on the Church Times blog from Paul Handley in Jerusalem.
GAFCON: Galilee
The miracle of GAFCON

Robert Pigott of the BBC reports from Jerusalem that Anglican rift is about more than sex.


GAFCON: final statement

These sites are carrying the text of the final statement from GAFCON.
Episcopal Café

The StandFirm version refers to a correction that the other two sites do not have at present.

It is also here.
This appears to have the correct version of the correction.


Viriginia parish property

A trial court in Virginia has given a ruling in favour of parishes in Virginia that argued they could leave the US Episcopal Church and retain their property. Note that there are still two more levels of court in Virginia (an intermediate appeal and then the state’s highest court) that could hear this matter and decide differently, and it’s possible this might go all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Episcopal Life Online
Virginia court rules application of ‘Division Statute’ is constitutional

Associated Press
Va. judge: church secession law is constitutional

The Washington Times
Virginia judge affirms parish property rights

U.S. Episcopal Church dissidents win court ruling

Chicago Tribune
Va. judge sides with breakaway Episcopal churches

This last article starts:

A Civil War-era law that lets Virginia churches keep their property when leaving a denomination where a “division” has occurred is constitutional, a county judge ruled Friday (June 27), siding with 11 former Episcopal parishes.

Fairfax County Judge Randy I. Bellows’ ruling on the 1867 law stops short of awarding the property to the parishes, but it hands them a major legal win. “It’s a resounding victory and very broad,” said Steffen Johnson, lead counsel for several of the congregations. “There are just a few loose ends to tie up.”

Dave Walker in the Church Times blog has Judge sides with breakaway Episcopal churches in Virginia. This includes links to two earlier Church Times articles which give the background to this case.

Here is the response of the Diocese of Virginia to the court’s ruling.
Court Issues Opinion on Division Statute Constitutionality and Other Statutory Issues
This includes links to the texts of the rulings.


Petertide comments

Giles Fraser in the Church Times Family love is a model of injustice

Robert O’Neill asks in The Guardian Do we need a global Anglican communion?. His answer is a resounding and heartfelt “yes”.

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah in a Face to faith article in The Guardian Judaism has had to evolve to survive, and Anglicanism must too. She asks “Is Anglicanism a form of progressive Christianity – and if so, what are its progressive credentials?”

Roderick Strange in the credo column at the Times Genuine conversion unveils our hidden depths

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph that the bees are back at Lambeth Palace. The riddle of the golden syrup tin

Stephen Bates in The Guardian Barack Obama and the Jesus Machine – “Televangelist James Dobson has come out against Obama. But the Democrat might just carry religious voters with him anyway.”


GAFCON: Friday evening

updated late Friday

More from Jerusalem

Riazat Butt in The Guardian At Gafcon, who calls the shots? subtitled “White conservative Anglican clergy are beginning to pull the strings, squeezing their African brothers out of the picture”

Damian Thompson in the Telegraph There is no Anglican schism
and Dr Nazir-Ali is being exploited at Gafcon

George Conger in Religious Intelligence Anglican traditionalists set to form a ‘church within a church’

Paul Handley in the Church Times blog GAFCON: Keeping the final communiqué under wraps


+Chane on gay marriage

John Bryson Chane (Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington DC) writes in The Guardian The framing of mutual joy where he argues that “Our church’s evolving attitude has led us to the point where we must consider gay marriage”.


GAFCON: Friday morning

Today’s Church Times has these four reports from Paul Handley.
GAFCON Churches ‘will stay in the fold’
Akinola: Lambeth betrayed us
Dr Nazir-Ali: ‘Inculturation has limits’
It’s conscience, say Lambeth absentees

There is also his latest blog entry posted last night.
Will a new structure emerge from GAFCON?

There is also this leader.
The GAFCON Reformation


Scottish General Synod

We linked to official reports of this month’s meeting of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church here, here and here.

The Church Times now has this report Bishops in Scotland defeat membership proposal by Margaret Duggan. Although the title refers to one particular item before the synod, the article is a full report of all three day’s business.


GAFCON: Thursday evening

updated late Thursday evening

Reports of GAFCON itself

George Pitcher in the Telegraph Anti-gay bishops are after power, not truth

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Gafcon: Orthodox Anglicans feel betrayed by church structure

George Conger in Religious Intelligence Israel Minister welcomes Gafcon ‘pilgrims’ to Jerusalem

Judith Sudilovsky at Episcopal Life Online Nazir-Ali to boycott Lambeth Conference as ‘matter of conscience’

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Formation of a ‘church within a church’ for conservative Anglicans

And a comment from someone who has been reporting from GAFCON but today attended a different event in Jerusalem.

Iain Baxter in the Guardian comment is free section Marching with pride in Jerusalem


GAFCON: Thursday lunchtime

More from Jerusalem

Riazat Butt in The Guardian writes about yesterday’s comments by Canon Vinay Samuel and other matters in Anglican conservative accuses ‘relic’ Williams of colonial mindset

Robert Pigott at the BBC Bishops turning back on Lambeth

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Liberals are tearing apart church, says Anglican bishop [The bishop is Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes.]

George Conger in Religious Intelligence writes that American conservatives ‘are not bank-rolling Gafcon’.

And an article on the background to some of the current disputes.

The BBC has Anglican rift: Conservative v Liberal in which “a conservative and a liberal – Paul Eddy, of the Conservative Anglican network in the UK and Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal diocese of California – spell out their views on six key points of disagreement.”


GAFCON: Wednesday evening

More again from Jerusalem

Paul Handley in his Church Times blog writes about going to Herod’s Temple with the GAFCON pilgrims GAFCON: At Herod’s temple.

Ruth Gledhill reports in her blog at The Times What’s going on at Gafcon that Howard Ahmanson has been seen at GAFCON with a delegate’s badge around his neck.

Riazat Butt writes in her blog at The Guardian on Gafcon’s plans for the future of the Anglican Communion.

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph reports what Canon Vinay Samuel said Gafcon: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams branded ‘a historical relic’.

Damian Thompson in his Holy Smoke blog in the Telegraph writes about Dr Nazir-Ali in The alternative Archbishop of Canterbury.

David van Biema writes in Time Threat of Anglican Schism Fizzles.


GAFCON: Wednesday lunchtime

More from Jerusalem

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Conservative Anglicans aim to avoid split
and Gafcon: Hardline Anglicans to form new church over homosexual clergy

Paul Handley in the Church Times blog GAFCON: ‘It’s the beginning of a movement’
and GAFCON security


GAFCON: more on +Rochester

Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian about last night’s speech by the Bishop of Rochester: Christians must recover nerve, says Nazir-Ali.

A 38-minute recording of the bishop’s speech is now available in the AnglicanTV GAFCON archives or directly here.


Bishop of Guildford on Women Bishops

Ruth Gledhill in her Times blog reports that the Bishop of Guildford has said Give trads their own diocese. This refers to an open letter from the bishop which is online here and is copied here below the fold.



GAFCON: Tuesday evening news and comment

Riazat Butt in The Guardian has Cracks begin to show at summit discussing gay clergy rift and an audio report Church summit: ‘For them it’s all about homosexuality’.
Matthew Davies at Episcopal Life Online writes Conservative Anglicans meeting in Jerusalem struggle to find a united voice.
Ruth Gledhill writes in The Times Anglican Church schism recedes over gay issue with African leaders and on her blog Gafcon: ‘There will be no split’.

The bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, spoke to GAFCON this evening; please see our article below for details of this.

Paul Handley writes in the Church Times blog What will come out of GAFCON?.
Stephen Bates writes in the Guardian’s Comment is Free page Vicious hot air currents.
The first leader in today’s Guardian is Clerical errors.

On his blog Mark Russell (Chief Executive of Church Army and a member of the Archbishops’ Council) writes about the need for leaders to talk to those with whom they disagree in Countdown to Lambeth.

Anglican TV is in Jerusalem and has both live and archived video. The live video is also carried on GAFCON’s own website here.

There is a gallery of photos at Gafcon’s Public Gallery.


GAFCON: Bishop of Rochester's speech

The bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, spoke to GAFCON this evening on “The Nature and Future of the Anglican Communion”.

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph reports on his speech Western world is losing Christian values, says leading bishop.
Ruth Gledhill in her Times blog writes Nazir-Ali: there must be development in terms of doctrine.