Updated again Sunday evening
On the one hand, two papers have been [re-]published on the GAFCON site, which are “to add to the understanding of the background to the Global Anglican Future Conference”:
On the other hand, Michael Poon from Singapore, writing on the Global South Anglican site, has asked the GAFCON organisers some very good questions:
“Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” — but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 9: 23-24)
I am saddened and shocked by the Statement on “The Global Anglican Future Conference, June 15-22, The Holy Land”, issued on December 26, 2007. Perhaps the Primates responsible need to clarify their views on the matter.
1. On what basis was the Statement “announced by Orthodox Primates”? What is the basis of orthodoxy? Historically, the Communion takes Canon A5 “Doctrine of the Church of England” and C15 “On the Preface to the Declaration of Assent” of the Church of England as the basis of its belief. This underpins Section 2 (“The Faith we share”) of the proposed Anglican Covenant. On what basis did the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Southern Cone, and Tanzania declare themselves as orthodox primates?
2. Did the Primates at Nairobi act on their personal capacity or as primates of their respective churches that “represent over 30 million of the 55 million active Anglicans in the world”? It would be helpful if the Primates and bishops are able to have their Statement ratified through due process by their Provincial/National/Diocesan Synods.
3. Has the Global South Anglican Primates Steering Committee endorsed this Statement? So far, it has remained silent on the matter. It is important to note that the authority of the Global South Anglican “movement” and of the Steering Committee arise from the South-South Encounter and most recently the Kigali Meeting in 2006. The Global South represents a broad spectrum of Anglican churches that hold onto the historic faith and ecclesiology informed by the historic formularies. It does not answer to the dictates of the radical evangelical wings within the Communion. It is regrettable that Asia, West Indies, and Middle East are glaring omissions among the “conveners” of the proposed Conference. Have they been consulted? Have they rejected the proposal? In their place, we find names of colleagues (with due respect) from a particular strand in the Northern churches. Why was this Statement issued with such haste? And without broader representation?
4. Was the Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem of the Middle East consulted? After all the proposed Conference takes place in Jerusalem? Furthermore, by holding it in Jerusalem, it makes it quite impossible for orthodox Christians from Muslim countries to attend. And yet, what is that insignificant minority in the face of powerful numerical blocs?
What should our discipleship be at this stage? Primates are pledged to uphold the unity and the faith of the church, and not their private judgments and personalities—even their interpretation of orthodoxy. Please be constructive in your decisions at this stage.
Feast of Thomas Becket, 2007
Michael Poon has asked some more questions, see Michael Poon asks Archbishop Peter Jensen for clarification on several crucial points. The article is too long to add in full here, but the first two questions are as follows:
1. What is the particular nature of the crisis before the Communion today?
2. What are the particular heritage within the Anglican history you wish to retain?
And, as noted in a comment below, the following editorial note appears on the Global South Anglican homepage:
Editorial note: Both Dr Michael Poon and Archbishop Jensen have articles featured on this site regularly. It will be in the interest of our readers and Anglican faithful that we continue some open conversations on the nature and direction that our Communion is taking. This is a critical time for our Communion and churches. If we are just fighting for biblical orthodoxy and nothing else, we might as well splinter into independent churches. Even ‘mission’ is not a good enough reason to be together – for we are working quite well across denominational boundaries. If it is both biblical orthodoxy AND the catholic order of our Church with our identity/mission as an ecclesial family, then it calls for careful, deeper reflection, longterm vision and clarity in our strategy – that the 2003 crisis and our subsequent responses may not tear the fabric of our Communion even further.
And, as also mentioned in comments, there is this report from a Kent newspaper:
… GAFCON spokesman Canon Chris Sugden would not be drawn on whether or not Dr Williams would be invited to the rival conference. He said: “Of course, the Archbishop will be preoccupied with the Lambeth Conference, but no decisions have been made yet.”
A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop of Canterbury would not be making any comment on the alternative conference…