Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth and GAFCON

Updated Tuesday evening

At yesterday’s press conference about Lambeth 2008, Rowan Williams was asked about GAFCON. He replied:

I think it’s important to remember that before the last Lambeth, and indeed on other occasions, there have been major international gatherings — regionally or in other ways constructed — preparing for Lambeth, and I am very happy to see such regional events going forward. But I do have real concerns that in this case there are unresolved issues for the local Church, for the Church in Jerusalem, which has pinpointed some anxieties about having such a conference at this time in the Holy Land. I really hope they can be addressed.

Here is a link to the Bishop in Jerusalem’s earlier press statement.

More recently, the Bishop in Jerusalem held two meetings about the GAFCON proposal, separately with the Archbishop of Sydney and then two days later with the Primate of Nigeria. The minutes of both those meetings can be found here.

This is reported on the Guardian website in Bishops attack rival summit for Anglican clergy in Holy Land by Riazat Butt.

Update
Further reports on this:

Episcopal News Service has GAFCON organizers challenge Jerusalem bishop’s concerns for planned Holy Land event by Matthew Davies

Ruth Gledhill has Gafcon ‘disastrous’ for Holy Land says local bishop on her blog and Rival Lambeth conference ‘disastrous’ for Jerusalem in Times Online.

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poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

the usual mealy mouthed nonsense from this failure of an archbishop

MJ
Guest
MJ

It’s important to remember that, even though they were aware of +Dawani’s concerns:

+Duncan issued invitations to GAFCON BEFORE +Jensen and +Akinola had met with +Dawani.

Chris Sugden wrote his piece on GAFCON for the Church Times BEFORE he attended these two meetings.

There was never any intention from the GAFCON leadership to change their plans.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

This record of these exchanges demonstrates an arrogance even I would not have ascribed to these men. I shall watch with care to see how this is reported by Jonathan Petre and Ruth Gledhill.

They seem so convinced by the rightness of their false claims to orthodoxy – so unable to perceive the false alliances that have been forged in the hot fire of homophobia – so blind to their total insensitivity – so unwilling to have their freedom curbed.

If it wasn’t so dangerous and life threatening it would be pathetic.

Justin Lewis-Anthony
Guest

Thank you for making the minutes of those two meetings widely available Simon. They are priceless! The contrast between the two archbishops (Jenson and Akinola) is startling. “Archbishop Akinola…said that he could not see how this conference could become a “political problem”. He stressed that liberty was important for Africa and that he could not allow anyone to tell his community what to do and to say.” In other words…”Don’t you oppress me!” “Archbishop Akinola then said, that this was a pilgrimage and wondered what the difference was to other pilgrimages. Well what is it? A pilgrimage or a conference?… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“We do not want to see any further dividing walls!” Prolly not the thing to say to people who are busy building as many walls as they can! “The Orthodox churches did not welcome this language.” But, Sir, I thought the people using this language WERE the orthodox. No? Then maybe they’d better be allowed to go to Jerusalem after all. I’m sure the Greek Patriarch would have something to say about these upstarts trying to call themselves “orthodox”. I liked the way that it was pointed out to +Akinola that indigenous Christians in the Holy Land were just as… Read more »

Dirk Reinken
Guest
Dirk Reinken

+Akinola’s best way out of this, if he is being as genuine as he claims, is to simply open the pilgrimage to all bishops of the Anglican Communion. What a marvelous way to prepare for Lambeth by taking a retreat to the Holy Land and seeing first hand how intractable positions deepen conflict and entrench divisions.

Of course, to do so would undercut his own strategy (or Minns’ and Duncan’s) . . .

Dr. J.A. Works
Guest
Dr. J.A. Works

Perhaps in the “spirit” of GAFCON the Archbishop of Canterbury might consider a pilgrimage to Abuja to represent those millions of faithful Anglicans excluded from priestly ordination, Nigerian women.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“We’re focusing on pilgrimage. It’s not a matter of resolutions and debates.” Be nice if that were the truth, but does “Canon Dr” Sugden expect anyone to believe his statement, given events to date?

Prior Aelred
Guest

It is interesting that the ABC thinks that it is important for bishops with different points of view meet for the sake of discussing their differences — except for those who he has refused to invite!

Archbishop Akinola reminds me of something that one of my professors once said, “If you ever meet a man who knows the truth, run as fast as you can, because that is a dangerous man.”

Gillian Barr
Guest
Gillian Barr

How is this: “but [Akinola] said that he could not see how this conference could become a “political problem”. He stressed that liberty was important for Africa and that he could not allow anyone to tell his community what to do and to say. He repeated that his interests were not political, and that his major concern was about how to grow and how to be strengthened and exchange experiences.” different from this (paraphrase of events from 2003 to present)…. The TEC HOB apologizes for not realizing the impact their actions would have in other parts of the Communion and… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

“regionally or in other ways constructed — preparing for Lambeth, and I am very happy to see such regional events going forward.”

Talk about in denial! – I have:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/01/canterbury-in-denial.html

Just as the Archbishop of Canterbury has nothing to offer Fred Hiltz other than his expression of disapproval, so in the end the Bishop in Jerusalem can only withhold his warm greetings. Thus Jerusalem they come. Sound the horn!

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Didn’t the Bishop of Jerusalem propose a compromise solution: have the GAFCON Conference on Cyprus and then go on pilgrimage of the Holy Land? Or is the great Cardinal Archbishop and Metropolitan of Abuja so high-ranking that it would be an insult to him even to suggest a compromise solution?

Malcolm+
Guest

I don’t have much use for Jensen, but at least he didn’t act like a complete idiot throughout.

As for Akinola, he has made it indisputably clear that all he is interested in is preaching hate.

A little disruption in the middle east. A little controversy. Maybe a little violence. Perhaps the odd dead Arab Christian.

A small price in Akinola’s eyes, so long as he gets to preach hate.

What an odious man.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Apparently, it’s okay. We don’t have to worry. It’s not a conference now, it’s a pilgrimage. They had one of those in Tanzania too, and they had pilgrims moving between one and the other and changing the agenda of one to implement the outcomes of the other. But, as Rowan points out, this is nothing unusual in the Anglican Communion. Nor am I surprised at the lack of empathy for the local Jerusalem diocese’s concerns. One of the key players is already well known as being so holy that he no longers requires empathy with the unsaved. That’s why an… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Well Prior
Jesus not only knew the truth, he is the “Truth.” Are you following your professors advice to a “T” by running away from Him?

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

First of all go to Jensen’s website and hear his talk, ” Why I am a Protestant”…classic line, ” No Archbishop of Sydney attends Mass.” This is the man, Bishops Schofield and Iker will embrace as their orthodox brother.Remeber Reform condemning the Jewish-Christian lighting of candles in Westmisnter Abbey before Christmas…its ” wrong ” they asserted to pretend that we agree about God. Well there is no agreement amongst Reform as to what the Bible states on divorce..so they pretend there is no division, by leaving it out of their solemn Covenant to the God of Truth!! There is no… Read more »

Neil Barber
Guest
Neil Barber

Bishop in Jerusalem: “It could also have serious consequences for our ongoing ministry of reconciliation in this divided land. Indeed, it could further inflame tensions here.” Am I the only one who is mystified? What are the serious consequences for his ongoing ministry of reconciliation from a meeting of orthodox Anglican Bishops? How could tensions be further inflamed by the same? Please forgive my ignorance if that is what I am showing. I can see why he might prefer Lambeth and disapprove of this initiative in principle. I can see there are security challenges but they’re GAFCON’s problem surely? I… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

There was only one Jesus.
Anyone else saying they have a copyright on TRUTH should be dealt with as the Prior’s former prof. advised.

As one of my former mentors so sagely observed,
fanatics are all alike.

Pluralist
Guest

The Syro-Phoenician Woman story has Jesus learning, so therefore on that basis he did not know it all – he changed his mind. He also appointed an unreliable disciple and he also thought that before the generation passed away the Kingdom would be fully established. So Jesus as “The Truth” is not a know it all. I think in the Canterbury Communion we are allowed to say this (I’d say it anyway but you get the drift).

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Neil:

There has been a great deal of anti-Christian sentiment among the Palestinians. Anything occurring in that region that attracts attention to those Christians further enflames passions…especially if it is possible that GAFCON could bring with it protests from those on the other side of the issues involved.

Further, it is simply bad manners for a bunch of bishops to hold a meeting in another bishop’s diocese or province without his permission. It’s rather like holding a party at somebody’s house and not asking first.

Peter of Westminster
Guest
Peter of Westminster

Yes, but looked at from another angle, fanatics, locked in their narrow visions of the world and of spirit, tend to see themselves as rather different, one from the next. Tolerant and loving people, no matter the cultural and religious divisions between them, find a much greater commonality among themselves than do fanatics. (I suspect it’s the love — that unitive affect that, finally, is so much more than mere affect.) This is cause for hope, I think.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Neil Barber, How about the fact that the bishop of the diocese, who, one assumes, knows the local situation better than a bishop from another country thousands of miles away, says it will cause problems in his diocese. +Akinola is continually going on about how people in other places are frocing him to accept things he doesn’t like, and ignore the concerns of people like himself. He then says to the first bishop “Well, I can’t understand why you think this will be a problem in your diocese, so we’re going anyway. Besides, despite the fact that we have called… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Thank you Pluralist — nevertheless, it seems to be true that some people prefer certitude to the truth (for faith, as Merton pointed out, always involves doubt — the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certitude).

Peter of Westminster — quite so.

Does ++Rowan actually believe what he said (or should one say, does he believe that “GAFPIL” is actually an example of what he describes)?

Malcolm+
Guest

Neil, do you live in Jerusalem? Pretendy Pope Peter certainly doesn’t. You may be truly mystified. My reading of the minutes leads me the conclusion that the Messers Akinola and Sugden are (with the best possible gloss) stupid as cardboard or (in a more realistic interpretation) arrogant and dishonest. The Bishop in Jerusalem seems a fairly level-headed chap. He thinks this hatefest is liable to be a problem. His primate agrees with him. And both of them hold to this position despite being in general sympathy with the perpetrators on the besetting issue. So, shall I give the strongest credibility… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

Neil, I don’t know if you know Jerusalem but it is a cauldron of intra-Christian rivalries and sensitivities, and that is even before you add in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Jerusalem Christians are Arabs) and the Christian-Muslim tensions. This is a very volatile and delicate city – I though everyone knew that. One of the points the bishop of Jerusalem made was that GAFCON has offended the orthodox – that is, not the new church of Nigeria, but the ancient orthodox presence in Jerusalem which goes back in an unbroken succession of patriarchs to St James in the first century AD.… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Well done Badman, Malcolm and others who demonstrated empathy. That’s a symptom of God’s love: being able to imagine another’s circumstances and appreciate what would help or exacerbate their conditions. Some souls’ blindness to how their conduct could exacerbate local conditions in Jerusalem is consistent with their blindness to how their conduct in vilifying women and colluding with pedophiles exacerbates the local conditions in a household. 1 John 3:10 “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child… Read more »

Stephen Roberts
Guest
Stephen Roberts

+Akinola: “liberty was important for Africa and that he could not allow anyone to tell his community what to do and to say” The hypocrisy in this is quite outstanding. It is +Akinola et. al busy telling the rest of the Anglican Communion what to do and what to say. How +Akinola of all people can make an appeal to the individuality of constituent parts of the communion is frankly amazing. Now it appears that where three are more are gathered in GAFCON’s name, everyone else can go to hell. Had +Akinola been listening, he would have heard the concerns… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I’m just wondering if the Israeli Government is financing GAFCON to counteract the Christian Churches which are supportive of the Palestinians?

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

Robert:

I have a theory along those lines actually, but nowadays to utter that would open us to charges of anti-Semitism. (Anti-Zionism = anti-semitism, says the Jewish establishment.)

In any case, I do think that if anyone stands to benefit from this, it is the Religious Right, who in my country, publish ads expressing support for the State of Israel (and implicitly oppose things like a Palestinian entity) on Israel’s independence day.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I’m not anti- jewish as I have Jewish family. I believe the holocaust occured and the right to a Jewish homeland.

The Anglican Church in Israel is interesting. You have outposts of fundamental evangelicalism ( affiliated to the Church’s minsistry amongst the jews)…one such Church, being Christchurch, Jerusalem…and you have the indigenous Arab ( largely ex Catholic , high church and liberal) Palestinian Church. Both live uncomfortably together as the evangelicals are fervent Zionists. Its my bet if GAFCON goes to Jeruaslem, they will use Christchurch.

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

Of course, my problem with Zionism is that it took a different shape after the 1940s. The same people who suffered the Holocaust sometimes use this suffering to justify the suffering of others. However, if Christians are really true to their heritage, they should not side with people who declare war upon their Jewish forebears. I hope that the same people who decry violence against gays and lesbians would decry violence against the tree against which we are all grafted. I am not saying that GAFCON is right in doing what they are doing, but I need not remind all… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

Further to my last comments:

I don’t think that all Muslims are terrorists, but I hope I’m not wrong about this. I have a feeling that public support in certain Muslim countries for the likes of Hamas, for example, is significant enough to be a concern.

More importantly, my concern is indeed, like the Bishop in Jerusalem, for Christians who are being persecuted for their beliefs in largely Muslim societies. My disgust with the way this is being tolerated often makes me wonder whether interreligious dialogue between Muslims and Christians is possible at all.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Ren: I think the situation in Israel/Palestine is a lot more complicated than “people declaring war upon our Jewish forebears.” There are issues of unresolved property seizure; and the goading of the Palestinians into resentment; as well as the more simple moral issue of whether a violent response is ever appropriate.

The complexities of the Northern Ireland terrorist situation were similarly quite lost on the successive American administrations who allowed the IRA to raise funds for its bomb-making openly there over many years.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Lets not forget the lay presidency time bomb in the hold of the Good ship GAFCON, it’s ticking away. Isn’t any one here worried that the Anglo-Catholic participants may get blown up?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

The biggest problem with some conflicts is the “victim” mentality which does worst-case scenario of “what if we lose”. Some souls have forgotten what the cost of victory is. Some souls purport to be the earthly representatives of the God of gods, responsible for meting out justice and mercy to all humanity (e.g. Psalms 73:8-12). They forget that they demonstrate hypocrisy, deceit, oppression, vilification, fear, greed, complacency, selfishness, elitism, idolatry. They have no right to purport to represent the God of gods responsible for mercy, compassion and justice. They refute and throw away these very traits for a short-term victory… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

Fr. Mark: I may agree that it is as complex as that, but it is hard to deny the emotional power of what the Jewish people have struggled for. After the Holocaust, in which a significant proportion of the world’s Jews were killed, it was more urgent for them to “go home.” I have been inspired by their struggle to build a new country and what they have achieved. Sadly the cost was, as Cheryl and you have pointed out, that violence had to be used in the process. I think that the Bishop in Jerusalem knows that rubbing salt… Read more »

Patti USA
Guest
Patti USA

It’s amazing how a few African and South American Bishops can dictate to ALL Anglicans what is and is not acceptable. They didn’t even have the common curtsey to ask the Bishop of Jerusalem to hold a conference in his diocese! Sheesh! When will Anglicans wake up and put an end to this African takeover?!?