Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON will send ‘wrong signals’

The Melbourne Anglican has a major article this month about Bishop Suheil Dawani’s recent visit to Australia, titled Bishops’ meeting will send ‘wrong signals’.

Another senior bishop has signalled his intent to be involved in the controversial Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) gathering to be held in the Diocese of Jerusalem before the Lambeth Conference this year. This surprising participant is the Bishop of Jerusalem himself, who pleaded with GAFCON organisers last month to hold the event elsewhere.

“It’s happening, they are coming,” said Bishop Suheil Dawani during a visit to Australia in February. “I will be there. I cannot ignore such a gathering. But I’ll give them our message of unity, of how the church must also be united, and of the importance of our ministry in Jerusalem and all over the world.”

Bishop Dawani told TMA that he is nervous about the impact of such a controversial conference in an area which is already beset by violent disputes and hardship. The Diocese of Jerusalem, made up of twenty-nine parishes, covers five countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, all of which are familiar with division and hostility. Thirty-four institutions of the Anglican Church provide vital health care, education, aged care and disability care to the region, as well as care and hope to people who are traumatised by the uncertainty and violence around them, par-ticularly in Palestine…

…The GAFCON gathering, he believes, may undermine the Anglican Church’s credibility in setting this example, and he said he was disappointed that the GAFCON organisers did not seem to listen to his concerns, although GAFCON organisers have since split the conference between Jordan and Jerusalem, with the Jerusalem component called a “pilgrimage”.

“In Jerusalem, we face so many problems, we are challenged on a daily basis to be with each other, and that’s why we are so involved in ecumenical and interfaith activities. These things [at GAFCON] will be misunderstood by people, and will give the wrong signals to people in Palestine and Jordan. It is very controversial, it is the wrong time and the wrong place.”

“I hope that at Lambeth we can witness a new era of coming together and put our differences aside,” he said. “If we have differences, we have to discuss it internally in good spirit, because our people are looking to us. If our people see division, and we are not coming with a good spirit, it will affect their spirit, and their lives. We don’t want to be an obstacle for our people. I hope that Lambeth will get a new spirit for Anglicans all over the world.

See also Arrogant Archbishop’s protest conference ignores own advice from the Canberra Times.

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16 years ago

Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly.

The problem is that they will use him. He will go and give his contrary message to theirs, but he will give credibility by his presence. He’s brave but better if he’d have stayed away. Whilst people should talk across boundaries, this is a conference driven mainly by those who won’t talk across boundaries.

Cheryl Va.
16 years ago

I think the Canberra Times makes an excellent point. It is just bad manners to hold a conference in a city without an invitation from, and especially against the protestations of, the governing bishop.

If they were going to hold such a conference, they should have held it in their own territory and offered their own hospitality.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
16 years ago

GAFCON is built on a lie that there is such a thing as Orthodox Anglicanism. In reality ( despite self deception) Anglo-Catholicisnm and Evangelicalism are two contradictory interpretations of Christianity.They have been struggling and fighting with each other over the last 150 years to capture the soul of Anglicanism..and now they are prepared to lay down their arms ( albeit temprarily) over Homosexuality and womens ordiantion ( to al esser extent)!

How ironic when one sees that one of the Evangelical accusations against Anglo-catholicism was that it ewas a religion of ” sodomites” and totally “unmanly”!

16 years ago

I walked into a parish church the other day (central Virginia, U.S.) that the music director called “orthodox Episcopal”. After scanning the free standing altar, 1979 Prayer Book, and the names of five female vestry members printed in the order of service, my reply was a question-Which “orthodoxy”?

The evensong that followed used the 1982 Hymnal for plainsong psalm chant tunes. I mentioned the lack of “Amens” at the end of hymns, and I got a blank look from the high church priest after officiating at the service.

Did I say “Picking and Choosing??”

Sorry, hate that when that happens.

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