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


  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    Andrew Brown comments re the acronym ‘Foca’ that it is not pronounced in the obvious way. I suspect this is another example of English people and Americans being divided by a common language.

    At the risk of encountering something vulgar, would someone explain? I’d guess the pronunciation variations could be hard or soft ‘c’? Long or short ‘o’ or ‘a’?

    Feeling dim.

  • Merseymike says:

    Ummm…its something vulgar, Cynthia, in an English accent.

  • Karen B. says:

    The Guardian has utterly made up the acronym FOCA. I can find no indication that anyone at GAFCON actually used that acronym.

    If you read the conservative Anglican blogs (Stand Firm, TitusOneNine, etc.) you’ll see much discussion of what acronym / name SHOULD be used:

    Confessing Anglican Fellowship (CAF) ??
    Global Anglican Communion ?
    Global Anglican Future Movement ?

    There is no official name, and no consensus. And NO one but the Guardian is using FOCA that I can see.

  • Merseymike says:

    Oh, I think FOCA will do just fine….particularly if it annoys the fundies!

  • Padre Mickey says:

    Oh please; you can’t beat FOCA!

  • Susan Rood says:

    If my American church had heeded the Apostle’s admonition as quoted by the ABC, “Wait for one another,” five years ago, the Anglican Communion would not be faced with the current crisis. Wait for one another indeed. Would that we Americans had done that.

  • Meet the Fockers was a movie with Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand playing the Fockers. Brits pronounce Fockers as focas with a hard C.

    Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans comes right out of the Gafcon Statement, or as the Presiding Bishop calls it, emission.

    Yes, I am a pedant.

  • JPM says:

    How about Global Anglican Group (GAG)?

  • EHP says:

    Sorry, Karen B.
    Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is used in the Jerusalem Declaration at least three times, including as a sub-title. It does not surprise me that participants in “conservative Anglican blogs” are going to great trouble to devise other names and/or acronyms for this new entity. They can see, just as the Guardian did, that this group made an embarrassing blunder by emphasising such a phrase, even if it was not given an “official standing”. Mind you, it is hard to work out who will have authority to provide official standing,or even to recognise a consensus, should one emerge.

    It appears that the compilers of the Jerusalem Declaration were so preoccupied with looking back to 1662, and so keenly hoping for the heavens to open, that they didn’t notice a very unfortunate bit of phraseology.

    Well done The Guardian, and well done everyone else who noticed that a group who describe themselves as a FOCA are inviting derision.

    Edward Prebble
    Diocese of Waiapu, NZ

  • “… over their opposition to the liberal “re-writing” of the Bible…”

    Once again, the Good Book was rewritten in 12th century Paris (Scolastic Versio vulgata), 16th century Neo Humanist Renaissance (Calvinism/Absolutism) and in the 1940ies Dynamic Equivalence anything goes of the Calvinist NY Bible Society…

    … meaning the material language of Bible Greek (epithymía = Greed) was sexualised by stealth (epithumía = “covet”, non Chastity).

  • Malcolm+ says:

    Yet another communications cock-up from the “conservative” amateur hour.

    When naming things (even in a provisional way) only an idiot does so without considering the likely acronyms.

    There is no Scarborough Heights Institute of Technology, nor is there ever likely to be.

  • Gareth Morgan says:

    I have to disagree with Karen B. Whilst the Guardian may have initiated the phrase FOCA, it seems to have caught on (witness discussion thread on Ship of Fools) for example and may well become common currency for describing these confessing Anglicans. I notice the Daily Telegraph uses it this morning as well.

    One would hardly expect Stand Firm and TitusOneNine to own such an embarrassing acronym once the implications of it became widely known and a bit of a joke.

    The more critical may call this just desserts!

    Anyway, they’re in good company along with the Federal Office of Civil Aviation in Switzerland and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations and there is already a Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America though I think that might have more to do with the Eastern church than any conservative notion of orthodox faith.

  • Graham Ward says:

    “The Guardian has utterly made up the acronym FOCA….you’ll see much discussion of what acronym / name SHOULD be used”

    Maybe, but the GAFCON Final Statement clearly announces (in bold type) that they see themselves as “A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans” and goes on to say “We are a fellowship of people united in the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and pray together in the common mission of Christ. It is a confessing fellowship in that its members confess the faith of Christ crucified, stand firm for the gospel in the global and Anglican context, and affirm a contemporary rule, the Jerusalem Declaration, to guide the movement for the future. We are a fellowship of Anglicans, including provinces, dioceses, churches, missionary jurisdictions, para-church organisations and individual Anglican Christians whose goal is to reform, heal and revitalise the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world.”
    I don’t see any major inaccuracies in the way this has been reported.

  • Hugh of Lincoln says:

    The Bishop of Canterbury hath no jurisdiction not even in this realm of England…

    I suppose if St Bart’s can adapt 1662, we should allow the Focas.

  • Dan Baynes says:

    Good to see some light-hearted comment here, particularly from everyone who wishes the Communion to be a Denomination of Inclusive Churches, including a British Union of Generous (Gay?) Anglicans….

    It did occur to me that since the Americans formally rejected their “Protestantism” they have borne the acronym ECUSA for years without worrying too much about how it might be read diabolically….

    Right off the subject to continue the humorous vein, years ago my father wrote a letter-of-the-week to the CEN satirising FIF and proposing the creation of a vestment-honouring organisation to be called Forward In Scarf and Hood.

    He actually got a letter from some sorry fellow complaining that the post office didn’t recognise the address given! Also a congratulatory one from Michael Saward suggesting those in favour form the Band Uniting Godly Gospel Evangelical Reformers Opposing Faithless Fellowship.

    You read it first on ThinkingAnglicans 😉

  • Kennedy says:

    Is there a meeting of this new grouping in UK tonight (Tuesday)?

    It’s just that, according to, BBC3 has something on at 7:30pm called ‘Meet the Fockers’.

    However, the description of the protagonists as including ‘…earth mother sex therapist and hippy househusband…’ and ‘…are utterly credible…’ seems somewhat at variance with the pronouncements from Jerusalem.

  • Dan Baynes says:

    “Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations”

    If such a fed. exists, referring to it exclusively by its acronym would be a mercy!

    Meanwhile I wonder at whether the Guardian is more cheeky than self-blind to have headed an article “Meet the Focas” after a week of dispatching Riazat to Jerusalem to report on Gafcon. Really, I mean – anyone but that, or for any religious story but this! Perhaps we’re all too polite to make the paper the – er – object of jokes and derision?

  • Louise says:

    Re:FOCA, The Guardian may have been the first to run with the abbreviation, but as far as I can tell the name of the new body was first reported in the press as “Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans” and capitalised in Ruth Gledhill’s piece in The Sunday Times,

    “The Anglican Church faces what is in effect a schism this weekend after the declaration last night of conservative evangelicals to create a “church within a church”. The new body, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, will have its own bishops, clergy and theological colleges.”

    Sunday Times, 29th June

    It would be interesting to know whether Ruth Gledhill and Riazat Butt both came to the same conclusion about the name independently, due to the wording of the initial press release. If so, then alas the GAFCON PR team probably have no-one to blame for their ‘FOCA’ up but themselves.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    “If my American church had heeded the Apostle’s admonition as quoted by the ABC, “Wait for one another,” five years ago, the Anglican Communion would not be faced with the current crisis. Wait for one another indeed. Would that we Americans had done that.”

    Wait how long? Forever? Did Christ wait for the Jews to come to his position? Eventually, one must make a decision as to whether or not to follow his own conscience or hang back, waiting for others to agree.

  • Andrew Brown says:

    I am the Guardian in this context, and I did not make the name up. I found it in Ruth Gledhill’s report in the Sunday Times, which starts: “The Anglican Church faces what is in effect a schism this weekend after the declaration last night of conservative evangelicals to create a ‘church within a church’. The new body, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, will have its own bishops, clergy and theological colleges.”

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    “The Guardian has utterly made up the acronym FOCA.”

    If so, Thank You Guardian!

  • Adrian says:

    I think the whole thing is very sad and those who attended GAFCON as an ‘alternative Lambeth’ broke faith with the rest of the church. Surely the way forward is through dialogue and reasoned debate, not through people going their own way because events in a particular part of the Communion don’t ‘fit’ their ecclesiology and understanding of Scrpture.

  • Richard says:

    Andrew Brown said, “I am the Guardian in this context”.

    L’etat, c’est Andrew? (Sorry, Andrew!)

    Perhaps worse than FOCA’s failure to notice their acronym is their theft of the title ‘confessing’ from Bonhoeffer (as I believe they tried to so once before following a meeting with Rowan). Poor, oppressed ‘confessing Anglicans’ fighting the liberals as Bonhoeffer’s ‘confessing church’ struggled against the Nazis – no, I don’t buy it either. Their persecution complex is worthy of someone’s doctorate thesis…

  • Oh dear, and the acronym is already in use:

    Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America (dates from 1927)

    Freedom of Choice Act known by its opponents as “Freedom for Partial-Birth Abortionists Act”

    Foca laundry detergent

    As noted by a previous commenter,
    Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations

  • Addendum: More usage in the present context.
    “Dr Williams raises some valid points about the Gafcon Primates who will oversee the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Foca) set up at the weekend.”

  • Treebeard says:

    I just love these f-ckers oops FOCAs, so much already ! I can feel genuine affection for them under this name ! The Lord must be using it to loosen my chuckle muscles !

    Gaggers or gaging doesnt really do it, somehow….

    and As for those Ontario Cottagers ….

  • andrewdb says:

    I believe this is also the Fellowship of Christian Anglers Society (truly, they are fishermen…) See

  • Peter Owen says:

    We are starting to receive comments, on this and other threads, which appear to be little more than an attempt to think up the most vulgar acronym for those we disagree with. You’ve had your fun and I don’t intend to approve these in future.

  • Bernard Rumbold says:

    Funny Old Conservative Archbishops that they might be, I, as a humble parish priest of lovely 60s liberal leanings, don’t want to be told by Brothers Jensen, Akinola et al what I must and must not believe here in England. I thought we had got rid of control freaks with Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell! We are a Communion – not a Confession!

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