Thinking Anglicans

Inclusive Church and GAFCON

Inclusive Church has issued a press release on GAFCON

GAFCON and the Anglican Communion
1st July 2008

The “Statement on the Global Anglican Future” released after the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem shows once again how deeply many people misunderstand the nature and spirit of Anglicanism. It misrepresents loyal, orthodox, traditional Anglicans across the world who are working and praying, in the spirit of the Gospel, to bring about the reign of God on earth.

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Anglicanism is is a dynamic, changing, growing and living faith which takes its authority from scripture, reason and tradition. It is unafraid to learn and receive anew the lessons of God’s unconditional love. The last century has taught us how we must make sure that there are no barriers to the welcome we offer to God’s house. Anglican Christians in the United States, Britain and across the world have applied those lessons and, in accordance with scripture, opened their doors to those previously shut out.

We welcome the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the GAFCON statement. The arbitrary creation of a “Primates’ Council” without legitimacy or authority cuts directly across the Anglican Instruments of Communion – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting. The Statement represents, in sum and despite its denials, a schismatic document which seeks to re-form Anglicanism in a way which is without justification historically and ecclesiologically.

We regret the stumbling blocks which are created by the insistence on a narrow understanding of scriptural authority, especially for members of Anglican Churches in provinces whose leaders support the ideas of GAFCON. And those who break away from the Anglican Communion will still have the challenge of celebrating the diversity in God’s universe, and acknowledging the divine gifts bestowed on people who may be marginalised in some provinces – especially women and lesbian and gay people.

We are reminded of Matthew 11.16 – To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you and you did not dance; we wailed and you did not mourn.”

Above all we give thanks that the Spirit which leads us into all truth continues to inspire and refresh the Anglican Communion. We all have much to learn from each other, and we look forward to the Lambeth Conference. We pray that in humility and openness those who attend will grow in their understanding of the Gospel, of the Communion and of one another so that we can all be newly equipped to serve the God who calls each of us into God’s immeasurable love.

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  • Treebeard says:

    Good for IC.

    But don’t we need to hear a lot more from Inclusive Church & from liberal, radical & progressive religionists ?

    Or is it better to let the FOCas have all the rope they can use ?!

    Also, although I don’t mange to live up to it myself, better to seek to speak and act with that Christ spirit of love and grace. Rather than point-scoring, bullying and power weilding…

    oh i don’t know…

  • christopher+ says:

    While I am as yet unsure whether one can speak of actual schism in this case – no formal separation occurred – there is a serious expression of disdain at/in GAFCON for the Anglican Communion’s structures and thus for a significant part of our shared history as a communion of autocephalous churches with a common heritage.

    Question: Is it schism if a group inside the Communion withdraws from such Instruments of Communion as the Lambeth Conference and creates its *own* new structures for relationship and decision-making, such as this purported primates’ council? Is this de facto schism? Or is it just more of the same old same old: attempted power-brokering within the Communion, distracting everyone else from the Gospel of Christ?

  • hal weiner says:

    I haven’t got 400 words to say to the Primates Council or His Grace Rowan +. I have three. GET A LIFE.

    I chose to become a Christian because of a personal encounter with Christ. The guy I met would shake the dust off his feet at Peter Akinola.

    I became an Episcopalian because I love pomp and circumstance and at the Cathedral here in NYC every Sunday is a new Coronation of Elizabeth II or at least of God’s Son.

    But the time may be coming, when my enjoyment of ecclesiastical theatre is trumped by my distaste for the Bishops of the Southern Tier and the inaction of Canterbury to curb them. There’s always the United Church of Christ, beckoning….. beckoning…

  • JCF says:

    It’s darkest before the dawn, hal, and the wind HOWLS the loudest, just before the storm has passed (I was nearly killed in an awful storm last month, and can testify that’s literally true!).

    Don’t leave us now, hal: as IC rightly says (quoting Our Lord) “We played the flute for you and you did not dance”. The party-poopers having FAILED to kill the joy, they will soon be moving on—and “a new Coronation of Elizabeth II or at least of God’s Son” (*LOL*) can continue with renewed enthusiasm. Maranatha! 😀

  • christopher+ says:

    Greetings hal weiner,

    Fear not – and don’t let the constant political noise from parts south distract you from the glory of your encounter with the Risen Christ.

    Remember, too, that there is a difference between fence-sitting – which the Archbishop of Canterbury often feels called to do by virtue of his office, if not necessarily his theological convictions – and actually *supporting* the efforts of those who believe that only they – they alone among all others – understand the mind of God in Christ.

    Peace to you – and enjoy that marvelous, inclusive, active and loving cathedral community in New York!

  • Prior Aelred says:

    It seems to me that “schism” is not the right word for the Anglican Communion — it is not (contra the ABC) the “Anglican Church” — if one of the actual churches splits — it seems to me unclear as to the extent that this has occurred in North America with the interference from the Southern Cone & certain African provinces — but however the situation is to be described, it seems likely that this is the situation that will now be faced by “insufficiently orthodox” bishops in the C of E.

  • Christopher,
    That’s an important question. I get the sense, though, that this is more than a kind of Catholic Clerical Union approach, because actual separate episcopal oversight is desired. The CANA congregations could have continued to worship within TEC and had as little to do with their bishop as they liked, and I’m sure he would even have allowed visiting bishops to fill in (although, since he retrenched from his support of Gene Robinson, one might ask why the need for another person to perform confirmations). But they really want to have nothing to do with TEC or its Primate — and have appealed to a judge to decide that there is indeed a division (a “schism”) in the church. So here in the US it is a fact in the making. The doings in England from yesterday sound similar…

  • D C says:

    I read the IC article and am curious as to what the this is all about. As a non-Anglican, I look in and wonder what Anglican’s believe. As a gay man you will offer me acceptance, but can you offer me hope? The last Anglican vicar I heard speak here in the UK told me there were many ways to God and spiritual experiences (no matter where they were from) were all valid and from God. But what does that make of Jesus? Why be a Christian and not belong to another religion? From what I can see and depending on which vicar you talk to, you don’t have to believe in a virgin birth or bodily resurrection (or any resurrection at all for that matter) but you can still be an Anglican. I was taught from an early age these not defining marks of Christianity. As for Jesus, well I suppose it again depends on who you ask. It just leaves me asking “What is Anglican Christianity about? and why bother, if you can believe what you like” So what actually is the truth the article says the Spirit is leading you into? It seems to vary from place to place and contradict itself, so I wonder how it can be truth. Having read the Gafcon statement and some of the other articles, I can at least say that Gafcon offers some sort of statement of belief and show me, as someone outside the Anglican communion, that some Anglicans are willing to stand up for what they believe and it’s not all a seemingly weak and somewhat leaderless grouping.

  • JCF says:

    Taste and see, D C. “Lex orandi, lex credendi”: come WORSHIP w/ your local Anglicans (or my Episcopal parish right here in smalltown Michigan), and find out about the Eternally JOYFUL HOPE we offer . . . Right Now! 🙂

  • Merseymike says:

    Yes, but what do you mean by ‘standing up for what you believe’? Robert Mugabe does that. So does the taliban.

    What matters is the content, and if you are a gay man, rather than a repressed self-hater, then you should be able to see that their statement of belief is something to regard with the utmost suspicion, given its content.

  • Pluralist says:

    Why do you want someone to tell you what to believe? Perhaps if lacking something, the task is to find what is lacking – if possible. Rather have a religious community that offers a framework to ask questions and deal with some puzzles, and have support in a spiritual quest. The Christian tradition draws on the importance of mind and body, of turning again and ethical inversions from too much that is standard and disappointing. It also helps deal with betrayal and failure, sometimes by means to reflection and sometimes by quietness.

    Some of the arguments you mention I regard as pretty stale and uninteresting, for others they are a way to somewhere they are going.

    I just try to follow a pattern of spiritual life, a Buddhist approach perhaps to Christian content, but I don’t try to believe anything in particular.

  • choirboyfromhell says:


    And after all the exuberance on Sunday morning at the cathedral above Central Park, come on down Fifth Avenue for an evensong and have a good cry. And if not that, to another great parish “in the fields” over in Greenwich Village. The strong presence is there ready to hold you and affirm you for the way you were made in the eye of an all loving God.

  • Treebeard says:

    I would echo Pluralist’s point. Which I find helpful and terse.

    I feel similarly.

    I seem to find that I believe more & more, in less & less.

    Both the ‘more’ & the ‘less’ are important (in my quest).

  • christopher+ says:


    Don’t be confused by all the current bickering. Anglicans collectively believe in what is expressed in the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith. Anglicans also believe that some other things, like the sacraments instituted by Christ Himself, are essentials. The core of Anglican belief and practice is expressed in a helpfully clear way in a document called the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. In effect, these are the four essentials required in the view of Anglicans for full communion with other Christian churches (and, it follows logically, with each other). These are, in other words, the essentials of Anglican faith and practice. Arguments generally ensue when some try to expand these essentials of Anglicanism and require universally something with which not everyone agrees.

    You will also experience, as you appear to have done, that some Anglicans – even clergy! – still occasionally struggle with how to piece it all together and how to bear witness faithfully and lovingly in a very diverse world. All in all, though, Anglicans have generally been more willing to live with doubt, uncertainty, gray areas and disagreement than many others – for better or for worse.

  • RudigerVT says:

    “Hal,” as somebody inside the Anglican Communion, I’m here to tell you that what you’ve proposed reads like a pack of lies and a shoddy bit of concern trolling.

    I’m constantly amazed by the improbable combinations: gay, non-Anglican, “concerned” about what one or more Vicars might say, yet unclear as to why. Not to mention rather carefully schooled in (and inclined toward) a rather particular set of ideas within Christianity. Oh really?


  • Merseymike says:

    Rudiger – I think your comments referred to DC’s contribution, not Hal’s.

  • RudigerVT says:

    Indeed, you’re correct. That was what I meant.


  • choirboyfromhell says:

    RudigerVT: Good job at evangelizing a lost sheep. I suspect DC may never darken the doors of an enlightened Anglican Church, that is until the wolves get him. Failing to give anybody the benefit of the doubt shows how fearful us LGBT folk can be, and that’s not the way to be this day and age. Stand up, fight and lend your brother a protective hand….

    DC: Remember, it takes a real (hu)man to admit that they don’t have all the answers. Ditto for a faith organization.

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