Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON criticises Church of England again on same-sex marriage

Updated again Wednesday morning

The GAFCON Primates Council, which met in London this week, has issued a Communiqué, which after dealing with a variety of other issues, contains this passage:

…Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact and we urge that as a matter of simple integrity, its historic and biblical teaching should be articulated clearly.

7. We are particularly concerned about the state of lay and clerical discipline. The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline. While we welcome their clear statement that clergy must not enter same sex marriage, it is very concerning that this discipline is, apparently, being openly disregarded. We pray for the recovery of a sense of confidence in the whole of the truth Anglicans are called to proclaim, including that compassionate call for repentance to which we all need to respond in our different ways…

The following names appear at the foot of the statement:

Primates present in London were:
The Most Rev’d Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop, Episcopal Church of Sudan
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev’d Stanley Ntagli, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Uganda
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Vice Chairman)
The Most Rev’d Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya (Chairman)
The Most Rev’d Tito Zavala, Presiding Bishop, Province of the Southern Cone

Also present:
The Most Rev’d Dr Peter Jensen, Diocese of Sydney, General Secretary
The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Church of Nigeria, Trustee
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Trustee
The Most Rev’d Dr Ikechi Nwosu, Anglican Church of Nigeria

The Mail on Sunday has picked this up and reported it as Church of England split fear as African bishops speak out over clergy flouting a ban on same-sex weddings.

Another quote from the communiqué (emphasis added):

…We are equally concerned for the affected communities in Chile from the recent earthquake, terrorist attacks in Kenya, and the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new legislation

This appears to be confirmation that GAFCON in general, and ACNA in particular, endorses the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014.

Updates

Religion News Service reports Conservative Anglican leaders back Uganda anti-gay law.

WASHINGTON (RNS) Leaders of the conservative wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion equate the experiences of Ugandans who support a new anti-gay law with those of victims of an earthquake or a terror attack.

The Global Anglican Future Conference — made up chiefly of Anglican archbishops in Africa, Asia and Latin America — concluded a two-day meeting in London on Saturday (April 26) with a statement that expressed concern for violence in South Sudan and Northern Nigeria. It then said:

“We are equally concerned for the affected communities in Chile from the recent earthquake, terrorist attacks in Kenya, and the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new legislation.”

That legislation, signed in February by Ugandan president President Yoweri Museveni, specifies life in prison for some homosexual acts. It also outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires citizens to report to the police anyone suspected of being gay.

President Obama has called the bill “odious,” and the U.S. Embassy staff has avoided meetings and events with any Ugandan government agencies since the signing.

But despite the GAFCON statement’s equation with catastrophes, the archbishops’ response seems more concerned with finances than outright support for the Ugandan law. The “backlash” line could be a reference to the loss of $140 million in financial aid and project support from the World Bank, the U.S. and other countries. According to IRIN, which covers humanitarian issues, this included $6.4 million intended for the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which backed the legislation…

Episcopal Cafè has this: Why won’t ACNA say it is wrong to put gay people in prison?

…The Anglican Church in North America is led by a man who was so deeply offended by the ordination of a gay bishop that he decided to break away from the Episcopal Church and take tens of thousands of other people with him, but who is comfortable with church leaders who have successfully urged their governments to round up LGBT people and their supportive friends, and put them in jail.

For years, breakaway Anglicans have tried to downplay the role that simple anti-gay bigotry has played in their movement. They’d say that they didn’t hate gay people, they just didn’t think they should be able to be ordained or married. Or they’d say that homosexuality was just one symptom of the Episcopal Church’s drift from Biblical truth. Duncan’s unwillingness to say in a simple and straightforward way that he doesn’t think gay people and those who do not inform on them should be put in jail gives the lie to these arguments, as does the obsession with homosexuality evident in statements from the GAFCON primates council.

What we are seeing now is a comfortable white American religious leader who cannot bring himself to say that it is wrong to throw LGBT Africans in jail because he doesn’t want to offend the African archbishops who have been his allies.

Duncan is in a bind. On one hand, the bogus claim that the Anglican Church in North America is part of the Anglican Communion depends entirely on its relationships with Anglican provinces led by archbishops who support anti-gay legislation. On the other hand, ACNA’s leaders in this country know that their church won’t survive if its homophobic roots and willingness to countenance human rights violations that advance its institutional interests become widely known. His strategy at the moment seems to be to sign on to homophobic documents that circulate widely within the Anglican Communion while hoping that the U. S. media and the wider public doesn’t notice…

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paul richardson
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paul richardson

Discounting ACNA which only gafcon recognises as an Anglican province, this is representative of just 6 provinces of the Anglican Communion. A self selected group can hardly expect to be taken seriously as the world wide Anglican voice.

Dan BD
Guest

Ugh, if GAFCON wants to influence ‘faithful Anglicans’ in England, I’m sure AMiE will be very accommodating.

Nigel Taber-Hamilton
Guest
Nigel Taber-Hamilton

A simple factual correction (even if we all know this it still needs to be said):Robert Duncan is not an Anglican Primate, since the “Anglican Church of North America” is not an Anglican Province. Oddly, the claim to provincial status flies in the face of the “Law and Order” stance outlined in the statement. How very human that such a self-serving title should be claimed over the reality. That said, and as much as I disagree with Bishop Duncan, I believe we should include him within the greater Anglican fellowship as a bishop within Anglicanism – nothing more, but also… Read more »

Fr Andrew Welsby
Guest
Fr Andrew Welsby

I’m declaring my parish officially out of communion with GAFCON

Father David
Guest
Father David

Father Andrew has the PCC passed a resolution to this effect or is it simply a unilateral declaration that you are now out of Communion with GAFCON by the parish priest?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact.”

Hoisted on his own petard.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Surely the status of the ACNA is ambiguous? It’s made up of a substantial number of ex-Episcopalians, is in full communion with the Anglican provinces of Sudan, Uganda and Nigeria, and justin Welby’s invited one of its members, Tory Baucum, to Canterbury.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Ex-communicate married laity (unless they’re Ugandan, in which case, incarcerate them): ANATHEMA.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! GAFCON? Not so much.

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

A brutal and bloody civil war in South Sudan. Another civil war brewing in Ukraine. Mutual massacres between Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic. A brutal sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq and Syria that spares no one. Children forced into becoming soldiers, indentured labor, and prostitutes around the world. Global market capitalism bulldozes local cultures into dust, reduces all values to use and exchange, and undermines constitutional law to create plutocratic oligarchy. Pollution and negligence alter the climate of the whole planet. And the only alternative anyone think of is fundamentalist theocracy and nationalist autocracy.… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

GAFCON throw down the gauntlet to Canterbury to test whether the ‘law of God’, as they see it, now written into the law of the land in two countries represented, will be applied to clerics in the C of E who flout it, insofar as the Canons and disciplinary procedures of the Church can be so applied. It would be chilling to think that a CDM got there before a Ugandan court, even without a custodial sentence. The big test is in the court of public opinion; a universally hostile media here would surely deter any bishop from taking this… Read more »

Bill Ghrist
Guest
Bill Ghrist

Regarding the status of ACNA: Being in full communion with one or more provinces of the Anglican Communion does not make one a member of the Anglican Communion. Witness the churches of the Porvoo Communion as well as the Lutheran and Moravian Churches that are in communion with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. ACNA is not in communion with the See of Canterbury, is not recognized as a member by the Anglican Consultative Council, and has not been invited as a member by the Archbishop of Canterbury to a Lambeth Conference or to a Primates’ Meeting.

John Bunyan
Guest
John Bunyan

A minor point – the GAFCON secretary is the Rt Revd Peter Jensen, the former Archbishop of Sydney. The present Archbishop is the Most Revd Glenn Davies.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Again divorce and re-marriage air brushed from the letter! As you know ACNA ( the province that never was) is riddled with it, including its bench of bishops.The African component don’t mention the widespread immorality( polygamy) never far beneath the surface in their provinces.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

I hardly think the bishops’ Pastoral Statement and Guidance is being, as the GAFCON bishops put it, “openly disregarded”. It has been closely scrutinised and criticised, and where it is not followed and their explicit prohibition is disobeyed, I am sure it will not be being done carelessly, as if it can just be bypassed. I think GAFCON leaders may not be used to things they say being criticised and scrutinised by their own clergy and people. I have worked in DR Congo and I know that bishops there rule with an absolute authority that is unknown here. There is… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

All this talk about excommunication is more than a little worrying. It reminds me of nothing more than the Red Queen in Alice shouting “Off with their heads!”. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t excommunications meant for the heterodox rather than the orthodox? Can the GAFCON Primates really be excommunicated for upholding traditional Biblical teaching? Or does the Exarch of Llandaff – His Holiness Humpty Dumpty in His Presidential Address now represent the new orthodoxy when he seems to be saying that the Bible can mean exactly whatever I want it to mean? However, if Fr. Andrew and others… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“This appears to be confirmation that GAFCON in general, and ACNA in particular, endorses the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014.”

Has Welby ever said anything against it?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“aren’t excommunications meant for the heterodox rather than the orthodox?”

Is calling for the life imprisonment of LGBT people now the orthodoxy of Anglicanism?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline.”

Discipline, discipline, discipline. Not a word about welcoming married people to the sacraments. To everyone except readers of the Daily Mail, this will go over like a lead balloon.

Also noted: “Finally, we gave thanks for the faithfulness and visionary leadership of Archbishop Robert Duncan who is shortly to retire as the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.”

Who or what is next?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Can the GAFCON Primates really be excommunicated for upholding traditional Biblical teaching?”

“upholding traditional Biblical teaching”? Talk about question-begging, Fr David!

And of excommunication, I thought we were discussing this:

“The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline.”

Ergo, it is GAFCON which is ***urging excommunication***, not being the recipient of same.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

Meeting shortly after quasi-genocidal legislation passed in Uganda and Nigeria with their blessing…

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

Can you be excommunicated for upholding traditional biblical teaching? Well, yes, If you go around preaching murder of sabbath-breakers and adherents of other faiths, that should surely merit excommunication today.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

This is surely a case of a UK Government need to protect the Church of England against colonial interference in its affairs. GAFCON Primates might also be guilty of trying to undermine the U.K. Government in its decision to enact its own marriage legislation.

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
Guest
Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

‘Which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God.’ It’s always the same tune, as I blogged recently: Call me a prophet of doom, but I strongly suspect that the facilitated conversations that our church has decided to enter are destined to fail, at least if their avowed goal is to figure out collectively what Scripture enjoins or forbids. The problem, as I see it, is not that the subject matter is highly contentious and emotionally charged. It blatantly is. The stumbling block is located in both sides’ inability to be proved wrong. How could anyone show either… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

This is a brilliant comment cross posted on various Facebook threads. It exceeds the 400 words limit but I hope you will be able to publish it, Simon. ‘Homophobia is part of a wider xenophobia which is cultivated by these ‘governments’. Most of these countries are ruled by despots. Xenophobia is essential to the maintenance of the status quo. Isolationism facilitates the need to keep the populace ignorant and resistant to outside influences. With knowledge comes power, and people power is inversely proportional to dictator power. So, certain people and ideas are deemed to be alien to the culture; indeed,… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

As I understand it, to be an Anglican is to be in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury (similarly to be a Roman Catholic is to be in Communion with His Holiness Pope Francis). Ergo, if the GAFCON primates are not in Communion with Archbishop Welby does that mean that they have excommunicated themselves?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Pope Francis has attempted to unify the traditional and progressive wings of the Catholic Church by Canonizing their two respective cult heroes, John XXIII and John Paul II. By comparison and contrast, we are treated to Anglican Primates, including one who is not a Primate, interfering in the internal issues of a Province not their own. The recent comments of Archbishop Welby has probably increased the vulnerability of the C of E to this kind of external meddling.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Erika’s post: “Christians are condemned both by their active complicity…and by their silence.” This is sort of resonant and makes me think of all our diocesan websites. They could and should extend welcome to LGBTQ people. They could and should provide links of pastoral support, and diocesan support groups or contacts. They could and should make positive efforts to include gay couples and gay news in their coverage. Instead, in almost all cases… LGBTQ issues are ‘air-brushed’ out of the websites. It’s as if LGBTQ people didn’t exist in church life. This is pretty obviously done out of fear of… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

Erika, excellent post. Who is the author, or do they wish to remain anonymous?

I’ve always said that LGBTs now play the role once assigned to Jews a century ago; as a lightning rod for all the anger and hatred at modernity and liberalism, as personifications of the very cosmopolitanism that nationalist and fundamentalist movements fear and loathe so intensely.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

FD Blanchard,
I saw several possible authors credited and I’m trying to find out who did write it. I’ll post it here if I discover their name.

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Thanks to Erika and FD Blanchard. I have already mentioned on another thread in TA an excellent book by David Nirenberg called Anti-Judaism. According to Nirenberg, anti-Judaism goes way back to pre-Christian times (though we quickly picked it up). Yes, to have a group defined as ‘other’ helps to solidify ‘our group’. In USA this was certainly true for blacks over many centuries and still continues. Emmett Till ‘had’ to be killed as so many others did too. Jews ‘had’ to be eliminated for Hitler’s crowd. Now that LGBTs are able (in some parts of the world) to come out… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Mr Fernandez-Vincente, thanks for this: “If we derive our moral conclusions entirely or even ultimately from the Book, we thereby deprive ourselves of the ability to see if or where the Book is immoral.” Biting this bullet seems far in the future for church leadership. I’d just like to add that in the list of proofs of the bible’s immorality that you included in your posting, you forgot to mention the hideous cases of genocide demanded by the god of Samuel and the rest of the judges, which, if anything, got worse under the kings. When are we going to… Read more »

Lou Poulain
Guest
Lou Poulain

Well, I, for one, have reached the point where I no longer care about who’s “in” the Anglican Communion and who’s “out” and whether the Anglican Communion can even be talked about in any sort of intelligible way. I . no . longer . care. And I bet I’m not alone. The plain truth is that chasm between the two camps is much deeper than the issue of same sex relationships. It really is, at heart, a fundamental difference in understanding about the very nature of God, and God’s relationship with his people. We ought to acknowledge it, wish the… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
Guest
Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

‘When are we going to stop treating the bible like a magic-book?’ How radical can it be to see the Bible as not inerrant including in matters of morality? It need not mean that we do not consider that its authors were not inspired. It also means that, lest we adopt this position, we will forever be dependent on secular thought to expose our mistakes. You’re not alone, Mr Berry, but it looks like we’re such a small crowd.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Thank you, Lou Poulain. Dead on. Excommunication really means nothing, anymore, other than putting someone out of a particular community for causing trouble, at which point they go and make their own community. To that end, we’ve been excommunicated by Canterbury and Gafcon, Canterbury by Gafcon and a significant portion of TEC’s actual congregants, and the idea that there are, any longer, bonds of affection is absolutely laughable. The Anglican Communion is dead, and I’m tired of being berated and held hostage for a corpse that’s fast falling apart in the midday sun of reality. It was always simply a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Mr Fernandez-Vincente, thanks for this: “If we derive our moral conclusions entirely or even ultimately from the Book, we thereby deprive ourselves of the ability to see if or where the Book is immoral.” It’s an interesting comment. I think that, ultimately, I do derive my outlook (including moral approach) from the Bible. Specifically, from what it tells me about God; and the primacy of the great commandments of lover. But while I still draw on the Bible for my moral compass (really, I’m drawing on God, and what I learn about God from the Bible)… …I do agree that… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Well, it’s a day or two now since the GAFCON lot announced their disdain for the Church of England – and on C.of E. territory. Such chutzpah should surely call for at least a response from Archbishop Justin – in defence of his Church’s right to its own understanding of how to bring justice to LGBTI people in its own province? Will the Anglican Communion not consider the remarks of the self-asserting moral rightists to have already placed GAFCON is a situation of intentional schism from the Anglican Communion? I, for one, cannot live with institutionalised homophobia and misogyny as… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

“Regarding “excommunication,” let’s be reminded that the primates who later formed GAFCON refused to share eucharist with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The “excommunication” is already a reality at that lofty level. Let’s just stop pretending it’s otherwise.” Indeed. As far as I’m concerned the Anglican Communion ended at that very moment. They couldn’t even bring themselves to share Table with a fellow Primate. The Episcopal Church has been effectively excommunicated ever since. Another reason why the whining of right wingers who’ve won all the battles over the decades and now find themselves suddenly losing the war fall… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Thank you, Erika. Awesome post.

Welby would be wise to avoid feeding the cause of the despots. Alas, he has not shown that wisdom.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

“The Episcopal Church has been effectively excommunicated ever since.”

Well… it was really lovely welcoming and listening to Katharine Jefferts Schori at Southwark Cathedral (though she was asked not to wear her mitre).

As far as I’m concerned, as a Church of England Anglican (and more importantly, Christian) I am fully in communion with The Episcopal Church.

Many Anglicans here in the UK would say the same.

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
Guest
Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente

Yes, Susannah, but by setting the example of Jesus (true icon and imprint of the divine nature, as Paul confesses) against previous portrayals of God, you are making a choice which is not based on the Bible. I’m with you all the way.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Oh Susannah, the point re Communion as far as Anglicans/ Episcopalians are concerned is not whether you personally are in communion with Katharine and TEC but whether you personally are in Communion with Justin and Canterbury.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“you are making a choice which is not based on the Bible” I wonder whether it’s even possible to make moral choices based purely on the Bible. As children we are taught moral behaviour “because it hurts your brother if you hit him”, “because stealing is wrong”.. etc. purely on a case by case basis from which we then establish a sense of what moral behaviour is and why. We already have this awareness when we come to read the bible and we recognise the moral parts of it as moral precisely because of our previous awareness. I don’t believe… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

“Oh Susannah, the point re Communion as far as Anglicans/ Episcopalians are concerned is not whether you personally are in communion with Katharine and TEC but whether you personally are in Communion with Justin and Canterbury.” Oh no, no, Father. Respectfully, according to my own belief, the point is that I am in communion with God, the Holy Trinity. As a Christian, that is the eternal ‘union’. It applies to everyone else who is in ‘union’ with God. Our communion together springs from our irrevocable union in Christ. It is that union in Christ that places us in communion with… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

It must be of deep significance to hold these expensive meetings in London. There is no local Primate to host and that must be the point? NOT seeing Welby whose role as chair of Primates group is being ignored and NOT visiting the ACO and Kearon with its accommodation/hospitality. All intended to embarrass even humiliate the permanant secretariat and Lambeth Palace. Instead we get a remarkable Communique. Again this document apes (in part) those we used to have from the semi(?) defunct Instrument of Communion, that at this time would be keenly anticipating the next Lambeth Conference now just four… Read more »

Sam Roberts
Guest
Sam Roberts

Martin – well written.

And by the way, congratulations on managing to get ‘(p)rimates’ and ‘apes’ into the same post.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“It is that union in Christ that places us in communion with every other Christian on this planet, or through all history. What we might call the communion of saints.”

Well said, Susannah.
All we can really do here is to say “I don’t want to have a relationship with you”. It won’t change the fact that we are in communion with each other.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, over 200 girls have gone missing and nothing is being done. These girls and their families seem to have no support what so ever. The girls are both Muslim and Christian. Their crime is going to school.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2014/04/nigerias-stolen-girls.html?utm_source=tny&utm_campaign=generalsocial&utm_medium=facebook&mbid=social_facebook

I wonder if the ABC believes that girls should not be educated because it causes violence???

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Martin “There can also be public support for the policy that has denied Uganda and its homophobic churches multi millions of dollars” Do you mean money from religious organisations and individuals or do you mean government aid? After the anti gay Bill was passed in Nigeria and reports of the first vigilante attacks came through I queried government aid to Nigeria with my MP who forwarded the question to the Minister for Africa and he replied that no aid money was given directly to the Government of Nigeria but that all assistance was provided through development agencies, multilateral agencies and… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I was referring to the article posted in part above, Erica: “The “backlash” line could be a reference to the loss of $140 million in financial aid and project support from the World Bank, the U.S. and other countries. According to IRIN, which covers humanitarian issues, this included $6.4 million intended for the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which backed the legislation…” The specific loss of the $6.4 million was a stunning piece of news. No matter who is financing this schism, they are going to struggle to fill all the gaps! Letters to the World Bank! Certainly letters to MPs… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Sorry Erika, but my main point is that it’s our bishops who should be picking this up and applauding it, precisely as a consequence of their abandoning the common policy established at Dromantine. It is the leaders of our Churches who need to be able to stand up in a public forum and support their own words.
Lets start with Peter Carnley!
Retired he may be, but he is still active. The words of the Dromantine Anathema were apparently drafted by him.
Perhaps TA might invite him to offer a short piece, about time the editors got more proactive!