Schism tide recedes

Ruth Gledhill in The Times, UK writes that the GAFCON leaders are backing away from the calls for schism and intend to work from within the Anglican Communion. As reported in The Lead yesterday, The Rt. Rev. Peter Jensen of Sydney, Australia is becoming the primary spokesperson for the conservative movement backed by Archbishops Nzimbi and Orombi. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh is not in attendance at the conference.

The prospect of schism in the worldwide Anglican Church receded as African leaders meeting in Jerusalem stepped back from the brink and declared they are not seeking to start a new church.

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya and leader of that country’s four million Anglicans, and the Ugandan Primate Archbishop Henry Orombi confirmed last night that there will be no split.

Archbishop Nzimbi’s comments are especially significant because he is heading the committee that will draw up the final communique to be issued on Sunday night.

The emerging figure that is crucial in the softening of the line on schism is the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who has become the key player on the Anglican conservative wing, shifting the emphasis from the US and African conservatives to Australia. Significantly, the Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan, who heads the US conservative grouping Common Cause, is not in Israel although he is named as one of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) leadership team in the programme.

Bishop Duncan is not in Israel but as reported here, he addressed the group earlier.

UPDATE: Bishop Duncan made his address to the pre-meeting in Jordan but is not attending GAFCON because of prior family commitments.

More extensive commentary of the behind the scenes maneuvering from Ruth Gledhill, on the scene in Israel, here.

In other news, The Birmingham Post (UK) has confirmed that Bishop Nazir-Ali was to boycott the Lambeth Conference following the controversy over the ordination of Anglicanism’s first openly gay bishop.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, said he would change his mind about staying away from the 10-yearly meeting of Anglican leaders in Canterbury, Kent, if those who ordained the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, repented.”

In a statement made as he was leaving for GAFCON:

“As I said in October, my difficulty in attending the Lambeth Conference has to do with being in eucharistic fellowship with and teaching the common faith alongside those who have ordained a person to be bishop whose style of life is contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Bible and of the Church down the ages,” he said in a statement. “I agree with the Windsor Report’s recommendation those who have gone against Church teaching should not attend representative Anglican gatherings.

Now that GAFCON seems to be moving towards working from within the Anglican Communion, perhaps Bishop Nazir-Ali will be reconsidering where his voice might be more effective.

Other links thanks to Thinking Anglicans:


Anglican Culture Wars

Church Times Blog, Dave Walker with even more links.

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