Tuesday roundup from GAFCON

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali was asked how he could boycott the Lambeth Conference after his statements about working within the Anglican Communion. He replied that he could not share fellowship with those who support gays and lesbians in the church. Dr Jensen, bishop of Sydney Australia believes by not attending they will force the issues. From the Church Times blog:

Dr Nazir-Ali was asked how this vision of working within the Anglican Communion squared with his decision to stay away from the Lambeth Conference, announced this week. He replied that he staying away was “a matter of conscience. I would find it difficult to be in a eucharistic gathering around the Lord’s table with people who have, again and again, said no to the Church’s request not to do something that is contrary to the Bible and the unanimous teaching of the Church down the ages.”

Dr Jensen said at an earlier press conference that the withdrawal of bishops such as those from the Sydney diocese was positive. “Our absence is helpful, because it forces the issue. Our absence is a vote, if you like, to say that this is an enormously important issue.”

Reporting on Nazir-Ali’s address to all the GAFCON participants,

Dr Nazir-Ali spoke earlier about different models of the Church: the church of the household, “for people who are in some way like one another”; the church of the city, “where people who are unlike one another come together”; the church of an area; and the worldwide Church of God.

“We are faced, in a changing situation, where people want to be church with those who are like them. We find it in Africa, where people want to be church in the context of their own tribe; we find it in Asia, and now we find it with the affinity churches, the network churches, and the virtual churches in the North.”

He had once been hostile to this tendency, but his study of the household churches, he said, had led him to modify his views a little, and he now thought it permissible.

“But there is one condition, and that is that this is not the only way to be church. If you want to be church with those who are like you, you also have to be church with those who are unlike you.”

Read it here.

Jerome Taylor writing in The Independent UK asks Will the Communion split? and answers:


* The divide between liberals and conservatives is simply too wide for both sides to reach a compromise

* With Gafcon, a split has already technically begun, whether the Anglican Church accepts it or not

* It will be another 10 years before Church leaders can attend another Lambeth, by which point it may be too late


* The Anglican Church by its very nature is made up of conflicting views and theological differences and has weathered many storms

* The vast majority of clergy and lay people don’t want to see their Church split in two and will do everything they can to save it

* The fact that conservatives have yet to call for a split shows that ultimately they don’t want to break away anyway

Read his article here.

The Guardian UK posts comments from around the world on GAFCON.

Ian Gordon of Kent writes that is all about power not sexuality:

This is not a conflict over sexuality – it’s a power struggle. On one side there are those who would have all Anglicans believe the same thing and submit to a “monocular” reading of the Bible. On the other are those who glory in the infinite variety of humankind – the creation of a God whose very essence is love in all its forms – and who are able to read and understand the many different books of the Bible as the cumulative revelation of many hundreds of years’ experience of that same God.

Carolyn Miley of Australia says this is a long standing set of issues:

The Australian group attending the Global Anglican Future Conference signalled its intention to go its own way long ago, first by opposing the new prayer book, then the ordination of women, then women bishops.

Read more here.

The Living Church reports on the Communique´ to be issued by the Conference:

The long-term implications of GAFCON will likely rest upon its closing communiqué. Pilgrims will be asked to review seven questions over the course of the conference, including

what can be done to restore sacramental Communion among the divided Anglican churches

and whether it can be reformed from within.

The questions they will be asked to answer [also] include

whether cross border Episcopal jurisdictions are an appropriate way forward to resolve differences;

is GAFCON merely a Global South initiative or does it have a role to play in the wider church;

will the initiatives that arise from GAFCON be neutralized by the strategic use of money by its opponents in the Episcopal Church;

can GAFCON provide a path towards the Anglican future;

and should GAFCON become an institutional entity in order to achieve the tasks it has set for itself.

Archbishop Orombi said there were no predetermined answers to these questions from the archbishops, as it was important that clergy and lay voices be heard in formulating a way forward for Anglicanism.

The same Living Church article echoes several UK reporters: “The meeting has witnessed a shift in the leadership of the conservative movement within the Anglican Communion, with the Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen assuming a new prominence among what had been an African-dominated leadership team.”

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