Monday, June 30, 2008

Jensen says Anglican church hasn't split

[The Age] 30.06.08--Sydney Anglican leader Dr Peter Jensen says the church hasn't split despite a new grouping establishing a separate council of archbishops and a new statement of theology.

The new conservative grouping will also help bishops cross parish borders to adopt congregations that object to the direction of the mainstream church.

Archbishop Jensen was a key figure behind the Global Anglican Futures held in Jerusalem, last week.

Dr Jensen said the organisation aimed to rescue those who supported the old rather than modern ways of the church.

GAFCON final day: Making a Statement!

{The Sola Panel] 30.06.08--The final GAFCON Conference Statement has been released, and is reproduced in full below.

To understand what this statement means, let me take you back to GAFCON on Friday, shortly after 12 noon. The main ballroom was packed, and Professor Stephen Noll was reading out the Draft of the GAFCON Conference Statement. The press had been excluded, and we had all been strictly warned not to divulge anything to anyone. Slowly and deliberately, Professor Noll began to read, as PowerPoint slides of the text flashed up on the screens. The tension was palpable.

Four different kinds of people at GAFCON were holding their collective breath for different reasons.

The Americans, most of whom are at the more ‘churchy’ (in places Anglo-Catholic) end of the Anglican spectrum, were desperately hoping that something would be announced about a new province. What this means for the uninitiated is that most of the Americans at GAFCON have either left The Episcopal Church or are in the process of doing so, and have joined various networks of biblically orthodox Anglicans (such as the Anglican Mission in America). These various networks are working together under the banner of the ‘Common Cause Partnership’ to create a new structure for faithful Anglicans in North America. Their dream is a new province within the Anglican Communion, which has its own Archbishop and dioceses. As Stephen Noll read the Draft Statement, the Americans around me looked like bidders for the Olympic games waiting for the winning city to be announced.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sidelined by new global Anglican movement,-the-Archbishop-of-Canterbury,-sidelined-by-new-global-Anglican-movement.html

[ Telegraph] 30.06.08--The Archbishop of Canterbury has been sidelined by a new orthodox movement which claims to represent almost half of the world's 80 million Anglicans.

Leaders of the organisation, that styles itself as a fellowship of confessing Anglicans, said Dr Rowan Williams would just be "recognised for his historic role" as the head of the worldwide Communion.

They added that in the "post-colonial reality" of a Church dominated by traditionalists in developing countries rather than England, he would no longer be the sole leader.

Organisers of the movement, which was formally announced at the end of the Gafcon summit in Jerusalem, also failed to mention the Archbishop of Canterbury in their declaration of the 14 central tenets.

In Error and Apostate -- The Anglican Division Looms

[Albert Mohler] 30.06.08--The world-wide Anglican Communion has been skating on thin ice for decades now, skirting disaster only by an infinitely creative arrangement of compromises. Now, with the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops coming in just a few weeks, a group of 300 conservative Anglican bishops is meeting in Jerusalem. Their meeting will make history, and may well define the ultimate breakup of global Anglicanism.

The Global Anglican Future Conference [GAFCON] featured an address by Dr. Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, on Sunday evening. Archbishop Akinola has emerged as one of the most courageous and theologically committed leaders of worldwide Anglicanism.

In his address, delivered as something of a keynote for the event, Archbishop Akinola declared that "a sizable part of the Communion is in error and not a few are apostate." This gets to the heart of The Anglican dilemma. The issues now separating liberals and conservatives within the global Anglican Communion are no longer matters on which compromise can be reached. To the contrary, the doctrinal and theological explosions connected to the issues of human sexuality and biblical authority have distilled the fundamental issues down to what is considered non-negotiable by both sides. Conservatives are unwilling to surrender biblical authority and the liberals are unwilling to surrender their determination to normalize homosexuality and other liberal causes. In reality, the division has already happened -- all that remains is the final form of the division.

Pro-Homosexual Researchers Conceal Findings: Children Raised by Openly Homosexual Parents More Likely to Engage in Homosexuality

[Anglican Mainstream] 30.06.08--Research by social scientists, although not definitive, suggests that children reared by openly homosexual parents are far more likely to engage in homosexual behavior than children raised by others. Studies thus far find between 8% and 21% of homosexually parented children ultimately identify as non-heterosexual. For comparison purposes, approximately 2% of the general population are non-heterosexual. Therefore, if these percentages continue to hold true, children of homosexuals have a 4 to 10 times greater likelihood of developing a non-heterosexual preference than other children.

Going in the wrong direction

[Anglican Mainstream] 30.06.08--A leader in the renewal movement of the Episcopal Church has informed me that a one-sided book on the homosexuality issue may have been sent to all Episcopal (and Anglican?) bishops as ‘preparation’ for the upcoming 2008 Lambeth Conference. The book is entitled Other Voices, Other Worlds: The Global Church Speaks Out on Homosexuality (edited by Terry Brown and published in 2006 by Church Publishing in New York). In the leader’s words, sending out the book may have been part of a broader strategy of the radical left to ‘persuade those who go [to Lambeth] that [the left’s stance on homosexual practice is] reasonable and centrist and not way on the left.’ The book contains a 16-page essay by a scholar-cleric by the name of David Atkinson entitled, ‘The Church of England and Homosexuality: How Did We Get Here? Where Do We Go Now?’ (pp. 298-313). Since Atkinson’s article contains a brief critique of my first book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice (Abingdon, 2001), the leader mentioned above asked me to comment on the critique. I did more than I originally planned on doing, offering not only a response to Atkinson’s comments on my work but also a response to the article as a whole.

Atkinson is an interesting case in that he is an evangelical (or at least used to be) who once wrote a book against homosexual practice but since the mid-1990s has adopted a position that at least seeks to accommodate committed homosexual unions. He was formerly a Fellow and Lecturer in Theology at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he taught Christian ethics and psychology of religion, as well as a visiting lecturer in pastoral theology at Wycliffe Hall. Over a decade ago he published some Old Testament commentaries with a pastoral bent for Intervarsity Press’s series The Bible Speaks. Since 2001 he has been Suffragan Bishop of Thetford in the Diocese of Norwich (England).

Rebellion in Church over female and gay bishops

[Daily Express] 30.06.08--The Archbishop of Canterbury was facing a massive rebellion last night as his plans for gay and female bishops threatened to create a schism between Anglicans.
Dr Rowan Williams has been told to expect an 8,000-strong petition against women bishops just before the General Synod prepares to hold a crunch vote on the issue this Friday.

The bid to stop women breaking through the so-called stained-glass ceiling has been orchestrated by a woman – the wife of the Bishop of Burnley.

To add to Dr Williams’ woes, he was also having to deal with the unprecedented formation of another church within the Anglican community – and a clear challenge to the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Some religious commentators see Saturday’s formation of a new church representing more than half the world’s 80 million Anglicans as the most significant event in the church’s history since the Reformation.

The Gafcon movement, which stands for Global Anglican Future Conference, was launched by traditionalists who want to split from liberal churches in America and Canada.

Tears and cheers as declaration released

[] 30.06.08--The Global Anglican Future Conference has overwhelmingly endorsed the Jerusalem Declaration and final communique, a document Archbishop Peter Jensen says will help bring order out of chaos.

The GAFCON leaders were at pains to point out that they were not withdrawing or splitting from the Anglican Church, despite media reports constantly describing ‘split’ or ‘schism’.

“We have not moved, and churches who support this have not moved, from the position of historic Christianity,” says Archbishop Jensen. “But the actions of the North Americans in 2003 went too far and something needed to be done”.

Who is setting the agenda at Lambeth?

[Anglican Mainstream] 30.06.08--Readers of this column have been misled. On May 23 in my column, I stated that while there will be fewer resolutions at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, there would be some. In fact, I was quoting the Archbishop of Canterbury in his January press conference. In answer to a question from Ruth Gledhill of The Times, he said quite categorically that there would be resolutions.

In April, when the Presiding Bishop of the USA had her own Lambeth Conference press launch, she was joined by one of the Lambeth designers, Professor Ian Douglas of the Episcopal Divinity School. To exactly the same question, they reassured their audience that there would be no resolutions whatsoever. In fact, the format of the conference, with its Indaba groups expressly ruled out resolutions. No motions, or items of business could come from these 40-strong groups.

I assumed then that the Archbishop of Canterbury was right and that the Presiding Bishop of the USA was wrong. After all, this is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s conference. He invites the bishops, welcomes them to Canterbury, hosts and presides over the Lambeth Conference.

So I decided to phone the communications director of the Anglican Consultative Council to investigate this considerable disparity between ‘there will be resolutions’ and ‘there will be none’. He explained that the design of the Lambeth Conference simply didn’t allow for resolutions and that this had been the intention of the design group. He didn’t know anything about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement in January, but suggested that perhaps the Archbishop meant that in circumstances of emergency, a declaration of war, for example, the Conference may issue a ‘house resolution’.

I still wasn’t convinced that this explained the contradiction and decided that only Lambeth Palace could settle matters. After several days, the press officer did resolve it. In fact, there would be no resolutions at the Lambeth Conference, the Lambeth Design group’s work had now completely ruled this out.

I’m left wondering who is in the driving seat at the Lambeth Conference the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Presiding Bishop of the USA, Lambeth Palace or the Lambeth design group?

Thoughts on the Jerusalem Statement of GAFCON

[The Rev'd Leaner Harding] 30.06.08--I have had a first look at the Jerusalem communiqué of GAFCON. I will be rereading it in days ahead but here are some initial reactions. GAFCON establishes itself as a confessing movement within the church based on an ecumenical definition of Christian orthodoxy and the historic Anglican formularies. GAFCON does not formally break with the Archbishop of Canterbury and describes itself as a movement for reformation and renewal. The statement asserts that Anglicanism is to be defined doctrinally. Canterbury is accorded respect but declared not to have the power to say who and who is not Anglican. This is an explicit rejection of the notion that to be an Anglican church all that is required is an invitation to the Lambeth conference. Rather Anglicanism is to be defined in terms of the common confession of creedal orthodoxy and adherence to the doctrinal heritage of the classical Anglican formularies. The language describing the significance of the 1662 BCP, the ordinal and the 39 articles is confessional and authoritative but is carefully worded to allow for some very modest interpretation and local adaptation of worship.

Anglicans' new group denounces liberalism

[Sydney Morning Herald] 30.06.08--The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, has joined conservatives in Jerusalem angered by liberal thinking on homosexuality, to back the creation of a global fellowship that challenges worldwide Anglican unity but stops short of a formal split.

Dr Jensen said the new fellowship of like-minded churches opposed to the consecration of homosexual clergy and same sex blessings, and bound by strict interpretations of the Bible, would "bring order out of the chaos" that erupted five years ago when the American Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop.

The plan for a fellowship of confessing churches and a council of primates was adopted yesterday, the final day of the Global Anglican Future Conference, which had been called by dissenting Anglican leaders from Africa and parts of North America and Australia.

Historic Moment As Orthodox Anglicans Ratify New Direction for Church

[VirtueOnline] 30.06.08--Describing it as a solemn and important moment, Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen told 1,200 pilgrims at the Renaissance Hotel that the Anglican Communion "is about to receive a dose of order."

Moments later, Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola stepped up to the podium and announced that a statement had been written and accepted by the leadership. Copies were then handed to all the participants. Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi proceeded to solemnly read it aloud.

At the conclusion of the Statement, the delegates rose to their feet as one and broke into applause.

Akinola then returned to the podium and asked, "Is it your will it be adopted. Cries of 'yes' resounded throughout the ballroom."

GAFCON Final Statement

[GAFCON] 30.06.08--Praise the LORD! It is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. (Psalm 147:1-2)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: We, the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, send you greetings from Jerusalem!

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which was held in Jerusalem from 22-29 June 2008, is a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it. The movement is global: it has mobilised Anglicans from around the world. We are Anglican: 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291 bishops representing millions of faithful Anglican Christians. We cherish our Anglican heritage and the Anglican Communion and have no intention of departing rom it. And we believe that, in God’s providence, Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the church on the foundation of biblical truth (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:20).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Anglicans face split

[Times Online] 28.06.08--The Anglican Communion will be split tomorrow when conservatives representing more than half its total membership will announce the formation of a new orthodox body to be a stronghold against liberal views. It will be schism in all but name.

The new global Anglican fellowship will act within the legal boundaries of provinces such the Church of England that make up the existing Communion but, in North America, it will declare its independence from the ultra-liberal Episcopal Church and from the Anglican church in Canada.

The fellowship represents a direct challenge to the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Primate of the US Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Millions of Anglicans and entire provinces in the Global South - an Anglican grouping of 20 provinces that embraces India, Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East - want nothing more to do with their former colonial masters who have adopted a theology that they find too liberal.

GAFCON: Dawn in Jerusalem

[Stand Firm] 28.06.08--No one here, whether communion conservative or federal, wants the week to end with an innocuous communiqué and, I think, there is a very good chance that that danger has been averted...Creating a new global structure based on this paradigm, is, at this point, the consensus hope, the common ground. Some sort of articulation of this New Paradigm is where I think the communiqué will eventually settle. I am a fed-con but not a separatist. I am federal because do not think that any historic see is essential to Anglicanism and would be willing to break ties to Canterbury if necessary. At the same time I think there is still hope for the Communion as a whole. That hope, however, does not rest within the present structures of Communion. It rests here in Jerusalem. If a disciplined, ordered, faithful, global body is birthed here (or at least conceived), bounded by a firm corporate confessional commitment and governed by conciliar adjudication, then, though Canterbury dithers and fails, global Anglicanism does indeed have hope and a future.

GAFCON: Just Another Meeting?

[Stand Firm] 28.06.08--If the groundwork for something along those lines emerges from GAFCON then I think it will prove to be a most significant gathering, genuinely historic, the beginning of a reformed and renewed Anglicanism. If it does not then I think we may have come very nearly to the end of organized resistance. If this meeting turns out to be another meeting wherein we are told to wait and that no structural differentiation whatsoever is made; if we leave Jerusalem with a nagging statement to the effect that the Archbishop must “Do Something” and that in the meantime we will “obey scripture” and “plant churches”; if we leave here having taught the ABC that we will never do anything more than meet and whine and make “important statements” then GAFCON will have been a dramatic failure. The Archbishop and his successors will know precisely how to deal with us. We will have shown that when pushed to the brink we will blink; that we do not have the will to act decisively; that GAFCON is a paper tiger, noisy but harmless.

Archbishop Venables on the Lambeth Conference

[GAFCON] 28.06.08--The Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables, speaks to a GAFCON news briefing on Friday in Jerusalem about his feelings on the conference and the fact that he is going to Lambeth.

There is no Anglican schism

[Telegraph] 28.06.08--If Gafcon had created a proper schism within the Anglican Communion then I reckon Rowan Williams would be sleeping a lot easier this weekend. But it didn't. The meeting of 300 conservative bishops hoisted a flag right in the centre of world Christianity - Jerusalem - and declared that the proceedings of the Lambeth Conference don't matter very much because no one will pay a blind bit of attention to them.

I have to disagree with my colleague George Pitcher. I don't think Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester was exploited at Gafcon. I think he guessed correctly that Gafcon offered him an alternative power base and he seized his opportunity brilliantly. The same goes for Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney.

Virginia judge affirms parish property rights

[The Washington Times] 28.06.08--A Virginia circuit judge has handed a crucial victory to a group of 11 former Episcopal churches that left the Diocese of Virginia 18 months ago over issues of theology and the 2003 consecration of the denomination's first openly gay bishop.

In a 49-page ruling issued Friday morning, Judge Randy I. Bellows said a Civil War-era statute allowing the churches to split and keep their property is constitutional.

"Simply put, [the division statute] was constitutional in 1867 when it became the law of the commonwealth of Virginia and it remains constitutional in 2008," the judge wrote.

There is no violation of the U.S. Constitution either, he added, including the First Amendment guarantees against the establishment of religion and against prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

Singing Bishops and firm words

[] 28.06.08--Today, two momentous events occurred - one of significance to Sydney, and the other of great importance to global Anglicanism.

The first was Archbishop Peter Jensen suddenly bursting into song in front of 1148 GAFCONers. He was evidently moved by the example of Nigerian Bishop Michael Fape this morning, who sang three times during his sermon on Luke 24. In what must be a regular occurrence in African churches, everyone joined Bishop Fape in his musical exhortations. Then during his regular house-keeping announcements, our Archbishop suddenly threw off the shackles of purse-lipped Sydney Anglicanism and spontaneously led the ballroom in a rousing chorus. Let’s hope that this example follows Archbishop Jensen back to Sydney and generates a new form of episcopal ecclesiology.

The second was the release of the draft GAFCON communique late this morning to conference participants. While its content must remain confidential, it was received by all with great acclaim and rejoicing. Everyone stood and clapped loudly, many raised their hands praising God; an African bishop repeatedly leaped in the air, others held Bibles aloft and I even saw one Sydney bishop weeping with joy.

Moving forward

[Saints and Scholars] 28.06.08--Today was a short day at GAFCON, but a highly significant day. Details will be released later by the GAFCON leadership, but what can be said is that decisions are being taken by those at GAFCON in a very tangible atmosphere of prayer, joy and worship. Not only is there a deep sense of fellowship in Christ, but also there is a huge desire to move forward under the Lordship of Christ to accomplish his mission in the world.

Yesterday, a wonderful aspect of the corporate worship of GAFCON was the marvellous singing led by the members of the Mothers’ Union Choir of Nigeria. But even that was trumped by a choir of four south American bishops, one toting a guitar, leading in a time of joyful praise - in spanish! Joyful as the fellowship is at GAFCON, it is most certainly not a spiritual ‘jamboree’. There is a serious determination to be about the heavenly Father’s business and this is expressed in the workshops, the plenary sessions, and in casual conversations.

Archbishop Jensen - "A Sleeping Giant Awakes"

[GAFCON] 28.06.08--The sleeping giant of evangelical Anglicans has been awakened to challenge the revisionists of the United States and the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Peter Jensen (Australia), one of the leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference meeting in Jerusalem, told international media at a news conference Friday that, “American revisionists committed an extraordinary strategic blunder in 2003 (when they consecrated an openly gay bishop). They did not think that there would be any consequences.”

Now if they did not believe that there would be consequences, that are an arrogant thing, I have to say. But I don’t know them, so I really cannot say. The consequences have been unfolding over the last five years, now their church is divided; it looks as though there will be permanent division, one way or the other."

“All around the world the sleeping giant that is evangelical Anglicanism and orthodox Anglicanism has been aroused by what happened in Canada and the United States of America. It was an act of folly.”

GAFCON, Lambeth, and the Bishop of Rochester

[Archbishop Cranmer] 28.06.08--Cranmer has been silent hitherto on this matter, not least because the Jerusalem side-show is something of a distraction from Lambeth, which will itself be as carefully stage-managed as any party political conference. Whether one is batting for the GAFCON team, or fielding for Lambeth, or spectating in the hope of somehow supporting both, the reality is that the Anglican Communion is in terminal decline. Even if the schism is not formally declared, the geographic distance between Jerusalem and London is symbolic of the epistemic distance between the bishops on both sides, and there is no hope of reconciliation when the need for it is not even acknowledged.

There is, however, one particular element of this saga which Cranmer does wish to talk about, and that is the position of The Bishop of Rochester, who will be the only English Bishop not to attend the Lambeth Conference. He explains his predicament with commendable clarity and brevity, in stark contrast to the reams of verbiage and unintelligible waffle which emanates from certain others. He says: "I agree with the Windsor Report’s recommendation that those who have gone against the Church’s teaching should not attend representative Anglican gatherings."

Anglican traditionalists set to form a 'church within a church'

[Religious Intelligence] 28.06.08--Traditionalists are set to form a “church within a church”, keeping in formal relation with the Archbishop of Canterbury but severing ties with the progressive wings of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada.

A communiqué being prepared by pilgrims to the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) will call for new structures to support conservatives and likely formalize a break with the Episcopal Church.

The changes Gafcon sees are new structural relations between Anglican churches including a break with the progressive wing of The Episcopal Church, a common approach to reading the Bible, a new catechism and a new Book of Common Prayer shared by conservatives across the Communion, Nigerian Bishop John Akao said.

The “centre of Anglicanism has shifted from Europe to Africa,” Sydney lay leader and member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, Robert Tong said. Past pan-Anglican gatherings had been jamborees where we “were all scouts together,” Mr Tong said, but the rise in influence of African Anglicanism meant a change was in the works for what it meant to be Anglican.

“It’s a question of doctrine or structure. Which of these makes one Anglican?,” AMiA Bishop John Rodgers, former Dean of the Trinity Episcopal School Ministry, said. Both views were contending for control of the meeting, which will set the future course of the conservative movement within Anglicanism, he noted.

Gafcon: Orthodox Anglicans feel betrayed by church structure

[Telegraph] 28.06.08--Orthodox Anglicans who are creating a new movement at a breakaway summit in Jerusalem have said they feel "betrayal and abandonment" at the current church structure.

The 1,000 conservatives at the Gafcon conference say they feel "profound sadness" that the worldwide Anglican Communion has been driven to the brink of schism by liberals in America and Canada departing from traditional church teaching, particularly over sexuality.

They are working on a statement which shows how they think the church must proceed, which involves faithfulness to the Scripture and an end to "innovations" such as the ordination of homosexual clergy.

They are also developing a "church within a church" which will cater for Anglicans who do not want to be under the leadership of liberal bishops.

Dr Nazir-Ali: ‘Inculturation has limits’

[Church Times] 28.06.08--The most liberal-sounding speaker at GAFCON by the end of Tuesday was the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali (pictured at a press conference held on Tuesday).

Dr Nazir-Ali surprised participants on Tuesday by speaking up for inculturation, change, and diversity. But each of these had its limits, he said. The gospel had to be adapted to different cultures, but “capitulation to culture” must be avoided; change and development must be principled; diversity had to be legitimate.

He made few explicit references to existing Anglican polity, beyond saying that the things that bound it together — the Lambeth Quadrilateral, the Instruments of Communion, and “English good manners” — had not proved strong enough to hold it together.

His desire was for a conciliar Church. “We have to have councils that are authoritative, that can make decisions that stick. In the last few years, I’ve been frustrated by decision after decision after decision that have not stuck, and we cannot have this in the future for a healthy Church.”

He also wanted the Church to be clear “that we are a confessing Church. Some people have the mistaken idea that Anglicans can believe anything.”
The full Transcript of Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s GAFCON Talk--TitusOneNine

New Structures to be put in place/Packer on Williams/Tinker interview

[EV News] 28.06.08--David Virtue reports that leaders of GAFCON, in a preliminary statement, say that while there will be no formal split from the Anglican Communion, permanent structures are being put into place to be true to the Bible, to continue the work of mission and to do so as Anglicans.

Kenya Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the four Instruments of Unity had "betrayed and abandoned" the Anglican Communion and therefore new structures are necessary.

"GAFCON is a movement, not a moment in time. We need an agreed upon theological framework and appropriate structures to sustain its growth into the future. Permanent structures will be put in place to sustain its growth."

The leaders recognize the need for a new North American province "for faithful Anglicans who live in provinces that have abandoned the traditional teaching of the Bible."The statement concluded by saying that GAFCON leaders will reach out to other Anglicans around the Communion "who share our common faith".

Thursday, June 26, 2008

GAFCON: Just Another Meeting?

[Stand Firm] 26 Jun 2008--If the groundwork for something along those lines emerges from GAFCON then I think it will prove to be a most significant gathering, genuinely historic, the beginning of a reformed and renewed Anglicanism. If it does not then I think we may have come very nearly to the end of organized resistance. If this meeting turns out to be another meeting wherein we are told to wait and that no structural differentiation whatsoever is made; if we leave Jerusalem with a nagging statement to the effect that the Archbishop must “Do Something” and that in the meantime we will “obey scripture” and “plant churches”; if we leave here having taught the ABC that we will never do anything more than meet and whine and make “important statements” then GAFCON will have been a dramatic failure. The Archbishop and his successors will know precisely how to deal with us. We will have shown that when pushed to the brink we will blink; that we do not have the will to act decisively; that GAFCON is a paper tiger, noisy but harmless.

Last Men Standing: What Now from GAFCON?

[Stand Firm] 26 Jun 2008--Now, roughly 200 bishops, mainly from Africa, will not be present at Lambeth, because they are tired of the dithering, and unconvinced that the conference will accomplish anything meaningful. As one insider characterized it, they are "tired of winning on paper, only to lose later on the ground." But would it have been much different had Williams not invited them? I submit that the answer is ‘no.' Whether membership in the communion is technically defined as attending Lambeth, or receiving an invitation to attend, amounts to so many angels on the head of a pin. It really doesn't matter whether +Akinola, +Orombi, +Kolini or +Nzimbi received invitations to Lambeth. They're not going. It hardly makes a difference to the real-world meaning of an Anglican communion whether +Rowan actually wants them there. And frankly, he doesn't care whether they attend or not. And so, here we are. A fourth of a global church's bishops not attending its flagship gathering, and a host archbishop who couldn't give a damn.

A GAFCON Parable

[Stand Firm] 26 Jun 2008--There was a man who lived in a very small village with his wife and his son. The man had a thieving friend. One day, after his friend had left his home, the man discovered that his ring was missing. The next day, his friend came over. The man’s ring was on his finger. “That’s my ring” “It was your ring. Now it is mine”

Pittsburgh Diocese Creates New Legal Corporation

[The Living Church] 26 Jun 2008--Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh has successfully filed for incorporation with the state of Pennsylvania to create a new corporation titled the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. A long-time critic of Bishop Robert Duncan claims the action is intended to make legal challenges to diocesan ownership of property more difficult in the event that delegates to the annual convention vote to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church in October.

Writing in his parish newsletter, the Rev. Harold Lewis, rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, said “we believe the action was taken because [Bishop Duncan] knows fully well that, as we have long contended, he is not entitled to take the assets belonging to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to the Province of the Southern Cone. For this reason it would appear that he has formed a corporation under the name of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, in the hope that that new entity can serve as the repository of diocesan assets.”

Fr. Lewis, Calvary’s senior warden, and the parish sued Bishop Duncan and the diocese in 2003 after a special convention adopted a resolution that declared in part that property in the name of individual parishes belonged to the local congregation. Calvary and the diocese settled without a trial. The parties agreed that the existing diocesan leadership was competent to administer the assets of the diocese and that they would continue to be administered in accord with past practice.

Remaking Anglicanism

[National Review Online] 26 Jun 2008--The future of the Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian church in the world, has been in serious doubt since the 2003 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay cleric, to be bishop of New Hampshire.

This week, some of that uncertainty is being resolved. The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) convened in Jerusalem on Sunday, drawing 1,200 conservative Anglicans, including 304 bishops. One of their number, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, describes the event as “the beginning of a second reformation.”

Immediately in advance of the gathering, conservative church leaders issued a pamphlet entitled “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In it, they assert that on issues of sexuality the collective decisions by primates, as the leaders of the 38 Anglican provinces are known, have been “ignored” and conservatives “derided” and “demonized” by the U.S. Episcopal Church. “There is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified communion,” the document proclaims.

GAFCON attendees have been reticent to use the word schism — they prefer “broken.” But this seems a preference without distinction. Most of those at GAFCON are boycotting the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering on doctrinal matters — deemed “an instrument of unity” in Anglican theology — which will be held next month in Canterbury, the ancient seat of the Church of England. One of the pamphlet’s authors, the Oxford theologian Rev. Roger Beckwith, says that the move puts Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and nominal head of the global communion, “in an impossible position.”

Homosexuality, and particularly the consecration of Robinson, will likely be known to history as the cause of this Anglican crack-up, just as schoolchildren remember the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand as the “cause” of the First World War. But, likewise, such an understanding is a dramatic oversimplification.

Threat of Anglican Schism Fizzles,8599,1817878,00.html

[Time] 26 Jun 2008--The would-be Anglican rebels gathered with storm clouds brewing around them. But now, even though the conservative Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFcon) has not concluded its meeting in Jerusalem, the secession it threatened to bring to the 78 million-member Anglican Communion looks like a confused bust.

This all comes as a bit of surprise to the press, which — with ample encouragement from the Church's right — had been framing GAFcon as a decisive step toward schism in the Anglican Communion, the third biggest global religious fellowship. GAFcon seems to be falling apart on several fronts. First came the venue problems: the conference ping-ponged embarrassingly at the last minute from Jerusalem to Jordan and back to Jerusalem.

Then there was attendance. The clerics at GAFcon were really supposed to sit out the Communion's once-a-decade Lambeth Conference in July. But it turns out several key conservatives did not even show up at GAFcon (or simply made brief appearances) and will go on to the church-wide meeting in Canterbury in July. Meanwhile, conservative Southeast Asian bishops have fallen out with some GAFcon leaders. The conservative conference now seems reduced mostly to Africans and some first-world ideologues, not all of whom are as gung-ho as Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, the meeting's prime mover. Cheered on by several influential U.S. churchmen, Akinola has ridden high for several years as the point man for the ambitions of Anglicanism's populous, conservative "Global South" movement and for widespread outrage at the consecration of openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson by the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.

Pilgrims help draft GAFCON statement

[GAFCON] 26 Jun 2008--There is no advance text of a final statement of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), nor prepared plans for future organization and action. And there won’t be one until the 1,200 bishops, priests and laity meeting in Jerusalem June 22 – 29 has had a chance to seek God’s guidance and contribute their thoughts to the Statement Committee.

“The final statement is going to emerge as the work of all the participants of GAFCON,” said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of the Anglican Church of Kenya and chair of the Statement Committee.

To make that intent a concrete reality, the Statement Committee’s first step is to ask pilgrims to return a short feedback form on Tuesday, June 24. The form asks pilgrims:

what their hopes and expectations are for GAFCON,
how GAFCON should be developed as a movement,
what potential dangers are there for GAFCON as a movement, and
how the work of GAFCON could help pilgrims in their own country or province.

Breaking the bonds of communion

[National Post] 26 Jun 2008--Formal arrangements have yet to be made, but it now appears that the critical decisions have already been taken for a dissolution of the Anglican Communion. Every 10 years, all the world's Anglican bishops meet at the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace. They are scheduled to meet this summer, but already some 250 have decided not to attend, boycotting because of the failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, to discipline American and Canadian Anglicans for blessing same-sex unions and ordaining actively homosexual clergy.

Many of those who are not attending Lambeth are in Jerusalem this week for an alternative meeting, to discuss how they see the way forward. The parallel meetings are a clear manifestation that the bonds of communion have broken down. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not in Jerusalem, and is not welcome there. The breach appears irreparable and therefore the Anglican Communion's days as a global community centred in Canterbury are numbered.

That is a sadness for those, like myself, who have affection for the Anglican sensibility. But sensibilities are not doctrines, and it cannot be the case that members of the same communion can hold directly contradictory views on matters of grave importance. The Canadian and American proponents of same-sex marriages are arguing that homosexual acts can be morally good, and even sacramental. The traditional Christian view is that such acts are sinful. That is a gap that cannot be bridged: Either one holds to the ancient and constant teaching of the Christian Church, or one rejects it in favour of a different position. It cannot be that both views exist side-by-side as equally acceptable options.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s GAFCOn address

[TitusOneNine] 26 Jun 2008--Anglican TV has a video of the whole thing here.

Liberals are tearing apart church, says Anglican bishop,-says-Anglican-bishop.html

[Telegraph] 26 Jun 2008--Liberals within the Anglican church have "torn up the fabric of the communion" and should be barred from a debate over the church's future, an English bishop has warned.

The Rt Rev Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, said he could not attend the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference with liberal Americans who went against Scripture by consecrating an openly gay bishop and who are trying to drive out conservatives.

He suggested the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, should not have invited the liberals because they have broken church rules.

Bishop Benn added that the Gafcon conference in Jerusalem, where 303 Anglican bishops from around the world have gathered, would find a way out of the crisis by returning to the teachings of the Gospel.

Latest pics and news from Gafcon

[Global South Anglican] 26 Jun 2008--Click on photo for a larger image. More photos in this link.
Pilgrims Go to Mount of Olives, Gethsemane. Read here The Anglican Communion is in need of healing - Henry Orombi in his keynote address. Read here. GAFCON – A Rescue Mission: Archbishop Peter Akinola’s opening address. Read here

Times Online (Ruth Gledhill): Leaders of Gafcon seek to live within the Evolution of a new Global Anglicanism. Article here Living Church: GAFCON Pilgrims Face Questions on Communion’s Future. Article here

More news at GAFCON site here

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

'Don't allow them to play the victim'

[VirtueOnline] 24 Jun 2008--The Bishop of Durham has expressed his concern that pro-gay liberals in the Anglican Communion should not be allowed to play the victim at next month's Lambeth Conference.

Tom Wright says he has no "secret blueprint" for the outcome of the Conference. But he does not want a "parliamentary-style debate" ending in a "put up or shut up"-resolution. "The Windsor Report has made it very clear that if the Americans and Canadians abide by their action, it is they who decide to walk apart. They cannot then any longer claim the moral right to a place at the table. But if they could say "We are being kicked out, they're being mean to us", they could assume the victim role. And we must not allow that to happen."

The Lambeth Conference is the ten-year gathering of Anglican Bishops from around the world. This year some 300 out of a total 880 will be absent, because they have no confidence that Lambeth will solve the crisis that the Anglican Communion was plunged into five years ago with the ordination of the practising gay Bishop Gene Robinson in the United States.

Within hours in Jerusalem, GAFCON will kick off, a one-off meeting of evangelical leaders - mainly from Africa, but also from Australia, the Americas and England - wishing to make a fresh start as an orthodox, Bible-believing, missionary Church. Bishop Tom Wright is not attending, although he shares their concerns.

Speaking to the Dutch evangelical newspaper, Nederlands Dagblad, the Bishop of Durham says his hopes for the Lambeth Conference are that "the solid Christian orthodoxy that Anglicanism has always stood for, will be explored and reaffirmed".

"God can do unexpected things. Maybe some Americans will be brought to scratch their heads and wonder if they are going the right way. Not all of them will. But the mood might change, like the political winds change sometimes."

Secular Media Response to GAFCON Ranges from Ridiculous to Shameful

[VirtueOnline] 24 Jun 2008--Secular media covering the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) are seriously distorting both the content and message of the 1200 mostly Global South Anglican leaders, which includes 300 bishops from 38 countries, gathered here in Jerusalem.

Stories range from two London "Telegraph" stories saying that the GAFCON conference is a "shambles" to a follow up editorial, by eight of their writers, that said that GAFCON leaders have effectively declared the end of the worldwide Anglican Communion by saying that they could no longer be associated with liberals who tolerate actively homosexual clergy.

Not true, said GAFCON leaders. Archbishops Peter Jensen (Sydney) and Peter Akinola (Nigeria) said that GAFCON is not a rival communion. Jensen said he had been in touch with the Archbishop of Canterbury to assure him of his prayers for Lambeth and for a successful outcome. In turn, the Archbishop has assured him of his prayers for a successful outcome for this conference, as well.

"The Telegraph" simply got it wrong and worse, never retracted their accusations and allegations.

Spinning GAFCON: the smell of fear

[Stand Firm] 24 Jun 2008--Why, you might ask, do revisionists spill so much ink over what they seek to portray as an ineffectual, badly planned, narrow, schismatic conference that will have no impact and mean nothing in the end. Why not simply ignore it and go about your business? Fear. At least that is what it looks and smells like. Leftist bloggers and columnists reacting to GAFCON are corporately doing their best impression of a large quivering mass of fear. I am not sure what, exactly, they are afraid of (they've largely won things after-all) but when all your opponent can do is spew scorn, bitterness, and condescension, you know you've got them.

The conservative Church's desperation to stop the liberal tide could be damaging

[Telegraph] 24 Jun 2008--It's five years since Gene Robinson became the Anglican Church’s first gay bishop and yet the wounds appear as fresh as ever.

The American bishop has accused Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, of dehumanising gays in his refusal to endorse the appointment, while African leaders provocatively claim they risk being "enslaved" by the liberal agenda of the West.

There have been countless threats of schism, but the war of words seems to be stepping up a gear as around 250 conservative bishops meet to discuss the future of the Anglican Communion.

For them, the increasing acceptance of homosexual clergy and lifestyles in the Western Churches marks a point of no return.

They have chosen to meet in Jerusalem rather than be tarnished by association with the "apostates" as they call them, who will be meeting in Canterbury next month for the Lambeth Conference.

Study: Most Americans say many religions can lead to eternal life

[Dallas News] 24 Jun 2008--Most Americans say they are absolutely sure about standards of right and wrong – and are just as sure that no one religion holds an exclusive franchise on the truth.

Overwhelming majorities of Americans say they believe in God (or a "universal spirit"). But substantial majorities from all major religious categories also say they believe their religion is not the only path to eternal life, and that there's not just one correct version of their faith.

These are among the results reported Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The report is based on a massive national poll commissioned by the organization last year
The seeming conflict between certainty and ambiguity may show that most people see overriding truths behind many religious dogmas, the Pew researchers said.

The researchers also said the results indicate that it's wrong to assume that Americans can be pigeonholed on the basis of religion. There is a wide diversity of beliefs and behaviors, even among people who say they belong to the same religious group, said John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum with a long history of studying faith-related polls.

"I was stunned by just how diverse it was," he said. "The diversity goes all the way down."

GAFCON Pilgrims Face Questions on Communion’s Future

[The Living Church] 24 Jun 2008--There will be no conservative-led schism within the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Nigeria told some 300 bishops and 700 clergy and lay leaders on June 22, the Global Anglican Future Conference’s opening day in Jerusalem.

But Archbishop Peter Akinola expressed his disappointment with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for ignoring the pleas of traditionalists that he act quickly to resolve the crisis. Archbishop Williams was “not interested in what matters to us, in what we think or in what we say,” he said, but he refrained from criticising Archbishop Williams by name, reserving his opprobrium for decisions taken by “Lambeth Palace.”

Archbishop Akinola said it “would be presumptuous of me to offer advise” to California bishops who are seeking ways of incorporating last month’s state court decision authorizing gay marriage into the liturgical life of The Episcopal Church. But he said the introduction of gay marriage was a consequence of sin and a failure of the church to maintain standards. “If the church had been faithful we would not be in that mess,” Archbishop Akinola said.

Anglican Church schism recedes over gay issue with African leaders

[Times Online] 24 Jun 2008--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.

It also confirms the word behind the scenes in Israel and as disclosed by The Times on Monday, that the agenda is now reform from within rather than starting a breakaway conservative Anglican church that excludes homosexuals or tried to "convert" them to heterosexuality.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Conservative Anglicans to discuss Communion split

[Reuters] 23 Jun 2008--Conservative Anglican leaders on Sunday began a week of discussions in Jerusalem on the future of the worldwide Communion and warned of a parting of ways with liberal churches.

"The Communion is in a state of brokenness," Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, leader of the conservative movement in the 77-million-strong Communion, told hundreds of participants in a fiery speech at the start of the conference.

Akinola stopped short of saying a schism was imminent but described the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) as a last chance effort to find a way to restore the Communion.
The conservatives, who claim to represent 35 million Anglicans, mostly in developing countries, have been hinting at a split within the Communion at least since Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop was consecrated in the United States.

GAFCON comes a month before the Lambeth conference, the once-in-a-decade Anglican summit hosted by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams that agrees on guidelines for member churches.

When asked if it was the first step to declaring independence from Canterbury, Henry Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda, said: "Perhaps a question like that is best answered at the end (of the conference) rather than at the beginning."

Church of England bishops 'to boycott key conference'

[AFP] 23 Jun 2008--A leading British Church of England bishop will boycott a key conference of his peers from around the world next month because of an ongoing row over homosexual priests, The Sunday Telegraph said.

The weekly said the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, was one of at least three British bishops who will shun the Lambeth Conference because of the presence of US supporters of gay bishops.

Up to six other British bishops were considering similar action, it added, assessing that a boycott by senior church leaders from Britain risked undermining the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

There was no immediate response from Nazir-Ali when contacted by AFP.

But an unnamed friend of the bishop, who was born in Pakistan and converted from Catholicism, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that he considers the actions of the US Episcopal Church to be "unscriptural" and "disobedient".

"The Lambeth Conference is a Eucharistic gathering where the bishops gather around the Lord's table to teach the common faith, and he doesn't see how he can do this," the friend was quoted as saying.

The newspaper said the Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, and the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, would also not attend the conference, which is held every 10 years and brings Anglican bishops from around the world.

Bishops criticise Anglican leader

[BBC News] 23 Jun 2008--Conservative Anglican leaders have opened talks in Jerusalem on the future of the Church with criticism of its leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Archbishops of Nigeria and Uganda attacked his failure to discipline the US Episcopal Church for consecrating an openly gay bishop in 2003.

The 300 bishops are meeting to discuss the future of the worldwide Anglican Communion, amid fears of a split.

Many of them say liberals are rewriting the Bible to fit modern trends.

"The Communion is in a state of brokenness," said Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola at the opening of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), which brings together conservative Anglican leaders, many from developing countries.

The ABC on the forthcoming Lambeth Conference

[Stand Firm] 23 Jun 2008--Okay -- here's the real way these "small groups" work. The folks in the small groups quickly figure out whether the members have traditional views or progressive views on theology. Those with traditional views hang out together in the conference. Those with progressive views hang out together in the conference. Then, the person who "reports" on behalf of the group presents the mish-mash of gospels that came out of the group's "dialogue". Then -- if either side is smart -- the designated [by the subgroup of the group] spokesperson for either side stands and presents their alternate report. A few of the "let's drop anchor and hope they all fall asleep" revisionists -- the Peter Lee's of this world who have hoped to do things far far more quietly than the idealistic "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" revisionists ended up doing will stand and comment about how gracious the conversation with The Other was and how all of them had realized how important it is to meet one another on the fields beyond good and evil, and just how important and how wonderful it was to get to know one another better, and certainly there is greater clarity about the contexts in which we all live and breathe and have our beingness and live into the Incarnationness of the risen Christ-figures within us all, which will certainly improve relations that much more.

And the "conversation" goes on . . . only both sides will realize with sickening clarity just how much more divided we are than they had even imagined.

What I wonder is . . . does the ABC not understand that this is actually how these groups go, now that we've all recognized the competing and opposing gospels that are within the church? Is he in denial? Or just ignorant of how it works?

What a travesty.

Confessional or Conciliar: the GAFCON dilemma

[To all the world...] 23 Jun 2008--If you read GAFCON's "The Way, the Truth, the Life" (484kb PDF) and Bishop Duncan's opening address, "Anglicanism Come of Age: A Post-Colonial and Global Communion for the 21st Century" (100kb PDF), you will encounter what can be regarded as one very significant contradiction: The writers of "The Way, the Truth, the Life" state, "The Anglican Church has always been a confessional institution..." whereas Bp. Duncan says, "Anglicanism is neither papal, nor confessional, it is rather apostolic and conciliar."

GAFCON's detractors may well see this contradiction as an opportunity to allege that those who are busily involved in crafting a new global Anglican future cannot even agree on the nature of Anglicanism's past and present identity. And, of course, there are those, from both the liberal and Anglo-Catholic camps, who have never liked the idea of Anglicans being a confessional people. It was considered a virtual article of faith in the Confirmation class I attended that the Articles of Religion (the 39 Articles) were in no way to be viewed as a confession of faith, such as the Augsburg Confession is for Lutherans or the Westminster Confession is for Presbyterians.

Such a view denies the obvious role that the Articles of Religion have played in both defining and describing the nature of a Reformed Catholicism that was no longer Roman. The fact that assent to the Articles is still required of those being ordained in the Church of England, and that, until 1824, assent was even a requirement for holding civil office in England, makes the Articles the nearest thing to a confession of faith possessed by the Anglican tradition.

Anglicans gather in Jerusalem to protest secularization

[The Jerusalem Post] 23 Jun 2008--Ordination of homosexuals, same-sex marriages and a perceived deviation from Jesus's gospel have prompted some 300 hundred clergymen and hundreds more delegates from the conservative wing of the Anglican Communion to gather this week in Jerusalem.

The meeting, known as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), is perhaps the most tangible demonstration yet of the division within the 77-million-strong Anglican church.

More liberal dioceses located primarily in North American and Britain are now pitted against more conservative congregants and clergy who come from the West, but also in disproportionately high numbers from Africa, Asia and South America.

These conservative Anglicans might represent just a third of the Anglican bishops, but they make up about 75 percent of Anglican churchgoers, said GAFCON organizers who spoke with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

An identical trend of an increasingly liberal "West" alienated from a more conservative "East" or "South" has threatened unity also within the Catholic Church and various Protestant sects.

Organizers who spoke to the Post Sunday said that GAFCON was not advocating a schism in the Anglican church, rather the conference was an expression of an "impaired communion."

Rebel bishop accuses Dr Rowan Williams over ‘apostasy’

[Times Online] 23 Jun 2008--The Archbishop of Nigeria accused the Western Church of apostasy last night and attacked the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, for leading it into error.

Dr Peter Akinola told more than 1,000 conservative delegates at the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem: “We must rescue what is left of the Church from the error of the apostates.”

His comments added to the problems facing the Anglican Church as a result of innovations such as gay blessings and the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the United States.

Several of the bishops in the audience in Jerusalem last night are drawing up secret plans to form a “Church within a Church” in an attempt to counter Western liberalism and reform the Church from within.

Senior sources said that the most likely outcome of the divisions over homosexuality and Biblical authority was an international “Anglican Fellowship” that would provide a home and structure for orthodox Anglicans.

Jerusalem bishop calls GAFCON participants to reconciliation, not division

[Episcopal Life Online] 23 Jun 2008--Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani has called on participants of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) to approach their summit in a spirit of "peace, reconciliation and goodwill," saying that "it is crucial to the Anglican witness here in Jerusalem and to the wider world that this is so."

Dawani, who has expressed concerns that the June 22-29 conference would import "inter-Anglican conflict" into his diocese and made earlier calls for it to be moved, addressed GAFCON participants during a June 22 service of Evening Prayer at St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem.

The full text of Dawani's address is available here.

"A Rescue Mission" - Archbishop Akinola's Opening Address at GAFCON

[EV News] 23 Jun 2008--"People of the living God, welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome to GAFCON. One of the marks of apostolic ministry is signs, wonders and miracle. There are many in today’s Church, who would lay claim to apostolic authority without holding on to apostolic faith nor do they manifest any of the marks of the apostles. In GAFCON, I have seen signs and wonders. That we are able to gather here this week is a miracle for which we must give thanks to God.

There have been many seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but as a testimony that the Lord our God is firmly in control of GAFCON, he has graciously removed them. A conference of this magnitude would normally require several years of extensive planning, consultations and fund raising. We had barely five months to put this conference together. The Lord raised men and women who gladly and willingly offered their time, skill and money to make it happen.

I am very grateful to the members of the leadership team for their selfless and sacrificial roles in helping to deliver this conference, [please stand for recognition] We are deeply grateful to all provincial, diocesan and parish local committees, the donors, the tour agents, the travel agents, the Jordanian and Israeli governments for allowing us to meet here and in Jordan. Brethren, we appreciate the labours of love of the theological resource group. I must also thank in advance all those who will provide leadership in worship, workshops and plenary. We are heavily indebted to the various sub-committees and their leaders. God bless you all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

GAFCON: Spokes without a Wheel

[VirtueOnline] 21 Jun 2008--"Bishops have responded to God's call to action by holding a public gathering at GAFCON. As they gather, they will look again to God's call for future action in faithful leadership of their Anglican Churches." (Concluding paragraph of "The Way, The Truth and the Life: Theological Resources for a Pilgrimage to a Global Anglican Future")

As they gather they will look again.

Sounds to me like the visual counterpart to the "conversation" metaphor. The latter image is one of speaking or engaging in dialog. In reality people come together and make a display of putting off decisions. There may be a lot of talk between conflicted parties, but typically nothing is resolved. It becomes apparent that the resolution of differences was never the primary purpose of the gathering. The "conversation" may even have been a subterfuge.

I do not believe that the GAFCON fathers are engaged in a ploy to obfuscate or obstruct, mimicking their liberal counterparts who have utilized "conversation" as a tactical weapon of choice. I do sense that the primary lesson to be gained from the past 30 years of "conversation" has been missed. The lesson, in the form of a question, is this: how do you make the decision to cut the cancer out of your body when you know it is killing you? Perhaps our clouded decision making is a form of delirium, a sign that the body is slipping into a coma.

GAFCON Jerusalem 2008

[GAFCON] 21 Jun 2008--The GAFCON website has daily news.

More Backing for Breakaway Anglicans in Canada

[Religious Intelligence] 21 Jun 2008--A second Canadian diocese has given its backing to the breakaway parishes of the Anglican Communion in Canada (ANiC), affirming their place within the Anglican Communion.

The Synod of the Diocese of the Arctic, meeting in Iqaluit on Baffin Island from May 27 to June 3 adopted a resolution affirming its “strong support” for the ANiC congregations, “recognizing them as members of the Anglican Communion.”

Archbishop Peter Jensen Refutes Charges that GAFCON is Schismatic

[VirtueOnline] 21 Jun 2008--Dr. Peter Jensen one of the leaders of the GAFCON leadership team refuted charges by the British press that leaders to this gathering of Global Anglican leaders was planning 'schism'.

In remarks at a press conference the Australian Archbishop said that what the Americans did in 2003 and what the Canadians did was to rip the communion.

"If we're talking about schism and the breakup of the communion - that's where it starts and that is where the responsibility is. What GAFCON is doing is saying that given that new state of affairs, how now can we live together and how can we sustain the highest level of communion and work well together. My way of putting it is to say that the British Empire has now ceased to be and the British commonwealth of nations has come into existence or the nuclear family has turned into an extended family. This is the new reality. I don't hear GAFCON saying or GAFCON being a further cause for schism."

The London TELEGRAPH newspaper blasted headlines around the world saying that a rival communion was in the works led by pan-Anglican African leaders who went bent on destroying the Anglican Communion as it now exists. But Jensen threw cold water on the idea of an immediate break with Canterbury arguing that it is North American liberals who broke with the Anglican Communion by consecrating an avowed homosexual living in sexual sin with his male partner in 2003 that has caused the present rift. We are simply acknowledging that fact, he said.

Sun sets on Church of England

[The Age] 21 Jun 2008--The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has declared a formal split in the worldwide Anglican communion over the consecration of openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.

Speaking in Jerusalem before the opening today of a conference of 1000 conservative Anglican leaders, including 280 bishops, Dr Peter Jensen said the split had been triggered by the ordination in the US five years ago of the gay bishop, the Reverend Gene Robinson. "What the Americans did in 2003, and what the Canadians did, was to rip the communion," Dr Jensen said.

"If we're talking about schism and the break-up of the communion, that's where it starts and that is where the responsibility is."

Dr Jensen said that the Global Anglican Future Conference was acknowledging that a new state of affairs existed within the worldwide Anglican communion, in which the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury was no longer considered dominant. "My way of putting it is to say that the British Empire has now ceased to be, and the British Commonwealth of Nations has come into existence, or the nuclear family has turned into an extended family. This is the new reality."

Separating Wheat from Tares

[The Conservative Voice] 21 Jun 2008--Take note. The denominations giving credence to practicing homosexual lifestyles are those churches that do not preach being born again.

Their pulpits have been bereft for decades of the gospel call, that is, for an individual to confess his sins directly to Christ Jesus, come into a conversion experience and thereby consecrate his life to the Lord's will.

The born again experience is basic to living the Christian life for it is the start to living the Christian life. Jesus said in the Gospel of John, chapter three, that unless an individual is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

That means being born again is basic. It's fundamental. In other words, it's a must if one hopes to go to heaven. Yet there are countless pulpits that never touch the basic gospel message provided by none other than Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is those denominations that are going headlong into endorsing the practicing homosexual lifestyle.

Phillip Jensen on the Anglican family

[Anglican Church League] 21 Jun 2008--You can’t split a marshmallow. You can melt it. You can even cut it. But, marshmallows are too malleable to be split. Something has to be brittle to split.
So there will be no split in Anglicanism. It is just not the kind of thing that is open to splitting.

The heat of the society in which we operate may melt us. Outside forces can even cut into us. But we have no mechanism to split even if we had the desire to do so.

Here is the strange strength and weakness of Anglicanism. Having resisted the tyranny of Roman rule, Anglicanism could not replace it with Lambeth rule. Thus each national church is free to follow the Lord Jesus in their own culture.

Anglicanism has expanded and developed in much the same way as a family. Over generations we have gradually changed and drifted away from each other. Cousins know that they are related but have never met. Second, third and fourth cousins do not share the same culture or even speak the same language. They do not even recognise each other as relatives. It is not that families split – they just grow apart.

Vicars 'must stick up' for bells

[BBC News] 21 Jun 2008--Vicars should stand firm and should not bow to pressure to have the bells in their churches silenced, a Conservative MP has said.

Mark Pritchard, who represents The Wrekin in Shropshire, said he would fight any attempt to stop bell-ringing.

He said in some areas, people had taken the Human Rights Act "to extremes".

"There are over-eager public officials, some weak-kneed vicars and some human rights advocates... who want to silence this nation's bells," he said.

Mr Pritchard was speaking in the House of Commons in the wake of reports that environmental health officers were investigating noise from a church in the Suffolk town of Aldeburgh.

Are the Anglicans About to Split?,8599,1816784,00.html?imw=Y

[Time] 21 Jun 2008--The schism long forecast for the Anglican Communion over the church's liberal stand on homosexuality may be getting closer. A document released by a group of conservative churchmen called the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFcon) made it clear that the more than 250 bishops who belong to the group intend to transform the 77-million-member global Communion, the world's third-largest affiliation of churches, because of their differences over the church's stance on gay priests and other issues.

Just days before the group's conference is set to begin in Jerusalem, GAFcon's leader, Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, declared in a 94-page theological statement: "There is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified Communion ... Now we confront a moment of decision ... We want unity, but not at the cost of relegating Christ to the position of another wise teacher, who can be obeyed or disobeyed. We earnestly desire the healing of our beloved Communion, but not at the cost of rewriting the Bible to accommodate the latest cultural trend. We have arrived at a crossroads; it is, for us, the moment of truth."

Strong words, and ominous for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who next month will convene the Communion's once-a-decade Lambeth Conference. If all the conservatives walk out, they will diminish attendance at the July 20 conference by more than one-quarter. (Liberals assert that the number of abstainers will be much smaller.) The entire process could well result in the diminution of the power of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the titular head of the Communion and the closest thing the denomination has to a Pontiff.

That potential boycott and Akinola's strong language this week will make it much harder for Williams to ignore the fact that a sizable chunk of his Communion, particularly from Africa and conservative dioceses of North America, is no longer interested in discussing questions of how the Communion will deal with homosexual bishops and the blessing of homosexual unions, and appears ready to act unilaterally to get its way. Failure to deal with the conflict could result in a shift in the Communion's center of power away from its English roots and toward its growing, disgruntled churches in the southern hemisphere.

Episcopal Church Hopes Turn to Third World

[CBN New] 21 Jun 2008--It's one of the country's smaller but more influential denominations. And it's breaking apart. Deep-seated differences over theology have led to the rift in the Episcopal church.

Now, many break-away churches believe their future may lie in the Third World. In the last several years, some 800 churches have left the Episcopal church.

Dissident Anglicans to Set Their Own Agenda

[US News & World Report] 21 Jun 2008--In a further sign that the global Anglican Communion may be heading toward schism, more than 1,000 leaders of a growing movement of conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians will meet in Jerusalem June 22-29 to set forth their ideas for restoring what they believe is the true identity and mission of their church. Called the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the meeting of dissident clergy and laypeople is expected to reassert the authority of Scripture, particularly on matters of marriage and sexuality. It will also explore specific ways of applying biblical teachings to global challenges, including coexistence with Islam and the rising price of food.

Divisive as it all may sound, conference organizers are quick to reject the charge that they are trying to upstage the upcoming Lambeth Conference, the official meeting of Communion bishops held in England every 10 years under the auspices of the archbishop of Canterbury, now the Most Rev. and Right Hon. Rowan Williams.

But many attending the Jerusalem meeting, including the Most Rev. Peter Akinola of Nigeria, have said that they will not attend the Lambeth gathering in mid-July. And GAFCON attendees admit they have lost patience with Anglican and Episcopal church leaders, who conservatives say have refused to take clear or decisive stands on such issues as gay marriage and openly gay clergy.

"The traditional power brokers of the Communion are being challenged," says the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a group of about 60 American congregations that have cut ties with the U. S. Episcopal Church and are now incorporated under Archbishop Akinola's Nigerian province. Minns charges that the Communion's leadership in the global north continues to ignore demographic and theological reality: that the church in the global south is not only the largest part of the Communion (with more than 40 million of the 70 million Anglicans and Episcopalians) but also the most committed to orthodox Christian teaching.

Anglican Leaders Gather for Mideast Conference

[The Living Church] 21 Jan 2008--As participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) began their gathering, a number of conference organizers and others sought to correct several published reports about the direction and purpose of the conference .

Approximately 1,000 attendees, including nearly 300 bishops, have registered for the conference, including a number of current and former Episcopalians.

“I’m not hearing anything about breaking up the Anglican Communion, or anything of the sort,” Bishop Martyn Minns told The Living Church. Bishop Minns, formerly rector of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, Va., is the founding Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an outreach of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

“We are not focusing all of our attention on human sexuality,” he added. “The workshops are designed to get us moving forward with emphasis on evangelism, church planting, the Bible, family and marriage, and also on developing a better understanding of our Anglican identity.”

GAFCON Leaders Call for Renewal of Anglicanism/Leaders Disavow Accusation of Schism

[EV News] 21 Jun 2008--"Leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) reaffirmed the historic faith saying it is the actions of North American liberals that have caused the rift in the Communion. Archbishop Peter Jensen stated that the consecration of a homosexual bishop has made the situation "irreversible" in the Anglican Communion.

Jensen told a press conference that for some GAFCON will be an alternative to Lambeth. Some conservatives will go to one conference and some will go to both conferences (Lambeth and GAFCON). He said GAFCON is not a further cause for schism. "What has happened in the Anglican Communion has rocked us all."

Jensen said a newspaper report in "The Telegraph" newspaper that Anglican Communion leaders meeting in Amman had formally declared the end of the worldwide Anglican Communion was inaccurate. The report said GAFCON leaders would no longer be associated with liberals who tolerate homosexuality.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stairway to Heaven: Leaders Meet in Secrecy

[The Washington Times] 20 Jan 2008--One of the area's luxury hotels - the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa - was the site of a secret meeting of conservative world Anglican leaders that suddenly ended Wednesday.

How many were attending? We don't know. They said they are not plotting the overthrow or replacement of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of some 80 million Anglicans.
The Anglican Communion is the world's third-largest Christian denomination after the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Church, though the number of Anglicans who actually attend church might be closer to 55 million.

The group decamped when one of their main leaders, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, was not given a visa allowing him into the country. Why the Jordanians would pull this is anyone's guess. Another famous conservative Anglican leader - Archbishop Gregory J. Venables of the Southern Cone [Latin America] - also had to skip the Jordan meeting.

Rebel Anglican summit hit by leader's visa problem

[Reuters] 20 Jun 2008--A summit of conservative bishops challenging the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality and biblical authority has got off to a shaky start after its leader could not enter Jordan for a planning session.

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, whose campaign has raised the spectre of schism in the 77-million strong Communion, was not allowed into Jordan from Israel on Wednesday to attend a pre-summit meeting of about 130 conservatives in Amman.

Leaders assembled in Amman left on Thursday for Jerusalem, where their Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) summit will open on Sunday, GAFCON spokesman Rev. Arne Fjeldstad said by telephone from the Jordanian border.

GAFCON and the parting of the ways

[Church Times] 20 Jun 2008--The clearest indication yet that the forthcoming Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) will herald a formal split in the Anglican Communion came yesterday (Thursday) with the publication of The Way, the Truth and the Life.

The 94-page book will be given to everyone who attends GAFCON — organisers expect 1000, including 280 bishops — and has been produced by the 25-strong GAFCON theological resource team, chaired by the Archbishop of Bendel, in Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicolas Okoh. The group’s secretary is Canon Dr Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, based in Oxford.

The book uses the language of the parting of the ways. “We see a parallel between contemporary events and events in England in the 16th century. Then, the Catholic Church in England was faced with the choice of aligning itself with either Rome or Geneva. But, when forced to decide its identity, it sought to distinguish itself from both the practices of the Papacy and the excesses it associated with the more radical reformers.

GAFCON: The end is not nigh

[] 20 Jun 2008--The theological resource book for the Global Anglican Future conference has been launched at a news conference in Jerusalem.

The book has been released for discussion at the conference and has already attracted media attention around the world.

A report in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper referring to the book was headlined Hardline bishops declare Anglican split and went on to declare that they had “formally declared an end to the Anglican communion”.

That was firmly rejected by one of the GAFCON leaders, Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, who referred to the actions in North America by churches in defiance of the Lambeth decisions of 1998 on homosexuality.

Bp Bob Duncan: Anglicanism Come of Age: A Post-Colonial and Global Communion for the 21st Century

[Global South Anglican] 20 Jun 2008--The whole world is watching. This gathering is about the future. In my travels around North America this spring it has become increasingly clear just how much faithful Anglicans are looking to what we will do here. In contrast, there is almost no popular expectation surrounding Lambeth. We are here on pilgrimage. With the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, we know ourselves to be strangers and exiles, aliens here. We are headed to a lasting city. We know that everything we do has to do with the story: the old, old story. Finally, it is not about England, or Canterbury, though these relationships matter to us. Our life, our witness, our leadership, our pilgrimage here is all about Jesus. What comes out of this gathering we cannot predict. But we are confident that God is not done with Anglicanism. We are confident that GAFCON is one piece of what God already has in mind as part of a Global Settlement of Anglicanism. This Global Settlement of Anglicanism we also understand to be but one aspect of a 21st century Reformation of the whole Christian Church.

JERUSALEM: GAFCON Leaders Call for Renewal of Anglicanism

[Global South Anglican] 20 June 2008--Leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference reaffirmed the historic faith saying it is the actions of North American liberals that has caused the rift in the Communion with Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen saying that the consecration of a homosexual bishop has made the situation “irreversible” in the Anglican Communion.

Jensen told a press conference that for some GAFCON will be an alternative to Lambeth, but some conservatives will go to one conference and some will go to both conferences (Lambeth and GAFCON). He said GAFCON is not a further cause for schism.

“What has happened in the Anglican Communion has rocked us all.”

Jensen said a report in The Telegraph newspaper that Anglican Communion leaders meeting in Amman had formally declared the end of the worldwide Anglican Communion was inaccurate.
The report said GAFCON leaders could no longer be associated with liberals who tolerate homosexuality.

Gafcon ‘will set the future for the Church’

[Gloabl South Anglican] 20 Jun 2008--GAFCON will prove to be “one of the most important events in the next two or three decades” of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Sydney has predicted, and will set the future course of the Church. In an interview with Anglican Media Sydney before his departure for the June 22-29 gathering in Jerusalem, Dr Peter Jensen said the 1,000 delegates —- including 280 bishops —- will be “working out where [Anglicans] go from here.” He dismissed suggestions that Gafcon was a stalking horse for a conservative schism, saying evangelicals “are Anglicans and intend to remain so.”

Gafcon, the Global Anglican Future Conference, will work towards shaping an “Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centred mission [is] a top priority,” Dr Jensen, the chairman of the conference’s programme committee, said. He denied charges the conference was a shadow Lambeth Conference, saying the delegates meeting at the Renaissance Hotel near Israel’s Knesset in West Jerusalem were not going to “ape” Lambeth. “This is a conference about he future and we’ve deliberately invited lay people, clergy and others” to ask what it means “to be Anglican,” he said. “How can we best serve God, how can we honour his word and how can we best make his message known? They’re the big themes we’ll be looking at,” Dr Jensen said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Conservatives spurn Lambeth in favour of GAFCON/Uganda press release

[EV News] 17 June 2008--The Times reports today that 280 Anglican bishops from conservative dioceses around the world are to boycott next month’s Lambeth Conference and attend the alternative Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jordan which meets 22-29th of June.

The conference has been organised by the conservative Archbishops of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Southern Cone in South America, Sydney and evangelicals from the United States and Britain including Wallace Benn, of Lewes.

They are attending GAFCON instead of Lambeth "because of their emphasis on a Bible-based Christianity that rules out many of the liberal developments in the Western Church, such as the increasing acceptance of homosexuality."They are attending GAFCON instead of Lambeth "because of their emphasis on a Bible-based Christianity that rules out many of the liberal developments in the Western Church, such as the increasing acceptance of homosexuality."

Friday, June 06, 2008

Statement from Archbishop Peter Jensen re GAFCON and Lambeth

[Stand Firm] 6 June 2008--It is not long now before I leave for the Jerusalem Conference. I am immensely grateful for the support and prayers of so many of you. I'm looking forward to meeting with the leaders representing 35 million Anglicans across 27 different countries and it is my hope that God will give us wisdom during our time together. As we look to the future of this great communion of churches, I am praying that we will maintain the highest level of unity possible. I have just written to the Archbishop of Canterbury to assure him of my prayers for him and for the success of the Lambeth Conference. We have different views on how best to see the future of the Anglican Communion at this time. But we are at one in seeking its good health and doing what can be done to make sure that the turmoil created by those who have set aside fundamental Christian teaching does not destroy it. On the contrary, our aim should be to see it united as never before in the service of Christ in this world. I am praying that both the Lambeth Conference and the Jerusalem Conference will help achieve that goal. Will you join me in your intercessions?