GAFCON Communiqué on the establishment of Primates Council and Fellowship

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We maintain that three new facts of the Anglican Communion must be faced. We are past the time when they can be reversed.

First, some Anglicans have sanctified sinful practices and will continue to do so whatever others may think. Second, churches and even dioceses affected by this disobedience have rightly withdrawn fellowship while wishing to remain authentic Anglicans. So-called ‘border-crossing’ is another way of describing the provision of recognition and care for those who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Scripture. Third, there is widespread impaired and broken sacramental communion amongst Anglicans with far-reaching global implications. The hope that we may somehow return to the state of affairs before 2003 is an illusion.

Any sound strategy must accommodate itself to these facts.

GAFCON remains a gospel movement. It is far from saying that its membership are the only true Anglicans or the only gospel people in the Anglican Communion. We thank God that this is not the case. But the movement recognises the acute spiritual dangers of a compromised theology and aims to be a resource and inspiration for those who wish to defend and promote the biblical gospel.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will function as a means of sharing in this great task. We invite individuals, churches, dioceses, provinces and parachurch organisations who assent to the Jerusalem Declaration to signify their desire to become members of the Fellowship via the GAFCON web-site or written communication with the Secretariat. The Fellowship will develop networks, commissions and publications intended to defend and promote the biblical gospel in ways which support one another.

At the same time, the Council and its Advisory Board will seek to deal with the problems of those who have confessed the biblical faith in the face of hostility and found the need on grounds of conscience and in matters of great significance to break the normal bonds of fellowship in the name of the gospel. For the sake of the Anglican Communion this is an effort to bring order out of the chaos of the present time and to make sure as far as possible that some of the most faithful Anglican Christians are not lost to the Communion. It is expected that priority will be given to the possible formation of a province in North America for the Common Cause Partnership.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON I 2008

Posted August 29, 2008 at 10:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Eugene wrote:

Am I missing something here? 
....What is new about this? 
.........Why did they not declare a new Province in USA? 
.................Why only 6 primates?

Does not sound good to me! 
Looks like the division is widening among the “faithful”

August 29, 2:31 pm | [comment link]
2. Larry Morse wrote:

Clear, coherent and correct. So now let’s move to shake the dust (to use the politest word) of TEC from our feet.  Larry

August 29, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
3. A Floridian wrote:

At least they didn’t buy the let’s wait & listen some more mush coming out of Lambeth.

August 29, 3:38 pm | [comment link]
4. Graham Kings wrote:

On a first reading of the communique from the GAFCON Primates’ Meeting in London, it seems to me that:

1. the meaning of ‘The Council will consist of Primates assisted by an Advisory Board’ implies that the Council is wider than that first envisioned at GAFCON. Peter Jensen is not a Primate, and after GAFCON he made that clear, but the widening of the Council to include an Advisory Board means that he is now on the GAFCON Primate’s Council. 

2. it was a good decision to drop the ‘o’ from the acronym of the ‘Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’ -  making it clear that it is now FCA. In which case, why not call the GAFCON Primates’ Council the FCA Primates’ council? This would avoid the brand link with the Global South Anglican movement, which is clearly much wider than the six primates who have signed up to the present communique - five from Africa and one (from England) from the Southern Cone of South America. Perhaps it may be better to leave the GAFCON brand as a ‘one off conference’ and move forward with the FCA brand?

3. The point made by John Martin on the Fulcrum forum thread on this subject today, about the secretariat being based in Sydney, rather than in Oxford, may well be significant. It is interesting that it has been privately reported that the first draft of the GAFCON communique from Jerusalem included the setting up of a GAFCON secretariat, but that that was deleted from the final edition of the communique. One has now been established.

4. Why did only six primates of the Council sign and not seven? The report from the Living Church site does not answer all the questions raised by this fact.

5. Why the delay of seven days after the meeting before the communique was published? It may be that the seventh Primate, of the Province of West Africa, was being contacted. Archbishop Justice Akrofi has not signed. 

6. the polite reference to the Global South Anglican leaders who were not present at GAFCON is encouraging.

7. at least the Anglican Covenant is mentioned - even if it is in somewhat dismissive tones - which is a move forward from the GAFCON communique where it was not mentioned at all.

8. at least the door is left open on the Pastoral Forum, even if it is also mentioned in dismissive tones.

9. Greg Venables, in the report of The Living Church, implies that the GAFCON/FCA Primates will attend the Primates’ Meeting in early 2009. This is encouraging.

10. the naming of the five bishops who are canonically bishops of the African provinces of Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, as ‘US Bishops’ is a misnomer. They may be American citizens, but they are canonically not ‘US Bishops’ - or does this nomenclature imply that their canonical status, in the end, is not that significant?

August 29, 9:07 pm | [comment link]
5. Chris Hathaway wrote:

the naming of the five bishops who are canonically bishops of the African provinces of Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, as ‘US Bishops’ is a misnomer. They may be American citizens, but they are canonically not ‘US Bishops’

Graham, given that TEC now sees itself as an international church, having dropped USA from its name, who then are US bishops? Is it because the “primate” of TEC is seated in the US that is the deciding factor? Are Roman Catholic bishops in the US disqualified under your definition because their Patriarch is located in Rome? Would you call the Bishop of Ecuador (TEC) a US bishop?

August 30, 9:40 am | [comment link]
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