(CEN) Gafcon regroups

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican leaders from 30 Provinces will gather in London to work towards a ‘visionary future’ in April.
More than 200 delegates will meet in London to build on the previous work of the Gafcon conference in Jerusalem in 2008.
The leaders are men and women of the clergy and laity from 29 countries.
The organisers hope the outcome will ‘help turn the present crisis moment into a visionary future’.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

12 Comments
Posted March 30, 2012 at 7:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. c.r.seitz wrote:

Anglican Ink has a story reporting tensions between CAPA and Gafcon. The former is styled as ‘western financed/backed’ (is this factual). Is the London meeting related to this alleged tension? Hard to believe it was not planned before the covenant vote in CofE and so probably already had its alternative vision in place? Or does the vote in CofE change the picture internationally?

March 30, 9:43 am | [comment link]
2. Grant LeMarquand wrote:

Chris - my understanding is that the gafcon meeting was organized quite a while ago. as to ‘western finacned/backed’ - well, there is much that is western financed and backed. The lines between money donated for altruistic reasons and money donated for political pressure is not always easy to draw. And one person’s ‘political agenda’ seems to be another person’s ‘gospel.’ Personally I am rather disturbed that both conservative and liberal Anglicans seem to be more willing to get involved in Africa financially now than ever before…I suspect that the motives are mixed but include the desire for ‘a win for our side’ in the long Anglican game of who will be the true Communion. I don’t know where CAPA’s funds come from, but it is clear that there are tensions withhin CAPA. The recent decion to elect the primate of Burundi as head is seen by some as a move away from gafcon. I’m not sure whether that is true or not. What is a bit strange is that Burundi is one of the poorest of African Provinces and I don’t know if the Archbishop has the staff and infrastructure to deal effectively with CAPA business. We will see.

March 30, 10:15 am | [comment link]
3. c.r.seitz wrote:

Thanks, Grant, would you please address the matter more generally; you needn’t refer to me by name. I have my own take on matters but am simply seeking to hear more widely what may be going on. To hear CAPA referred to as ‘western financed’ strikes me as volatile, espe in the light of what you point out as obvious: where is there not western influence? Is it up to Gafcon to run referenda now on who is a proper leader of CAPA? The way this is playing out in the run up to London strikes me as unfortunate. Thanks for your comment.

March 30, 10:23 am | [comment link]
4. Ralinda wrote:

#3. Prof. Seitz - Have you read the Anglican Ink story about CAPA?  http://anglicanink.com/article/doctrinal-fisure-opens-over-african-aid
What about my story on the Durban meeting sponsored by the Chicago Consultation?  All 3 parts. http://www.americananglican.org/encompass-january-march-201/
It does not serve the majority of the CAPA provinces well for the CAPA General Secretary to be at that meeting.  And it was most certainly Western financing that paid for the 45 attendees’ beach vacation near Durban.

March 30, 2:15 pm | [comment link]
5. wvparson wrote:

Of course most of the African Provinces continue to need external financial help. And yes it comes in all sorts of ways, from funding hospitals and AIDs clinics to perhaps something akin to lobbying. What is certain is that the American churches, liberal and conservative, have   contributed to divisions among the Anglican Provinces, whether by accident or design. That factor in itself is part of the tragedy within contemporary Anglicanism. North Americans have, how shall one put it?, taken advantage of the traditional differences which were already there. Few African bishops and archbishops could afford to be on a beach near Durban or in London next month without external financing.  There’s a good deal of blame to be shared around in all this. How this impacts the real work of the Gospel in the African Provinces remains to be seen. Given that none of these Provinces are remarkably unorthodox, driving divisions between CAPA and Gafcon can only be destructive.

March 30, 5:24 pm | [comment link]
6. c.r.seitz wrote:

“It does not serve the majority of the CAPA provinces well for the CAPA General Secretary to be at that meeting.”
And has CAPA made that determination?

March 30, 5:48 pm | [comment link]
7. Ralinda wrote:

#6—We shall see.  The CAPA staff seems to have a different focus than many of its member provinces.  During the All Africa Bishops Conference they arranged for a 10 minute presentation from a woman who was introduced as a UN representative speaking about women’s issues, but she in fact works for Planned Parenthood. That was not received well by most of the bishops. Another woman who spoke was presented as a women’s advocate. She works for Isis Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), a pagan Wiccan-like group intentionally named for the Egyptian goddess. There were presentations on Millenium Development Goals in which a gospel focus was notably absent.  Now we have two GAFCON provinces expressing concern about the focus of the CAPA staff which appears to be more about qualifying for UN and other government aid.  I suspect those two provinces and others won’t be too happy about Canon Kaiso’s Anglican beach party with the Chicago Consultation.  Attending and being a presenter is a bit more involved than resisting a one-hour time share pitch in exchange for a nice vacation.

March 30, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
8. c.r.seitz wrote:

And when and how shall we see that?

“The CAPA staff seems to have a different focus than many of its member provinces.”—what does this mean and why is it significant and why are you reporting it?

“That was not received well by most of the bishops.”—I gather that is very good news.

“Now we have two GAFCON provinces expressing concern about the focus of the CAPA staff which appears to be more about qualifying for UN and other government aid.”—and if this is a concern of Gafcon presumably it would be a concern of CAPA provinces as well.

March 30, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
9. Sarah wrote:

Ralinda—#7—interesting.

I’m not particularly interested in what Gafcon is or is not doing—I don’t think they have the support of enough provinces, and probably for good, ham-fisted reasons.

But I am interested in the lib/revisionist influence on various organizations and groups, including CAPA.

April 1, 10:54 pm | [comment link]
10. Robert Lundy wrote:

Sarah, Do you think that CAPA is more influential than GAFCON?

April 2, 9:56 am | [comment link]
11. Sarah wrote:

Hi Robert Lundy, I think it depends on who an entity is attempting to influence.

I think if a body is organized in order to be a “spokesman” body to the entire Anglican Communion of a certain constituency than CAPA is probably more influential than Gafcon.  It purports to organize and speak for a particular region to the Anglican Communion to the rest of the Anglican Communion, and it’s succeeded in gathering the 13 provinces connected with that region.

In the case of Gafcon it purports to organize and speak for a particular theology to influence the whole—[I suppose, though again, I don’t see it as accomplishing much influence]—but it hasn’t succeeded in even gathering together those of that particular theology for which it purports to speak.  Further, many conservatives in the Anglican Communion don’t support some important aspects of Gafcon, as with, for instance, the leadership’s desire to include non-Anglican Communion entities in the FCA like CESA, and otherwise blur the lines of who is or is not within the Anglican Communion.

At any rate, it’s possible that Gafcon is attempting to influence another group—some kind of much smaller niche segment of the Anglican Communion and elsewhere—and if that’s the case than it could be as “influential” as CAPA, but not of the same audience.

It all depends on each entity’s goals of audience-to-influence . . . and in the case of Gafcon I still can’t see who they’re trying to influence, other than I guess other conservative Anglicans of a certain type, and then it is “to what end?”

But again—I’m probably not in the group of Anglicans that Gafcon is attempting to influence, which explains why I’m not influenced, perhaps.

April 2, 12:45 pm | [comment link]
12. MichaelA wrote:

There is also the possibility that Gafcon as an entity is not trying to “influence” anyone, or at least not directly. I suggest it would be more correct to say that it is a focus for action by certain people.  Of course, actions may have their own influence, depending on the circumstances.

How does one determine who has influenced what? Gafcon the entity called a conference at Jerusalem in 2008, but many who attended were not members of Gafcon, either before or since.  And yes, the Jerusalem Conference called for the Common Cause Partnership in North America to be transformed into a new province.  Did that cause ACNA to be formed, or would it have happened anyway?  I would have thought that the most one could say is that the “Gafcon provinces” were about 18 months ahead of the rest of the Global South, which gave public recognition and communion to ACNA in April 2010.

Sarah wrote:

“But again—I’m probably not in the group of Anglicans that Gafcon is attempting to influence, which explains why I’m not influenced, perhaps.”

True.  You are in TEC, and what does Gafcon have to do with TEC?  Even for those who believe that Gafcon was the primary moving force in the formation and direction of ACNA (which I think is far too simplistic) its only an indirect effect on TEC. 

As of right now, Gafcon appears focussed on the Church of England.  It appears to have little if any interest in TEC.  But even in England, to what extent is Gafcon an “influence”, and to what extent do other groups have the primary running?  This appears to be the limit of Gafcon’s public involvement in England:

•  It promoted the formation of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) in mid-2011, which brought together 5 bishops to be a panel for alternative oversight.  I haven’t heard of any further public action by AMiE.

•  It supported the ordination of three ordinands from the ultra-liberal diocese of Southwark by the Primate of Kenya in June 2011. 

•  It called a conference in London later in April 2012.  This will be chaired by the Primate of Kenya, and is invitation-only.

Does any of the above mean anything? Perhaps not. Perhaps Gafcon is all froth and bubble, or perhaps this is just the visible tip of a much larger iceberg (let me clarify, I have no “insider knowledge”).

Or perhaps Gafcon is irrelevant compared with other movements within CofE anyway: I note that 100 evangelical clergy and lay people in the ultra-liberal Diocese of Southwark (South London) met with their bishop last week and made strong complaints about his failure to listen to them.  One prominent priest in the open evangelical movement stated in a press release that the bishop’s failure to listen to the evangelicals “couldn’t have done more to encourage separatist movements in the diocese.”  Does any of that mean anything, and does it have any connection with the Gafcon meeting shortly to take place? Perhaps not.

By the way, I believe that the Gafcon meeting this month will be held within Diocese of Southwark, but whether that means anything is anybody’s guess. Its a huge diocese, in terms of demographics.

April 9, 3:08 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): Google Launches Startup Base in East London’s `Tech City’

Previous entry (below): St Paul’s Cathedral seeks young singers for Diamond Choir

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)