GAFCON II: Nairobi Communique and Commitment
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Here is the FINAL Nairobi Communique and Commitment
from the GAFCON website. You can download the PDF file here
GAFCON 2013: THE NAIROBI COMMUNIQUE
You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we, the participants in the second Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) – 1358 delegates, including 331 bishops, 482 other clergy and 545 laity from 38 countries representing tens of millions of faithful Anglicans worldwide – send you greetings from East Africa, a place of revival in the last century and of growth in the Anglican Church today.
We met with great joy in Nairobi from 21st to 26th October 2013. We gathered each day for prayer and praise, studied Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and shared in the Holy Communion at the beginning and end of our conference.
It was very poignant that our meeting took place only a month after the violent terrorist attack in Nairobi at the Westgate Shopping Mall in which so many innocent men, women and children lost their lives. Our hearts go out to those families who have lost loved ones and to all of those who still suffer. We continue to remember them in prayer. In meeting here we have been able to express publicly the hope that Jesus Christ brings to a world in which brokenness and suffering find frequent expression.
In our gathering, we reaffirmed our view that we are a global fellowship of confessing Anglicans, engaged in a movement of the Holy Spirit which is both personal and ecclesial. We appreciated that the Archbishop of Canterbury sent personal greetings via video and gave us the assurance of his prayers, and we likewise pray for him. We believe we have acted as an important and effective instrument of Communion during a period in which other instruments of Communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us.
The Formation of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
In 2008, the first GAFCON was convened in order to counter a false gospel which was spreading throughout the Communion. This false gospel questioned the uniqueness of Christ and his substitutionary death, despite the Bible’s clear revelation that he is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). It undermined the authority of God’s Word written. It sought to mask sinful behaviour with the language of human rights. It promoted homosexual practice as consistent with holiness, despite the fact that the Bible clearly identifies it as sinful. A crisis point was reached in 2003 when a man in an active same-sex relationship was consecrated bishop in the USA. In the years that followed, there were repeated attempts to resolve the crisis within the Communion, none of which succeeded. To the contrary, the situation worsened with further defiance. As a response to the crisis, we adopted The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which commits us to biblical faithfulness, and has since provided the framework for renewed Anglican orthodoxy to which we, in all our different traditions – Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and Charismatics – are committed. We also formed the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA).
Since then, we have become a movement for unity among faithful Anglicans. Where, in taking a stand for biblical faithfulness, Anglicans have been marginalised or excluded from provincial or diocesan structures, the Primates’ Council has recognised and authenticated them as faithful Anglicans. The GFCA has been instrumental in the emergence of the new Province of the Anglican Church in North America, giving formal recognition to its orders and welcoming it as a full partner province, with its Archbishop having a seat on the Primates’ Council. The GFCA has also prevented the original Diocese of Recife from being isolated from the Anglican Communion. At the same time, local fellowships have been set up across many provinces. These have been a vital support to ministers and congregations alike, as the pressures on faithful gospel witness have increased.
The GFCA and the Future of the Anglican Communion
The fellowship we enjoy as Christians is distinguished from all other associations by the fact that it is at its heart a common ‘fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ’ (1 John 1:3). For this reason it has a particular character. It involves repentance and ‘walking in the light, as he is in the light’ (1 John 1:7–9). The character and boundaries of our fellowship are not determined by institutions but by the Word of God. The church is a place where the truth matters, where it is guarded and promoted and where alternatives are exposed for what they are — an exchange of the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25). Our willingness to submit to the written Word of God and our unwillingness to be in Christian fellowship with those who will not, is clearly expressed in The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. This means that the divisions in the Anglican Communion will not be healed without a change of heart from those promoting the false gospel, and to that end we pray.
There is much we can learn from the East African Revival about having a change of heart. Beginning in the last century, the Revival has touched millions of lives across many countries as the Holy Spirit has moved lay men and women, as well as clergy, to share the gospel with others. Two significant features of great relevance to our situation are —
- Real repentance for sin demonstrated both in confession of guilt and a desire to make amends
- A confidence that the gospel has the power both to save the lost in all the world and to transform the church, rather than seeing the church conformed to the world.
We urge those who have promoted the false gospel to repent of their unfaithfulness and have a renewed confidence in the gospel. We repent of indifference, prayerlessness and inactivity in the face of false teaching. We remind them – as we remind ourselves – that the sins from which we must repent are not simply those which the world also believes are wrong; they are those that God himself abhors and which are made clear in his Word.
The 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality states that sexual activity is to be exclusive to marriage and that abstinence is right for those who are single. We still hold to that authoritative statement. Sexual temptation affects us all, and we pray therefore for faithfulness to God’s Word in marriage and singleness.
We grieve that several national governments, aided by some church leaders, have claimed to redefine marriage and have turned same-sex marriage into a human rights issue. Human rights, we believe, are founded on a true understanding of human nature, which is that we are created in God’s image, male and female such that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (Matthew 19:6; Ephesians 5:31). We want to make clear that any civil partnership of a sexual nature does not receive the blessing of God. We continue to pray for and offer pastoral support to Christians struggling with same-sex temptation who remain celibate in obedience to Christ and affirm them in their faithfulness.
The gospel alone has the power to transform lives. As the gospel is heard, the Holy Spirit challenges and convicts of sin, and points to the love of God expressed in his Son, Jesus Christ. The sheer grace of God in setting us free from sin through the cross of Christ leads us into the enjoyment of our forgiveness and the desire to lead a holy life. This enables the relationship with God that Jesus makes possible to flourish. Moreover, just as individual lives can be transformed, so can the life of churches. We therefore commit ourselves and call on our brothers and sisters throughout the Communion to join in rediscovering the power of the gospel and seeking boldness from the Holy Spirit to proclaim it with renewed vigour.
Strengthening the GFCA
We are committed to the future of the GFCA and to that end have decided to take steps to strengthen our fellowship.
First, we have resolved to be more than a network. We are an effective expression of faithful Anglicanism and therefore, recognising our responsibilities, we must organise ourselves in a way that demonstrates the seriousness of our objectives. These are threefold.
- Proclaiming and contending for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples of work we wish to resource are the preparation of convincing theological rebuttals of any false gospel; supporting a network of theological colleges whose students are better oriented to ministry, whose faculties are well-trained, and whose curricula are built on the faithful reading of Scripture.
- Building the fellowship. We need to find new ways of supporting each other in mission and discipleship.
- Authorising and affirming faithful Anglicans who have been excluded by their diocese or province. The main thrust of work here would be devoted to discerning the need for new provinces, dioceses and churches — and then authenticating their ministries and orders as Anglican.
Second, pursuing these objectives will require GFCA to operate on a more systematic basis and to that end we shall organise around a Primates’ Council, a Board of Trustees, an Executive Committee and regional liaison officers, who will be involved in fostering communication among FCAs.
Third, we recognise that moving the GFCA on to a new footing will involve making substantial new resources available. We must, therefore, invite provinces, dioceses, mission agencies, local congregations and individuals formally to become contributing members of the GFCA. In particular, we ask provinces to reconsider their support for those Anglican structures that are used to undermine biblical faithfulness and contribute instead, or additionally, to the financing of the GFCA’s on-going needs.
Our Lord’s command is ‘to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:19–20). We believe therefore that our first priority must be to make disciples. This means that our movement must be committed to -
- Evangelising areas of our world where clear gospel witness has become obscured or lost and bringing the gospel to unreached peoples. Much of our energy must be devoted to bringing the gospel to children and young people and developing the leaders of the future. We also recognise the need to pray for, love and witness to Muslims with the gospel of Jesus. We call upon churches to train their members in such outreach.
- Supporting genuine gospel initiatives, recognising that there are times when the maintenance of structures can constrain the proclamation of the gospel. In line with The Jerusalem Statement’s expectation that the Primates’ Council would intervene to provide ‘orthodox oversight to churches under false leadership’, the Primates’ Council will carefully consider working beyond existing structures as an obedient response to Jesus’ commission to take the gospel to all nations.
- Guarding the gospel. We shall continue publicly to expose any false gospel that is not consistent with apostolic teaching and clearly to articulate the gospel in the church and in the world.
Our second priority must be to deepen discipleship. We must keep stressing that our identity is primarily found in Christ rather than in national, ethnic or tribal attachments. In addition, there are many pressures on Christians today which require a degree of maturity in order to withstand them. These include aggressive secularism, where increasingly Christians are being told that their faith must only find expression in private, and not in public life, and where the contribution of Christianity to the public good is denied; militant Islamism which continues to threaten the existence and ministry of the church in some places; and seductive syncretism which introduces supposedly alternative approaches to God and thereby denies the uniqueness of Christ.
Countering these pressures and promoting the gospel in difficult circumstances requires Christians to accept that their witness involves suffering for Christ (2 Timothy 3:12); to stand with those who are suffering for Christ; to be alert to the ways in which the Scriptures are being falsely undermined by opponents; to engage graciously in the public square; and to refuse to be intimidated when subjected to persecution.
As a third priority, we must witness to the transforming effect of the gospel in working for the transformation of society, so that the values of the eternal Kingdom can be seen here and now. We therefore believe that it is right to engage in the public arena with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15–16), but without allowing our priorities to be shaped by the world’s agenda; that our churches should work for the protection of the environment and the economic empowerment of those who are deprived of resources; and that we should not ignore the cries of the marginalized and oppressed who need immediate aid.
We affirm the ministries of women and their vital contribution to the life of the church: their call to the task of evangelism, discipling, and building strong marriages, families, churches and communities. GAFCON 2013 upholds the Bible's teaching that men and women are equally made in the image of God, called to be his people in the body of Christ, exercising different gifts. We recognize that we have differing views over the roles of men and women in church leadership.
It grieves us that in many communities women and children are marginalized through poverty, lack of education, HIV/AIDS, the mistreatment of widows and orphans, and polygamy. Furthermore, they suffer domestic violence, sexual abuse, trafficking and abortion. We repudiate all such violence against women and children and call on the church to demonstrate respect for women, care for marginalized women and children around the world, and uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
We are conscious of the growing number of attacks on Christians in Nigeria and Pakistan, Syria and Egypt, Sudan and many other countries. Where our brothers and sisters are experiencing persecution, we must all call on governments and leaders of other religions to respect human rights, protect Christians from violent attack and take effective action to provide for freedom of religious expression for all.
We are conscious of many pressures on faithful gospel witness within the church, but equally conscious of the great need the world has to hear the gospel. The need for the GFCA is greater now than when we first met in Jerusalem in 2008. We believe the Holy Spirit is challenging us and the rest of the Anglican Communion to remain faithful to our biblical heritage; to support those who suffer as a result of obedience to Christ; to deepen the spiritual life of our churches; and to respond to anti-Christian pressures with a renewed determination to spread the gospel. The seriousness with which we take our mission and our fellowship will be reflected in the way individual churches make the GAFCON vision their own, and in how we resource the work the GFCA seeks to initiate. We invite all faithful Anglicans to join the GFCA.
Finally, we make the following commitment to strengthen our fellowship and promote the gospel.
The Nairobi Commitment
We are committed to Jesus Christ as the head of the Church, the authority of his Word and the power of his gospel. The Son perfectly reveals God to us, he is the sole ground of our salvation, and he is our hope for the future. We seek to honour him, walk in faith and obedience to his teaching, and glorify him through our proclamation of his name.
Therefore, in the power of the Holy Spirit —
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
- We commit ourselves anew to The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration.
- We commit ourselves to supporting mission, both locally and globally, including outreach to Muslims. We also commit to encouraging lay training in obedience to the Great Commission to make and mature disciples, with particular attention to recruiting and mobilizing young people for ministry and leadership.
- We commit ourselves to give greater priority to theological education and to helping each other find the necessary resources. The purposes of theological education need clarifying so that students are better oriented to ministry, faculty are well-trained, and curricula are built on the faithful reading of Scripture.
- We commit ourselves to defend essential truths of the biblical faith even when this defence threatens existing structures of human authority (Acts 5:29). For this reason, the bishops at GAFCON 2013 resolved ‘to affirm and endorse the position of the Primates’ Council in providing oversight in cases where provinces and dioceses compromise biblical faith, including the affirmation of a duly discerned call to ministry. This may involve ordination and consecration if the situation requires.’
- We commit ourselves to the support and defence of those who in standing for apostolic truth are marginalized or excluded from formal communion with other Anglicans in their dioceses. We have therefore recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England, and welcomed their intention to appoint a General Secretary of AMiE.
- We commit ourselves to teach about God’s good purposes in marriage and in singleness. Marriage is a life-long exclusive union between a man and a woman. We exhort all people to work and pray for the building and strengthening of healthy marriages and families. For this reason, we oppose the secular tide running in favour of cohabitation and same-sex marriage.
- We commit ourselves to work for the transformation of society though the gospel. We repudiate all violence, especially against women and children; we shall work for the economic empowerment of those who are deprived; and we shall be a voice for persecuted Christians.
- We commit ourselves to the continuation of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, putting membership, staffing and financing onto a new basis. We shall continue to work within the Anglican Communion for its renewal and reform.
- We commit ourselves to meet again at the next GAFCON.
26 October 2013
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal
- Anglican: Primary Source
-- Reports & Communiques
Global South Churches & Primates
GAFCON II 2013
Posted October 26, 2013 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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1. David Wilson wrote:
A key statement for the UK and the US/Canada :
“Authorizing and affirming faithful Anglicans who have been excluded by their diocese or province. The main thrust of work here would be devoted to discerning the need for new provinces, dioceses and churches — and then authenticating their ministries and orders as Anglican.”
This will not sit well at 815 or Lambeth Palace
October 26, 8:10 am | [comment link]
2. Karen B. wrote:
Excellent. I think they did a good job revising the original draft. I see a few places where the wording is clearly improved.
There’s a lot I could comment on.
Personally, I’m very glad to see clear calls to focus on outreach to Muslims and other unreached peoples, and to train churches in how to do that.
The question as to how much this Statement will matter in the long run is raised in this section:
The seriousness with which we take our mission and our fellowship will be reflected in the way individual churches make the GAFCON vision their own, and in how we resource the work the GFCA seeks to initiate. We invite all faithful Anglicans to join the GFCA.
Indeed. There’s the rub. What WILL individual churches DO? What mechanisms will be developed to help faithful Anglicans join the GFCA, and what will joining the GFCA actually MEAN for individuals and churches?
I joined / signed up on some FCA website following GAFCON 2008, I believe. It was just an online signature. There was never any follow up, no tangible meaning at all to the act of signing up. Somehow that will have to change.
I’m not sure quite what to propose, but there needs to be some way of turning the FCA into a real network that continues beyond the GAFCON conference.
Using the Lausanne movement as an example, I know there have been regional follow up gatherings since the Lausanne 3 congress in October 2010. There is also a mailing list and periodic mailings notifying all delegates to Lausanne 3 about new resources that are available. Perhaps something similar for GFCA?
October 26, 8:53 am | [comment link]
3. Eugene wrote:
Interesting statement. However there are very few “faithful” that have been excluded from their diocese. I guess some clergy who joined ACNA are now excluded from their TEC diocese but that was by choice.
October 26, 11:31 am | [comment link]
Anyway there are still many more faithful in TEC than in the ACNA or other Anglican groups. We just have not left our parishes.
4. Tory+ wrote:
After a first quick read, this strikes me as a solid potential contribution to the healing of the communion. Making the Lord’s priority - the Great Commission- our priority is itself an act of faithful obedience, that is, if we actually do it. That will prove a challenge that requires a greater metanoia but the Lord’s grace always extends to those who submit to his word and manner of life.
I also like that the priorities comport well with Archbishop Welby’s. I suspect his office and ministry - particularly fruitfulness in evangelism- may be one of the means of grace God uses to spur us on to a greater fidelity to the gospel. Given ++Welby’s and Pope Francis’ emerging collaboration in the re-evangelization of the West, GAFCON might even have a role to play in helping Anglicanism fulfill its unique charism in the wider Western Church.
So, initially, I’m grateful GAFCON appears to have positioned itself to be not a only redemptive body within the Communion but also within the wider Western Church.
With the culture getting darker, collaboration in re-evangelization is imperative. But the test will be in follow through and that is where Welby and his home parish can help us all.
October 26, 3:12 pm | [comment link]
5. Karen B. wrote:
Here are the prayer requests I just posted at Lent & Beyond as we now look to the future beyond GAFCON II:
October 26, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
It’s those final two lines of the conclusion I want to focus on for prayer going forward:
I long and pray that GAFCON II will turn out to have been more than just a wonderful conference, but a turning point and rallying cry for orthodox Anglicans around the world.
I pray that the leaders of the GAFCON / GFCA movement going forward will have wisdom in how to translate the words and the commitments of the Nairobi Communique into sustained ACTION, i.e. that they would be able to develop practical resources, and create effective structures for ongoing networking, teaching and encouragement.
I pray that it will become clear how individuals and churches can truly JOIN the GFCA, and that it will mean something concrete in terms of providing support and strength through the example of faithful brothers and sisters around the world who are taking a bold stand for Christ. May the GFCA become a dynamic movement that spurs on the completion of the Great Commission in our generation!
These are big prayer requests, but we have a BIG and FAITHFUL God. GAFCON II has given me fresh joy and vision about what it means to be truly a GLOBAL church. May God continue to reveal His wisdom and glory through His Church as we submit ourselves to Him in repentance and obedience.
[God’s plan is] …that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
(Ephesians 3:10-12, ESV)
AMEN & AMEN!
6. MichaelA wrote:
Karen B. at #2, yes the strong emphasis on outreach to Muslims was good to see. Some of the largest Anglican provinces in the world sit right on or close to the “fault line” between Christianity and Islam that runs through central-north Africa from east to west. It is an area of great tension and friction, but also of much opportunity for the Gospel.
At the same time, we in the West have been forcibly and repeatedly reminded that we cannot ourselves ignore Islam. Its good to see that Gafcon has its finger on important pulses of our time.
October 27, 6:32 am | [comment link]
7. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:
The last solid Archbishop of Canterbury was George Carey.
We were sold this new Archbishop on the basis that he was from a conservative evangelical background and that his total commitment was to equipping and enabling the domestic church for the re-evangelisation of England and the wider church for the same mission of bringing the Good News to the world.
However, even before he was installed, Welby in St Paul’s Cathedral answered somewhat to the surprise of the reporter a question on gay marriage etc by stating that he affirmed the character of gay relationships he had observed and left the issue open. He could have just parried the question or given the answer he would have given a few years before.
Since then he has repeated this line on a number of ocassions and is clearly campaigning for some sort of rite of blessing gay relationships in church in breach of Lambeth 1:10, the moratoria of the Windsor Report and prior resolutions of the Primates Meetings before Rowan Williams gelded them. We have heard little to nothing about spreading the Good News or re-evangelising, instead it has all been about gay relationships, financial engineering and social activism.
Essentially with Welby the contents are not what has been described on the tin.
When I have had the opportunity in the last few years, I have asked people from all over the spectrum both privately and on the blogs, whether they would see a role for a faithful Archbishop of Canterbury. They have all without exception, including those who are radically federal conservative and now see no role for Canterbury, said that they would like to see nothing better than an Archbishop in step with the Global South and the rest of the Anglican Communion and indeed this was their wish and prayer that such a man would be appointed and give a lead, but that they saw no chance of this happening. They have given up on Canterbury having any role because he is a liability.
Canterbury is isolated and will become more so, not because power has shifted but because it has been squandered and thrown away. Welby and his predecessor have failed to give that lead and instead have engaged in a push to lead the Communion in a revisionist direction funded by TEC money. They will not be able to do so but are, like our HOB, too arrogant to understand that they will only isolate themselves and lose power, because they have given up on their first love. It is clear that Welby is either not capable of giving a faithful lead based on the terms he accepted before appointment, or his now liberal convictions.
It is stupid and arrogant, and it is the same way we lost an empire and a global reach in politics and in trade. As with the Empire, as with Canterbury.
What a tragedy.
October 27, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
8. Fr. Dale wrote:
October 27, 8:12 pm | [comment link]
It must be difficult to say what you have just said. I’m sorry and may God continue to bless you in your life.
9. Luke wrote:
It seems to me that too many commenting on their disappointment or expectations of any ABC either forget, or give insufficient attention to these points:
a) The ABC is chosen by the political leadership in Britain, and
b) He is the clergy head solely of the Church of England, with few episcopal powers as we think of them.
The British politicians have to, and do, pay attention to their constituents, who plainly do not live in the US, or Africa, etc., nor do they - the politicians or the constituents - evidence any concern over the state of the American Episcopal Church.
These politicians also have to consider the state of religious acceptance, demands, or feeling in their home country.
Given where Britain finds itself now, why would anyone ever seriously expect a different kind of ABC?
Yes, he is primus inter pares, but that is not his primary role. In fact, it is far from it.
And, when that role first came into our thoughts, who amongst us ever dreamt that we would have just witnessed GAFCON II, with its thinking?
October 27, 10:42 pm | [comment link]
10. MichaelA wrote:
Luke, I suggest you need to consider the official roles of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which are significantly wider than what you have expressed. He has a four-fold role:
(a) Diocesan bishop of Canterbury (in practice he mainly devolves these functions onto one of the other bishops, Dover I think;
(b) Primate of the Province of Canterbury, which comprises about two thirds of the Church of England;
(c) Primate of All England (the Provinces of Canterbury and York);
(d) Primus inter Pares of the Anglican Communion.
If it were truly just a matter of the factors you have stated, the response would be easy - he can just relinquish the fourth role. But of course he cannot and he will not, and if he tried he would be sharply told by all of his stakeholders and related parties (including the government of the UK) not to do so. Many elements in Britain have a strong interest in the ABC continuing to be the main focus or Instrument of Unity of the Anglican Communion. I entirely agree that they do not wish that to come at the expense of any of their domestic interests.
October 28, 1:24 am | [comment link]
11. Luke wrote:
Dear Michael A - What you have written simply elaborates on my comments - to me, your Points 1 and 2 were so self-evident that I didn’t feel it necessary to mention them; my apologies for omitting them - and doesn’t change in the slightest the manner in which a new ABC is selected, or why a particular individual is chosen at any given time.
If you could give me a specific Church of England or English constitutional reference to your Point 4, I’d be grateful. I’ve never seen such and would find it most interesting to see.
October 28, 7:03 am | [comment link]
12. Publius wrote:
Several commenters here have been very critical of Justin Welby. We ought to be less quick to judge the new ABC. It is still very early in his incumbency, and too early to write him off.
We were all burned by Rowan Williams, who perfected the art of speaking such that either (a) his meaning was opaque, or (b) every listener could hear what he wanted to hear. I am sure the Americans here also remember Frank Griswold, who had a similar ability to drain language of all meaning.
We carry the scars administered by Rowan and Frank, and apply similar ill intent to Abp. Welby. IMHO, Abp. Welby is not like Rowan or Frank at all. Consider his sermons at the cathedral in Nairobi. TEC cannot possibly have been pleased with what the ABC said. Can anyone here imaging Rowan or Frank giving those sermons?
It has taken years, decades really, for the Anglican Communion to get into this horrible mess. It is unrealistic to expect any ABC to solve the Communion’s problems quickly. Moreover, Abp. Welby has a very difficult political problem within the CofE, and it is by no means clear that he, or any ABC, can hold the CofE together. In addition, the CofE also has the established church complexity. On this, I defer to our UK commenters.
As a thought experiment, consider Abp. Welby’s sermons from Katherine Schori’s or Stacy Sauls’ perspectives. Abp. Welby said that (1) the unifying principle for the Communion is the salvation Gospel of Christ, and (2) the institutional structures of the Communion require change. From TEC’s perspective, what Abp. Welby said is a disaster.
Of course, I could be wrong, and the new ABC may prove to be just another Williams. But it is too early to conclude that. Give the new ABC time.
October 28, 12:10 pm | [comment link]
13. MichaelA wrote:
Luke at #11, why is your restricted question relevant? You have presumably framed it in that way in order to exclude any documents arising from any Lambeth Conference, or even from Lambeth Commissions. So of course the answer is no. But so what?
My point stands: The Archbishop of Canterbury is primus inter pares of the Anglican Communion. He proudly proclaims it, as do his supporters. And his government is happy for him to do so. His bureaucracy at Lambeth Palace wearing their ACO hats purport to administer the Anglican Communion.
If he wants to lay down that role, he is welcome to do so. But we all know he will never do that, for a number of reasons. And as long as he remains in that role, we the members of the Anglican Communion will critique what he does or does not do.
And those of us who are members of Gafcon will continue with plans to establish alternative Anglican structures within England if he and his bishops do not listen.
October 28, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
14. MichaelA wrote:
Publius, what does ‘giving him time’ mean? As you correctly point out, he is in a vice of competing and irreconcilable interests, so he probably can’t do anything different from his predecessors anyway.
I am sure he means well, but then frankly so did Rowan Williams. Rowan wasn’t a bad person, and to the extent that he talked out of both sides of his mouth, he was pretty much forced into that by the two hats that he wore - head of the CofE where the vast majority of his bishops and other powerbrokers are liberal; and head of the Anglican Communion where the vast majority of his constituents and their leaders are not.
So getting back to my question, what does ‘giving him time’ mean? If you mean to ‘refrain from criticizing him’, that begs the question, why? If his role in the Anglican Communion requires him to to do something or take a certain stance, and he does not, what can possibly be gained by silence? I don’t seriously think his nose will be put out of joint by criticism, else he wouldn’t have taken the job in the first place.
And if, as you state, his heart is in the right place, then refraining from criticism will deprive him of the ability to go back to his bishops and say, “See what we are up against. This is serious”.
On the other hand, if you mean “refrain from taking steps to set up alternative Anglican oversight and structures in England”, again, what is to be gained by that? Such measures have been in train for some years already, and they take years to come to fruition. Look at how long it took for ACNA to come into being in USA from the time when alternative oversight was first mooted - more than ten years.
Now, such measures can easily be reversed if the CofE undergoes a genuine transformation, i.e. a change of heart. But unless it does, what is to be gained by any further delay?
October 28, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
15. Publius wrote:
David Ould’s piece over at Stand Firm concerning the Pilling Report exemplifies the sort of conflicting demands Justin Welby has directed at him. His plea for graciousness all around takes on new urgency in light of the looming crisis that is the Pilling Report.
Some commenters here and at Stand Firm have already written Abp. Welby off, as little better than Rowan or even Schori. My point is that such a conclusion is premature. The orthodox, such as those at GAFCON, certainly ought to prepare for the day when the ABC is no longer able to function as an Instrument at all. Rowan significantly damaged the office of ABC as an Instrument, but Abp. Welby has the power to repair that damage. The orthodox also certainly ought to make clear to Abp. Welby the reality of his position: it seems increasingly likely that the Communion will split, and the CofE with it. So I am not advocating either silence nor paralysis.
But the crisis is coming, and eventually Abp. Welby may be forced to choose which side he backs when the Communion and the CofE split for the remainder of our lifetimes. Of course he is trying to delay that day, and the awful decison he will have to make.n Until he decides to back the revisionists in TEC and the CofE, criticism of him as a revisionist is unwarranted. He has not yet acted.
October 28, 9:27 pm | [comment link]
16. Luke wrote:
13. MichaelA wrote: “Luke at #11, why is your restricted question relevant?”
Because the Church of England is the State Church, and its Primate is selected by the national government.
October 28, 10:10 pm | [comment link]
17. MichaelA wrote:
Its an established church. I have never heard it called a State Church. You can use that term if you wish, but then you would need to define what it means, and I get the impression from your posts that you may have an inaccurate idea of what it means in practice.
“its Primate is selected by the national government.”
No, he isn’t.
October 29, 4:53 am | [comment link]
18. MichaelA wrote:
“Until he decides to back the revisionists in TEC and the CofE, criticism of him as a revisionist is unwarranted. He has not yet acted.”
So far as I can see, he is not being criticised for being a revisionist; He is being criticised for not acting. Hence why the criticism is warranted.
October 29, 4:56 am | [comment link]
19. Luke wrote:
State Church = National Church.
In every practical sense, the ABC is chosen by the Government.
Within this, see: “The responsibility for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury rests with the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). Its task is to submit the name of a preferred candidate (and a second appointable candidate) to the Prime Minister who is constitutionally responsible for tendering advice on the appointment to the Queen.” [Emphasis added]
Wiithin this, see: “In addition, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments are non-voting members of the Commission.” [Emphasis added.]
Within this, see: “Before the Commission first meets there will be an extensive consultation process to determine the needs of the diocese, the Church of England and the Anglican Communion…“and
“The Prime Minister’s and Archbishops’ Secretaries for Appointments will conduct a wider consultation exercise to inform the Commission’s consideration of the needs of the mission of the wider Church of England and the Anglican Communion.”
It is certainly anyone’s choice to accept or not accept that the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary will advise the others of the Prime Minister’s thinking on an appropriate name for him to present to the Monarch for appointment, or that any name not acceptable to the Prime Minister would be tendered to the Monarch for appointment.
I’ll leave it at that.
October 29, 5:17 am | [comment link]
20. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
A tangential comment (please pardon the detour):
Let me brag on my bishop for a moment. I was thrilled when John Guernsey was selected to head up the committee that drafted the Nairobi Communique. I’d watched him in action when he did the same thing back at the original Plano gathering ten years ago in Dallas, and I knew he’d do a splendid job. And he did, by God’s grace. I can’t think of anyone who could’ve done it better.
I’m so happy to be in his diocese, the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. He may be a lot more low church than I am, but I have the highest respect and admiration for him.
October 29, 8:39 am | [comment link]
21. Luke wrote:
From what I understand, you have every right to be very proud of +John Guernsey.
You are aware, I’m sure, that his name is being seriously mentioned as a successor to ++Duncan’s post as ACNA’s Archbishop? This choice will be made sometime next summer or fall, I understand.
October 29, 8:50 am | [comment link]
22. pendennis88 wrote:
I think it is becoming clear that the GFCA/GAFCON is moving into the role of the anchor of the Anglican Communion. The influence of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the role of the Lambeth Conference were already frittered away by Williams. Perhaps Welby could resurrect them by taking strong action in support of the global south, and I don’t write that off entirely, but neither do I expect it. For now he appears to be trying not to lead so much as to manage to stay in the middle, but given his starting point, that will but confirm the irrelevancy of the whole idea of Canterbury. The ironically named “instruments of unity” have made themselves no longer fit for purpose. A new counciliar mode of the Anglican Communion governing itself has grown up from necessity and prayer in the form of GAFCON, and I daresay that whoever the leaders of it will be will wield more influence than the AoC. I am not saying that the AoC or the older structures such as Lambeth and the ACC will be formally rejected by lots of folks - I think they will just be ignored, and I don’t think institutions like that which are ignored do much, even if titles and meetings and so forth continue for a long time.
I mean, the most telling thing is, where is the joy? Can you imagine how dreary the next Lambeth will be? And who is going to show up, if it happens? Or for that matter, the next Standing Committee or ACC meeting? And why would many people attend things like that, which you know will be filled with some combination of a sense of dread, a fear of being on the wrong side, and anger at the global south, when one has joyful things like GAFCON to attend instead? I don’t think the AoC can depend on Anglophilia to get anyone to show up anymore. There was lots of it in TEC in the 70’s, but there ain’t much left anymore.
October 29, 2:54 pm | [comment link]
23. MichaelA wrote:
“It is certainly anyone’s choice to accept or not accept that ...any name not acceptable to the Prime Minister would be tendered to the Monarch for appointment.”
Luke - of course. The converse is also true - it is anyone’s choice to accept or not accept that the choice of ABC under the current system is otherwise than who the powerbrokers in CofE (the bishops and influential laity and senior clergy) want.
If you think that the presence of the PM’s nominee means that the CNC puts forward the candidates whom the PM wants, you do not understand how British systems work. Influence - of course. Choosing - not on your nellie.
And further in relation to the PM choosing between the two candidates, that is no longer correct. There is now a convention that the first name on the list is chosen, unless he becomes unavailable (illness, death, etc) between the time when the CNC finishes its deliberations and the PM forwards the names to the Queen. Those outside Westminster systems may have difficulty in understanding the relevance of conventions, but they are as important as written constitutional measures.
The reason for this convention, which is quite recent, is that the British government has for many years desired to distance itself from the process of choosing the ABC. It recognized that there was no particular political advantage to be gained by it (because of the shrinking public influence of the office of ABC) and it was easy to offend one group or another. The other factor is that the leadership in CofE is so closely aligned with the British ruling set that there is little danger of a rogue element being chosen in any case.
The last two ABCs (Welby and Williams) were the choice of the CofE, not the Prime Minister. That means in practice the powerbrokers within the CofE. I suspect the one before (Carey) was also, despite gossip that PM Thatcher chose the second name on the list to spite Runcie - that has never been confirmed, so far as I am aware.
The CofE has made its own bed and has to accept responsibility for its choices.
October 29, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
24. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
Thanks for the support. I agree that +Guernsey has a strong chance of becoming the second Archbishop of the ACNA. I believe that decision will be made early next summer, in time to be announced and celebrated at the big Provincial Assembly to be held at St. Vincent’s Abbey near Pittsburgh. It’s my understanding that the College of Bishops will choose the successor to ++Bob Duncan (the Lion-hearted). But the nice thing is that there is more than one outstanding candidate for the position, including +Bill Atwood among others.
October 30, 8:55 am | [comment link]
25. Luke wrote:
David - Whoosh! My wife and I are registered for June’s General Assembly…it would be a real kick to hear that our friend, counselor, and Int’l Dio Bishop, +Bill Atwood is chosen…but I’m making no predictions and harboring no wishes. The Holy Spirit will guide the College of Bishops on that one…I had heard that we would not know until the fall, though, from our rector who passed on to us what +Bill Atwood told the Int’l Dio Conference in New Braunfels several weeks ago. Things can always change, of course.
October 30, 3:34 pm | [comment link]