THE leaders of GAFCON, a global network of conservative Anglicans, said this week that the decision to “reduce the status” of the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin earlier this year (News, 28 January) was “unacceptable.” Those who organised the meeting had been “misled”. The GAFCON leaders announced plans for a second conference in 2013, and the opening of new offices in London and Nairobi.
A 13-point communiqué, issued on Wednesday after a meeting of GAFCON Primates in Nairobi last month, said: “The fabric of our communion life has been torn at its deepest level and until the presenting issues are addressed we will remain weakened at a time when the needs before us are so great.”
It said that the Primates were “disappointed” that the organisers of the Dublin meeting “not only failed to address these core concerns but decided instead to unilaterally reduce the status of the Primates’ Meeting.
“This action was taken in complete disregard for the resolutions of both Lambeth 1978 and 1998 that called for an enhanced role in ‘doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters’. We believe that they were seriously misled and their actions unacceptable.”
After reflecting on “issues regarding Anglican ecclesiology”, the Primates concluded that “the local church is the fundamental expression of the one true church here on earth and is bound together with other local churches by ties of love, fellowship and truth.”
The communiqué stated that “we are fully the church in our various settings, created and sustained by Word and Sacrament, and marked by obedience that results in faith, hope and love.”
It outlines plans for a leadership conference in April 2012, and “an international gathering of Primates, bishops, clergy and lay leaders” in “the first half of 2013 . . . provisionally designated ‘GAFCON 2’”.
To “offer adequate support to our member provinces, sustain our various initiatives, and strengthen our communications capabilities”, the Primates have also decided to establish a “GAFCON/FCA Chairman’s office” in Nairobi and a “global co-ordination office” in London “under the direction of the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria”.
Last month, GAFCON announced that the Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, had been elected chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council.