Welby to make a flying visit before GAFCON meeting

11 October 2013

AP

Siege: a plume of black smoke billows over the Westgate Mall, Nairobi, as the hostage siege continues for a third day, on Monday 

Siege: a plume of black smoke billows over the Westgate Mall, Nairobi, as the hostage siege continues for a third day, on Monday 

EXACTLY one month after the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi (News, 27 September), 1200 people are expected to gather in the city to attend GAFCON II.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will preach at a eucharist at All Saints' Cathedral in the Kenyan capital, the day before the conference opens there. He will not attend the conference, owing to "long-standing commitments", a statement from Lambeth Palace said, but will record a video greeting.

The Archbishop will be the guest of the Primate of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, who chairs the GAFCON Primates Council, from 19 to 20 October. The "flying visit" to Nairobi was "to be in close solidarity following the recent terrorist attack".

The Primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will meet at All Saints' Cathedral from 21 to 23 October, joining with prominent clergy and laity from around the Communion.

On 30 September, Dr Wabukala described the Westgate attack as a "manifestation of evil". In a pastoral letter, he assured delegates that "every step possible" had been taken to ensure their safety.

GAFCON I was held in Jerusalem in 2008, shortly before the Lambeth Conference. It was attended by 1148 clergy and lay people (News, 4 July 2008). A statement issued afterwards warned of the acceptance within the provinces of the Communion of a "false gospel" and of the "manifest failure of the Communion Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy".

GAFCON II was announced in 2011 (News, 13 May, 2011). In a video on the GAFCON website, Dr Wabukala said: "Globally, the Christian faith is moving towards the Global South, and Africa is the place to go, actually."

In an interview with the Church Times earlier this year, Archbishop Welby said of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and GAFCON: "We've got to find good ways of listening to what they have to say, and them listening to what others have to say. I mean, you don't have to agree to be in the same Church - we very seldom do agree in the same Church - but you have to find ways in which we continue to love each other" (Features, 22 March).

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