AT THE second Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), held
this week in Nairobi, the General Secretary of the Fellowship of
Confessing Anglicans, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Jensen, said that the
"future" of Anglicanism had "arrived" - and it was GAFCON.
The sentiment was apparently shared by most of the 1352
delegates from 40 countries, including more than 100 from the UK.
Women clerics from Africa and the United States worshipped with
conservative Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics (Comment, 18
"We believe the apostolic faith," Dr Jensen said in the opening
session, "and we do not believe the faith of those who contradict
the Bible, and who deny the uniqueness and supremacy of
The first day of the conference was devoted to worship, and to a
preparatory talk given by Dr Jensen. The second day alternated
between worship and presentations by the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr
Eliud Wabukala, who hosted the conference, and the Principal of Oak
Hill Theological College, the Revd Dr Mike Ovey.
Shorter presentations were offered by the Vicar of St Mark's,
Battersea Rise, the Revd Paul Perkin; the Archbishop of Sudan, Dr
Daniel Deng Bul; the Bishop of Jos, Nigeria, the Rt Revd Ben
Kwashi; Andrea Minichiello Williams, of Christian Concern; the
Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand, the Rt Revd Richard Ellena; and the
vice-chancellor of Uganda Christian University, Canon John
Dr Jensen characterised the Church's problem as a failure of
commitment. "We have failed to make disciples through teaching the
commands of Jesus found in the Bible at depth. That is why so much
of the Church in the West has simply collapsed, capitulated, and
compromised before a virulent, antagonistic secularism."
Delegates did not agree, however, on the extent of the collapse.
The chairman of Reform, the Revd Rod Thomas, said that it was
possible to be a conservative Evangelical cleric in the Church of
England, but one should not expect the hierarchy's preference,
support, or sympathy.
Bishop Henry Scriven, the SAMS-CMS South American director,
painted a less bleak picture. "Four of the five senior bishops of
the C of E are Evangelicals," he said; and the majority of the
House of Bishops were "solid, orthodox men".
Dr Wabukala said that the Churches represented at GAFCFON were
"committed to the Anglican Communion", and to the reform of its
structures. GAFCON promised that it would work with the Archbishop
of Canterbury in this.
The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Tito
Zavala, said: "What we seek is a new way of support and
encouragement for one another. We want to keep this humble,
The old ways of the Anglican Communion were as "dead as the
British Empire", Dr Jensen said and a commonwealth of Churches
would replace it.
Welby: Live in holiness
IN A video greeting, the Arch-bishop of Canterbury told
GAFCON on Wednesday he was "pleased . . . that you are meeting to
be clear about where you stand", writes Madeleine
The Archbishop was, he said, delighted to be able to
speak to the conference, though "very regrettably" previous
obligations had prevented him from joining it. "I am so thrilled
that you should be coming together to seek afresh the face of Jesus
Christ, and for yourselves to have new vision in his service and
bringing the gospel to an incredibly needy world."
His message emphasised the "different contexts" of the
Anglican Communion. In the Global North, the Church was dealing
with "very rapid changes of culture . . . and the issue of
sexuality is a very important one. How we respond rightly to that -
in a way that is holy, truthful and gracious - is absolutely
critical to our proclamation of the gospel."
Other Churches were dealing with war or corruption.
"Wherever we are, there's a different context; but wherever we are,
in our own context, in the right way, we have to live as a Church
that is holy."
Unity did not mean being "unanimous", he said: "all
saying exactly the same thing in exactly the same way". It meant
that "we demonstrate by our love for one another that Jesus is the
Son of God, and therefore people are drawn to believe in
The Archbishop said that the "main reason" for his
pre-conference visit to Kenya had been to offer his condolences in
the wake of the terrorist attack in Nairobi last month. On
Wednesday, Lambeth Palace issued a statement confirming this
Statement from Lambeth Palace on Archbishop Welby's time
The Archbishop of Canterbury was appalled by the terror attacks
that took place in Nairobi and Peshawar last month. Immediately
after the attacks, the Archbishop contacted the Primates of Kenya
and Pakistan and asked how he could best support them. The Primate
of Pakistan, the Most Revd Samuel Azariah, said that it would be
more helpful for the Archbishop to visit at a later date. The
Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala, warmly welcomed
Archbishop Welby's offer to visit immediately.
Archbishop Welby had been invited several months ago to the
GAFCON 2013 conference in Nairobi, and had declined the invitation
because of prior commitments, including the baptism of Prince
George. He had offered to engage with GAFCON participants before
the start of the meeting, but this was not believed to be workable
because they would not yet have arrived. The Archbishop sent
a video message to the conference expressing his greetings and
prayers for their discussions.
On Sunday, during his condolence visit to Nairobi, the
Archbishop preached twice at All Saints Cathedral to hundreds of
people, a minority of whom had arrived early in Nairobi to attend
GAFCON 2013. After the services, the Archbishop was pleased to join
a lunch attended by about 40 people, the majority of whom were
Kenyan bishops and senior staff. He had said before visiting that
he would be pleased to meet any Primates who had arrived early in
Nairobi for the GAFCON meeting, some of whom were at the lunch.
The Archbishop came to Christ in Kenya and was personally
affected by the attack on the Westgate Shopping Centre. Archbishop
Wabukala is an old personal friend and Archbishop Welby was pleased
to come to Kenya to offer support and prayers. Reports suggesting
that the primary reason for the Archbishop's visit was anything
other than to offer condolences are incorrect.