GAFCON communiqué chides ACC for ‘defiance’

29 April 2016

THE Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Zambia earlier this month has “further torn the fabric of the Communion”, conservative Anglican leaders said last week.

A gathering in Nairobi of Primates affiliated to GAFCON, the grouping begun at the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem in 2008, ended last Friday with a communiqué that declared that ACC-16 had “highlighted the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion”.

The voting by delegates from the US Episcopal Church on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine had taken place “in defiance of the Primates”, the communiqué said, in a reference to the Primates’ Meeting in January, at which “consequences” for the Episcopal Church had been agreed. “This action has damaged the standing of the Anglican Consultative Council as an instrument of unity, increased levels of distrust, and further torn the fabric of the Communion.”

The verdict ignored the Archbishop of Canterbury and the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, who had argued that the censure of the Episcopal Church had been “followed through as far as is possible and legal” (News, 15 April).

Among the developments listed in the communiqué are new staff appointments. Canon Charles Raven, the Archbishop of Kenya’s Officer for the Anglican Communion, will head a new office of membership development, based in the UK.

Canon Raven moved to Kenya in 2012, after founding Christ Church, Wyre Forest, described as an “Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) church plant” (News, 3 July, 2009). On Wednesday he said that part of his job was “supporting faithful Anglicans when officially sanctioned departure from core biblical teaching makes it necessary to form a local expression of GAFCON”. Since the Primates’ Meeting in January, GAFCON had seen “a number of orthodox provinces expressing an interest in joining”, he said.

Canon Raven, who expects to be based in the north-east of England (he has had permission to officiate in Durham since 2013), said that GAFCON had learned that “structures follow life; they do not create life.” The “old structures” were “clearly failing, because they are trying to hold together two fundamentally different visions of what it means to be Anglican. I believe GAFCON is movement being used by God to renew his Church.”

The meeting in Nairobi was attended by representatives from ten provinces and two branches, including the UK. It celebrated the establishment of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ, which was launched this month at two conferences in Auckland and Christchurch. Among the speakers was the Rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, Canon Vaughan Roberts, who gave four talks on “true gospel, true sex, true love, and true unity”.

The GAFCON communiqué confirmed that the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, has passed chairmanship of its Primates’ Council to the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh.

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