“Peter Jensen, the retired Archbishop of Sydney and the current general Secretary of GAFCON, has given an extensive interview to VirtueOnline in which he expressed frankly some of his views on the current state of the Anglican Communion, and the mission of the Christian church in contemporary culture. The Virtue piece also contains some excerpts from talks that Jensen gave to the recent CANA meeting in Pennsylvania. It is worth giving these comments some analysis, as they give voice to the thinking behind GAFCON, as well as bringing to light some of the problems in global Anglicanism that derive from very different perceptions and interpretations of events…”
– Andrew Syme at Anglican Mainstream provides his analysis of the reported interview with Dr. Jensen.
“The ACC-16 Lusaka gathering was irrelevant to the GAFCON bishops. We stated again that the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, only highlighted again the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion.
Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. 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. I think that is pretty definitive. The Anglican Communion should be preaching the Word of God…”
“We are a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. Please continue to pray for our global Anglican future.”
Be sure to read the Appendix too.
Primates’ Council Communiqué
April 22, 2016 – Nairobi, Kenya
We the Primates of the Global Anglican Future Conference met in Nairobi, Kenya from April 18-21, 2016. We give thanks for the gracious hospitality of the Anglican Church of Kenya, their Primate, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, and All Saints Cathedral Diocese. As the location for GAFCON 2013, All Saints holds a special place in our history and in our hearts, and we have been encouraged to be here again.
We began our meeting with prayer and a Bible study that focused on Mark 2:1-12. In this passage, the Scriptures retell the story of a man who could not walk, but was assisted by friends who helped bring him to Jesus. Unable to get their friend through the front door, they loved him enough to find another way.
It is a story about the grace of God at work both in the power of fellowship and the merciful love of Jesus. We ourselves have received His forgiveness, and because He first loved us, we are passionate about doing all that we can to bring others into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We met this week to find practical ways of removing obstacles so that all those who need healing can be brought close to Jesus, be forgiven of their sins, and walk again.
Mission and Discipleship
GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching, teaching, and programs which free our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.
This week we made progress on a wide variety of initiatives to build up the body of Christ. We planned for GAFCON 2018, approved a program that will facilitate bishops’ training, received good news from our provinces and branches, added staff to further the ministry, and made a transition in Primatial leadership. We have also paid careful attention to the facts that have arisen from the Anglican Consultative Council’s meeting in Lusaka.
As a global family we are continuing to make preparations for GAFCON 2018. This will be the third conference since our founding, and the ten year anniversary of the Jerusalem Declaration. The GAFCON movement uniquely draws together the majority of the world’s Anglicans, both clergy and laity, into one proportional and representative body.
We are excited to gather for worship that represents the breadth of the Anglican Communion, as we come together under the authority of the Bible. The conference will provide teaching from God’s Word, fellowship that spans continents, break-out sessions that teach on the themes of mission, discipleship, and evangelism, especially in places where persecution is rife.
It is our hope and prayer that disciples will be so inspired by the vision of the glory of God among the nations, that the Church will be revived and joyously released to spread the love of Jesus.
A coordinator has been appointed to take this work forward, a planning team is being formed, and more will be shared in the coming months.
The Bishops’ Training Institute, launching in September 2016, will equip bishops to be men of prayer, diligent in Bible study and godliness. The inaugural class will bring together twenty new bishops from across the world. Its vision and mission is to equip today’s bishops for effective ministry by seeking the wisdom of the whole church, and especially senior bishops. It will gather, train, mentor, challenge, and sustain episcopal leadership so that today’s bishops will be empowered to live for Christ and make Him known.
We give thanks for the continued growth of GAFCON. Our meeting included representatives from ten provinces (Congo, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North America, Rwanda, South America, South Sudan & Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda) and two branches (Australia and the United Kingdom).
We also celebrated the newest branch of the movement that has been founded in New Zealand. While we were meeting in Nairobi, 500 people came together in Auckland and Christ Church, New Zealand to stand together for the truth of the Gospel. They have our full support, and we are excited to see what God will do in and through them in the years to come.
Staffing the Movement
GAFCON has demonstrated that it is a growing movement that now requires more staff to undergird its development. Mr. James Stileman has been appointed as our Operations Manager to work with the General Secretary, the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, in growing GAFCON’s capacity to serve the movement. The Rev. Canon Charles Raven is heading a new office of Membership Development, and will be working to increase and strengthen GAFCON’s branches and provinces. Ms. Tina de Souza has joined us to head our Communications Department, and she has overseen the development of our website and overall communications strategy. We welcome this team, and give thanks for their dedication to the cause of Christ.
We also give thanks for the wise and faithful leadership of the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, as his term as our Chairman comes to an end. His six years of service came at a critical time in the life of our movement, and he has put us on a good footing as we enter this next chapter of our life together.
We are excited to announce that the new chairman of the Primates’ Council is the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of All Nigeria. He is joined in leadership by the new vice-chair, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda. Archbishops Okoh and Ntagali have been deeply committed to the GAFCON movement since its founding, and are well prepared to lead.
Canterbury to Lusaka
We went to Canterbury out of a desire for unity. In our hearts we desire to see the tear in the fabric of the communion mended. The sanctions passed at that meeting were the mildest possible rebuke to only the worst of the offenders, but they were one step in the right direction. Regrettably, these sanctions have not been upheld. This is disappointing, but sadly not surprising. A more comprehensive statement appears in the appendix to this document.
This is an important time in the life of our churches. The grassroots outpouring of messages of support has shown the strength of our movement, and we are deeply thankful for the prayers of our laity and clergy over the last few months. We are a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. Please continue to pray for our global Anglican future.
Members of the Primates’ Council Present
The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala
Anglican Church of All Nigeria
The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh
Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev. Foley Beach
Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda
The Most Rev. Onesphore Rwaje
The Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Most Rev. Jacob Chimeledya
The Church of the Province of Uganda
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali
Appendix: From Canterbury to Lusaka
Last January, we spent time together at the Primates Gathering contending for a restoration of godly order within the Anglican Communion. The sanctions passed at that meeting were not in themselves capable of restoring order, but they were a potential first step.
At that meeting, we acknowledged the reality of the “significant distance” between us and “expressed a desire to walk together” if possible. This distance was created when The Episcopal Church walked away from the Anglican Communion’s doctrine on sexuality and the plain teaching of Scripture.
Within hours of the meeting’s end the public responses from many bishops, clergy, and lay people of The Episcopal Church made it clear that they did not desire to share the same journey. The biblical call to repentance is a call to make a 180 degree turn. It grieves us that many in The Episcopal Church have again rejected this call. While we desire to walk together, until there is true repentance, the reality is that they are deliberately walking away from the Anglican Communion and the authority of Scripture at a distance that continues to increase.
The recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia has again highlighted the inability of the current instruments to uphold godly order within the Communion. Delegates from the Episcopal Church, by their own admission, voted on matters that pertained to polity and doctrine, in defiance of the Primates. 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.
Nonetheless, we give thanks that these events have brought further clarity, and drawn GAFCON closer together in the mission of the Gospel. We are of one mind that the future of the Anglican Communion does not lie with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written. What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing: enabling global fellowship and godly order, united by biblical faithfulness. This unity has provided us with great energy to continue to work for the renewal of the Anglican Communion.
from GAFCON. Photo: GAFCON.
“Because this ACC meeting was held in the shadow of the January Primates Gathering and Meeting that sought to restrict our participation as members from The Episcopal Church, we want to assure you that we participated fully in this meeting and that we were warmly welcomed and included by other ACC members. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby did report to the ACC on the Primates Gathering and Meeting on the first day of the meeting. Beyond that report, ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences, for discussing disagreements over human sexuality, or for taking up the call of Anglican Communion Secretary-General Josiah Idowu-Fearon to pursue the Anglican Covenant. Yesterday, in fact, a resolution that sought to pursue further consequences against The Episcopal Church was withdrawn just before it was scheduled for debate.
Instead our fellow ACC members and we were enlivened by our shared concerns about intentional discipleship, gender-based violence, climate change, religiously motivated violence, food security and other issues that affect all of us across the Anglican Communion…”
– Read it all at The Episcopal News Service.
“Nearly 500 Anglicans from around New Zealand, including the Vicars of many larger churches, have met together this week at two conferences in Auckland and Christchurch to launch the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ (FCANZ). FCANZ is a local expression of the Gafcon movement, and a message of support was read out at the conferences from Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Chair of the Gafcon Primates.
Video greetings were also received from Most Rev Foley Beach (Primate of ACNA) and the Rt Rev Richard Condie (Bishop of Tasmania and Chair of FCA Australia).
Rev Canon Vaughan Roberts (St Ebbe’s, Oxford) gave 4 talks on True Gospel, True Sex, True Love and True Unity, and was joined by Rev Canon David Short (Vancouver), Dr Peter Adam (Melbourne), Rev. Dr. Sarah Harris (Auckland) and others.
The formation of FCANZ has been in response to the passing of Motion 30 in 2014 and the subsequent release of the ‘A Way Forward’ Report, due to be presented to the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia next month. The report proposes the blessing of same-sex civil marriages thereby rendering them as “rightly-ordered” relationships opening up the possibility for those in them to be accepted as candidates for ordination.
Rev Jay Behan, Chair of FCANZ, said ‘This week has been a hugely significant moment for orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand. FCANZ is committed to promoting faithfulness and providing fellowship, and orthodox Anglicans now know that through the FCANZ there is a place for all orthodox Anglicans in New Zealand, whether they are inside or outside the current Anglican structures.
We continue to pray that General Synod will pull back from making a decision which will tear the fabric of the communion, undermining the allegiance to General Synod for many Anglicans in New Zealand.’
“An April 18 Anglican Consultative Council marathon resolution-passing session saw ACC members take stands on climate change, gender justice, safe church environments, youth involvement in the communion, solidarity with persecuted people, and interfaith and ecumenical relations, among other issues.
And the council declined to endorse or take any action similar to the primates’ call in January for three years of so-called “consequences” for the Episcopal Church…”
– A sadly unsurprising decision by the Anglican Consultative Council – via The Episcopal News Service. (Related: Genesis 3:4.)
The January gathering of Primates in Canterbury saw many people around the world praying for the GAFCON Primates and the wider Anglican Communion. Thank you if you were one of those people. As the GAFCON Primates Council meets this week in Nairobi, they would value your prayers again. Below are some points to guide your prayers as well as your praise to our God who is rich in mercy and grace.
- for the Primates’ willingness to serve the Anglican Communion through the GAFCON Primates Council despite the heavy burdens they carry in their own Provinces.
- for the courageous and faithful leadership of Archbishop Wabukala as he stands down as chairman at this meeting.
- for safety in travelling and at the venue, for visa arrangements to go smoothly and for everyone to arrive as scheduled.
- that the Primates will be united and strong in their love for God’s Word and their resolve to see the Church of God healed and renewed.
- for wisdom in the decisions that need to be made about GAFCON 2018 and the development of the GAFCON movement.
- for the Advisers, Consultants and Secretariat staff who will be supporting the Primates.
- for this meeting to be an encouragement to the Anglican Church of Kenya.
Certainly the leaders of GAFCON are clear on this point. They are not proposing to replace the Communion. They are dealing with schism, not provoking it.
Their insight has always been clear: since the institutional structures have failed to hold the fellowship together around the truth, the answer must be a spiritual one.
A prophetic voice is needed…”
– In the last of his six-part series Back to Basics, GAFCON General Secretary, Dr. Peter Jensen, invites like-minded Christian believers to stand with those who stand for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
According to an article published on Anglican Ink, a fraudulent letter was posted on the Anglican Church of Kenya’s website, with Archbishop Wabukala’s digital signature, purporting to reverse his public decision not to send a delegation from the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) to the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council which begins today.
Here are the facts that we know…”
– The American Anglican Council’s Canon Phil Ashey summarises the latest intrigue.
The Standing Committee received a report from the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Primates’ gathering in January 2016 and noted the stated commitment of the Primates to ‘walk together’ despite differences of view. The Standing Committee welcomed the formation of a Task Group as recommended by the Primates to maintain conversation among them with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, and healing the legacy of hurt. The Standing Committee considered the Communiqué from the Primates and affirmed the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities…”
– from The Episcopal News Service.
Related: Media briefing gives outline for ACC-16. (Anglican Communion News Service.) Should we hope for at least a mention of evangelism or the Great Commission?
Whilst he had every good faith to attend, the clear disregard for the Primates’ decision reached in January 2016 Primates Gathering, that TEC not is not to be represented in the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, prevents him from doing so in good conscience.” (From GAFCON.)
Here’s the text of his letter. Paragraph breaks added for ease of reading.
My dear brother archbishops,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing to let you know that I have decided not to attend the ACC-16 in Lusaka. My decision has come after a long period of prayer and conversations.
As many of you know, it is not easy for me to withdraw from meetings, but this time I felt that if I were to attend, I would be betraying my conscience, my people, and the Primates who worked hard last January to reach a temporary solution in order to keep walking together until such time as we can reach a permanent solution.
I thought that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting in January would be followed through and TEC would not be represented in the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion but sadly this is not the case.
I don’t mind the participation of TEC in the General Meeting of the ACC, but the decision of the Primates was very clear that they should not be nominated or elected in internal standing committees. Although I was disturbed by the statements made by the chairman of the ACC while he was in the USA, I had still intended to attend the meeting. However, as it became clear that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting about the participation of TEC in the Standing Committee would be disregarded, it was then that I decided not to attend.
I see that there is a lot of confusion about the role of the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC. Neither have jurisdiction within provinces, but both have roles in regulating the relationship between provinces. The Primates’ Meeting has “enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” (Lambeth 1988) and to make “intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity” (Lambeth 1998).
Some think that because the ACC is the most representative of the instruments (including bishops, clergy, and laity), it is more authoritative. This is not true. It’s very name, “consultative”, reminds us that it is not an “Anglican Synod” but merely an advisory group. The Instruments of Unity, in order to have good relationships, need to support each others’ decisions in those areas of responsibility given to them by Lambeth Councils.
I will be praying for the members of the ACC-16 so that they may affirm and respect the decisions of the Primates’ Meeting. If this happens, it will bring hope back and we will be able to think of the future together.
+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Archbishop of Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.