Wednesday, October 23, 2013

GAFCON 2: Calling the Leadership of the Anglican Communion to Faithfulness

It has been a busy couple of weeks, during which I have not had much time for blogging. But for those who are interested in developments in Anglicanism, especially as they relate to faithfulness to the Gospel, I want to call your attention to David Ould's posts from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) currently going on in Nairobi, Kenya.

In particular, I want to call your attention to his post from Day 2. To set the stage, the tone for Day 1 of GAFCON was set by reflection on the Archbishop of Canterbury's meeting with the Primates just prior to the official beginning of GAFCON. On Day 3 of GAFCON, the attendees were shown an address by Archbishop Welby on video prepared especially for them and designed to convey greetings and support. It is a gross understatement to say that attendees were underwhelmed by Abp. Welby's remarks and dubious about Canterbury's ability to lead the Anglican Communion in an orthodox, faithful, and missional future.

But the address by GAFCON Chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala on Day 2 was critical, in my opinion, in demonstrating what GAFCON means and where it is headed. As David Ould reports, this is the crucial paragraph from that address:
Five years on [since the first GAFCON conference], the paralysis of which we spoke has intensified. And it has become clear that the Communion now needs new wineskins, a new way of ordering its affairs to fulfill the world wide scope of the Great Commission. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has now come to this conclusion and I am grateful for His Grace’s honesty in acknowledging that the Anglican Communion’s neo-colonial leadership structures need to be replaced when he preached here at All Saints Cathedral last Sunday. However, it is difficult to see how stable and effective leadership can be developed unless the depth of the spiritual crisis we face is acknowledged. Organisational change on its own will not be enough. Even the very weak theological discipline of the Anglican Covenant has failed to win consent despite years of negotiation and the Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer able to gather the Communion.
Or, as David Ould summarizes:’s not enough for Welby to visit GAFCON and tell them that he recognises that the current structures are failing. If he will not deal with the real issues (the apostasy of the American and Canadian churches) then GAFCON will continue on without him. He no longer commands any leadership amongst them.
When I am able to do some original blogging, these are the questions I want to explore: What will happen to God and the Gospel as people pursue the various avenues that are open toward an Anglican future? And are the current structures of the Anglican Communion and its various provinces capable of demonstrating the kind of faithfulness that pleases God and carrying out the authentic mission of the Church that Jesus gave us (Matt. 28:18-20)?

These are the questions being asked by those attending GAFCON and by many Anglicans in both the Global North and South who have been affected by the tearing of the Anglican Communion's fabric in recent decades. As the final conference Communique emerges, I have no doubt that we will gain further clarity as to how these leaders, representing the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide, see the answers to these questions.

1 comment:

Galletta said...

It is indeed interesting to see faithful leaders gathering at GAFCON and discuss ways forward. Granted ++Welby admitting that the instruments of communion are failing us is not much HOWEVER it is more that we ever got out of +Rowan Williams. SO, while some may not think it is enough for ++Welby to admit that there is something wrong, I will give him credit for that much of an admission. All I can say to ++Welby is either assume leadership of this communion or get out of the way as those in GAFCON will if there is a leadership vacuum. Plain and simple, Either get with the plan or get out of GAFCON's way. That is your choice, Archbishop Welby.