Category : Global South Churches & Primates

Gafcon Primates Council Communiqué, Entebbe, April 2018

Some of our members who lead the largest provinces in the Anglican Communion chose on principle not to attend the 2017 Primates’ Meeting. However, we received a report from those members who did choose to attend.

We are grieved that the Communiqué from that meeting did not accurately describe the relationships that have been broken by The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Scottish Episcopal Church. These provinces have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. They are not walking together with us. The Communiqué also did not accurately describe the Anglican Church in North America, which we recognised as a Province in the Anglican Communion. In addition, in addressing cross-border interventions, the Communiqué failed to recognise that there is no moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises “from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation”, and the innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communiqué 2007).

We were disappointed both in the content of the Communiqué and the process of its production. The Communiqué was not made available until the very last day of the meeting, and there was not adequate time to consider its content. At the moment when trust between the provinces of the Anglican Communion is exceptionally fragile, this was not an event that facilitated healing and reconciliation. Instead, the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury has contributed to a deepening of the divide in our beloved Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

(Bloomberg View) Stephen Carter–The Ugly Coded Critique of Chick-Fil-A’s Christianity in a recent New Yorker article

If we look beyond the liberal West, we see that another Christian revolution, quite different from the one being called for in affluent American suburbs and upscale urban parishes, is already in progress. Worldwide, Christianity is actually moving toward supernaturalism and neo-orthodoxy, and in many ways toward the ancient world view expressed in the New Testament: a vision of Jesus as the embodiment of divine power, who overcomes the evil forces that inflict calamity and sickness upon the human race. In the global South (the areas that we often think of primarily as the Third World) huge and growing Christian populations – currently 480 million in Latin America, 360 million in Africa, and 313 million in Asia, compared with 260 million in North America – now make up what the Catholic scholar Walbert Buhlmann has called the Third Church, a form of Christianity as distinct as Protestantism or Orthodoxy, and one that is likely to become dominant in the faith. The revolution taking place in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is far more sweeping in its implications than any current shifts in North American religion, whether Catholic or Protestant. There is increasing tension between what one might call a liberal Northern Reformation and the surging Southern religious revolution, which one might equate with the Counter-Reformation, the internal Catholic reforms that took place at the same time as the Reformation — although in references to the past and the present the term “Counter-Reformation” misleadingly implies a simple reaction instead of a social and spiritual explosion. No matter what the terminology, however, an enormous rift seems inevitable.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Urban/City Life and Issues

Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s April 2018 Letter

My dear people of God,

Around the world we have just celebrated the mighty resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty and Christ is Risen! Christ’s sacrifice of himself upon the cross really has broken the power of sin and death, the tomb could not hold him and it is only a matter of time before the Risen Christ will be revealed to all at his second coming as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He will indeed make all things new.

It is in the light of these great truths that the Apostle Paul gives us words of command and of encouragement at the end of 1 Corinthians 15, a chapter in which he reminds the church of the gospel they have received and the unshakeable hope that is theirs in Christ. These words are also for us, to give us strength to persevere and not lose heart in the face of discouragement.

Some of you face challenges such as persecution, disease, communal strife and food insecurity. Some have to struggle with less physically threatening problems which can still be very hard as you are marginalised because of your faithfulness and those who were once friends draw back from you. But in all these circumstances the resurrection of Jesus from the dead assures us that despite the sins, confusions, suffering and setbacks that are part of our experience now, ultimate victory is certain.

Gafcon is a movement which lives by this power of resurrection hope. We are determined to be steadfast and immovable in the face of great pressures to compromise the unchanging truth of the gospel, whether through money or seductive calls to unity which are based merely on shared history rather than shared truth.

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Posted in Easter, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

(Gafcon) Archbp Peter Jensen–Slipping into the slumber of the spirit

Whenever the Bible mentions the matter of same sex activity, it is to warn against it. The boundaries within which sexual relations may occur are clearly delineated. We should not have sex with a person married to another (adultery), or with a person to whom we are not married whether of the same or the opposite sex (fornication), or with a person to whom we are closely related (incest), or to any other than another human (bestiality).

We ought not to think that these boundaries are given to oppress us. God is in favour of sex in the right place, and he gives joy in its expression. The boundaries protect us; they give us wisdom as to what is best for our humanity. They are immensely important in an age where sex has become a divinity and those who do not have sex are regarded as deprived and eccentric. The return to paganism brought in by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, is not a return to the good. The harm it has done, from abortion to sexually transmitted diseases and relational hurt is horrendous. In many ways, the debts incurred are yet to be paid.

All you need is love? Is this the truth?

Love is, of course, the greatest of all virtues. But Christian love is not undiscriminating. Its wisdom is the law of God. Without love, the law becomes rigid and cruel. Without the law, love becomes mere sentiment. Even great misdeeds may be adorned with virtues such as courage, integrity, honesty, self-sacrifice and, yes, love itself. Thus an army bent on illegal destruction can be marked by love between the troops; an adulterous affair can be the scene of a deep and powerful love; love can commit suicide in order to be with a loved one at the end.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon’s Statement on the Consecration of a Female Bishop in South Sudan

From the beginning of the Gafcon movement there have been a variety of understandings among our members on the question of consecrating women to the episcopate. Recognising that this issue poses a threat to the unity we prize, the Primates agreed in 2014 to do what was within their power to affect a voluntary moratorium on the consecration of women to the episcopate. They then set up the Task Force on Women in the Episcopate, chaired by Bishop Samson Mwaluda which presented a report to the 2017 Gafcon Primates Council.

In discussion at this Council, the Primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Deng Bul (who had not been present when the moratorium was agreed) shared with us that his personal decision to consecrate a female bishop was an extraordinary action taken in the midst of civil unrest in a part of his country where most of the men were engaged in armed conflict….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Sudan

Stephen Noll–Fisking Bishop Fearon: The Lambeth Establishment Takes on the Global South

Bishop Fearon continues: The See of Canterbury is one of the unique features which binds us together. At the Primates’ Meeting in October it was clear just how much Canterbury meant to those who came. For Anglicans, communion with the See of Canterbury – and with its Archbishop – is the visible expression of our communion with one another.

A deep respect for the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury has existed among global Anglicans, who have been grateful for rather than resentful of the colonial heritage. This deference is in no small part because they received the gospel of salvation thereby; but in recent decades, this deference has been wearing thin. Fearon’s roseate picture of the recent Primates’ meeting is delusional, especially considering that three Primates from the largest African Provinces had refused to attend and seven others have now signed the Global South Network letter, which contradicts the (unsigned) Canterbury Primates’ Communiqué.

Bishop Fearon now comes to the point concerning Anglican identity. Contrary to Archbishop Okoh, he asserts: the relationship with the See of Canterbury is essential for Anglicans. You cannot be in the Anglican Communion without it.

This assertion represents an extreme interpretation of “primacy,” edging toward papalism. In fact, it suggests that Canterbury is not just a unique feature of Anglicanism but the unique feature. Note the use here of the word essential. Being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury is not only required for formal recognition as a Province of the Anglican Communion, but it is required to call oneself an Anglican, a point I shall return to later.

Bishop Fearon supports his claim by reference to the Lambeth Conference: The fundamental character of this relationship was spelled out by the 1930 Lambeth Conference which refers to the Anglican Communion as “a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury…

Resolution 49 from the Lambeth Conference in 1930 is indeed an important statement concerning member churches of the Anglican Communion. The Resolution goes on to say of those churches:

  • they uphold and propagate the Catholic and Apostolic faith and order as they are generally set forth in the Book of Common Prayer as authorized in their several Churches;
  • they are particular or national Churches, and, as such, promote within each of their territories a national expression of Christian faith, life and worship; and
  • they are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the Bishops in conference.

The standard definition of the Anglican Communion certainly calls for respect and received it uniformly until 1998. Following the 1998 Lambeth Conference, however, the adequacy of this arrangement was tested when one member church chose to violate what others consider a breach of “Catholic and Apostolic faith and order” by ordaining a practicing homosexual as bishop.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Statement from the Global South Primates Regarding the Anglican Church in North America

5. Unfortunately, the TEC Standing Committee rejected the recommendation of the Primates to form the Pastoral Council. As a result, several dioceses and many individual parishes in both Canada and the United States transferred their allegiances to Anglican provinces in South America and Africa.

6. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was founded in 2009 by former members of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada, many of whom were illegally deposed after disassociating themselves from the revisionist doctrinal and social teachings of The Episcopal Church.

7. In 2010, the Global South Primates meeting in Singapore welcomed the formation of the Anglican Church in North America as a faithful expression of Anglicanism.

“We were pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from The Episcopal Church USA (TEC ) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who do not accept their church’s innovations. We assure them of our loving and prayerful support. We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful exp ression of Anglicanism. We welcomed them as partners in the Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners. GS 2010 Singapore.”

Due to this long and complex history of events and their consequences, many people do not understand how the faithful Anglicans who are currently in the Anglican Church in North America have struggled to keep the unity of the church, and at the same time remain faithful to the Anglican tradition. More than 650 priests and more than ten bishops who were originally ordained and consecrated within TEC were deposed. It became a necessity to form a body that keeps those faithful within the Anglican tradition, hence the Anglican Church in North America was formed, and welcomed as a valuable member of the Global South Anglicans.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Global South Churches & Primates

A Statement from the Global South Primates Regarding the Anglican Church in North America

7. In 2010, the Global South Primates meeting in Singapore welcomed the formation of the Anglican Church in North America as a faithful expression of Anglicanism.

“We were pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from The Episcopal Church USA (TEC ) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who do not accept their church’s innovations. We assure them of our loving and prayerful support. We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism. We welcomed them as partners in the Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners. GS 2010 Singapore.”

Due to this long and complex history of events and their consequences, many people do not understand how the faithful Anglicans who are currently in the Anglican Church in North America have struggled to keep the unity of the church, and at the same time remain faithful to the Anglican tradition. More than 650 priests and more than ten bishops who were originally ordained and consecrated within TEC were deposed. It became a necessity to form a body that keeps those faithful within the Anglican tradition, hence the Anglican Church in North America was formed, and welcomed as a valuable member of the Global South Anglicans.

8. It is worth mentioning that the orders of priests in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have been recognised by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Global South Churches & Primates

The Gafcon Chairman’s December 2017 letter

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Posted in Global South Churches & Primates

Gafcon responds to the 2017 Partial Primates Meeting–Can Two Walk Together Unless They Are Agreed?

The Primates’ Meeting has been portrayed as “good disagreement” over issues of sexuality, and that the irreconcilable theological convictions underlying the different positions can be set aside for the sake of institutional unity. But this does not reflect the reality. We are not “walking together.”[3]

Of most significance is the fact that several primates, including the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Gafcon Primates’ Council have refused to attend the meeting. In the words of Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, “Attendance at Canterbury would be to give credibility to a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity.”[4]

The consciences of others led them to attend, to make a robust defence of the Gospel. They bore faithful witness to the authority of Scripture’s unchanging teaching on marriage and human relationships. Unfortunately, the primates’ call to repentance was not heeded by those who have sought to redefine marriage. Without repentance there can be no reconciliation.

Again we have seen the “inability of existing Communion instruments to discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action. The instruments have again been found wanting in their ability to discipline those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith.”[5] The rejection of Scripture and the changes in pastoral practice which have been initiated by The Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada, and the Scottish Episcopal Church have torn the fabric of the Communion. For this reason we are grateful for those primates who have consecrated a missionary bishop to care for the faithful in Scotland. There is no moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises, “from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation”, and the innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communique 2007).

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Posted in Global South Churches & Primates, Partial Primates meeting Canterbury 2017

(CEN) Primates at the partial Anglican Primates Meeting ‘should be honest about divisions,’ says Gafcon

A Gafcon spokesman told The Church of England Newspaper:“If trust in the Communion is to begin to be restored, the sanctions need to be deeper, wider, and credible. Provinces that have torn the fabric of the Communion by redefining marriage have chosen to walk apart,” a spokesman said.

“They should not receive Lambeth 2020 invitations. The Episcopal Church made their decision over a decade ago, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have joined them. They are walking in the opposite direction. We aren’t walking together. We should be honest about those facts….”

Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, the Very Rev Kevin Holdsworth, said this week: “When people talk about the Primates issuing sanctions, they have forgotten that the meeting is not a disciplinary body but is there to allow the Primates to listen to one another.

“The Scottish Episcopal Church decided to stay together over same-sex nuptials and the Communion could decide to do exactly the same,” he said.

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Posted in Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Partial Primates meeting Canterbury 2017, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(AAC) Canon Phil Ashey–Some Reflections on the Global South Primates Meeting

The Global South Primates are meeting their promise.  It is a promise, not a threat.  But as faithful members of the Anglican Communion, they can no longer wait for the Archbishop of Canterbury or the status quo structures to cure themselves.  In fact, at least three of the four Communion structures or “instruments” are at war with each other!  Consider the Anglican Consultative Council’s repudiation of the authority of the Primates over matters of doctrine and order at their April 2016 meeting in Lusaka (Zambia), and Canterbury’s deafening silence.

Since the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican status quo cannot heal the wound, the Global South will apply healing balm through a recovery of “enhanced ecclesial responsibility.”  What will these new structures look like in keeping with “faithful Anglican membership”?  How will the intensification of relationships around these new structures impact relationships around the current broken Instruments?  What charm offensive will we see from Canterbury to disrupt this work by the Global South?

Finally, the Global South Primates comments about the Church of England are also pointed.  They rightly praise Bishop Julian Henderson of the Diocese of Blackburn for coming over and reporting on “the challenges facing orthodox Anglicans in the Church of England.”  But it is noteworthy that they not only call upon faithful Anglicans to stand firm, but also to “speak up” for the central place of Scripture in the life of the Church.  Bishop Henderson came over and did so – but where are the other Bishops in the Church of England?  What does it mean to be an “evangelical” bishop in the Church of England these days if not to boldly speak up for the clarity, authority and centrality of the Scriptures in the life of the Church?  What challenge have the Global South Primates laid down to the Bishops of the Church of England in these carefully chosen words?

Oh, and by the way, who is “failing to walk together” when, as the Global South Primates note, the conditions for “walking together” were nullified by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, in his failure to see that the restrictions on The Episcopal Church were observed and respected?

As the Canterbury Primates meeting October 2017 draws near, how many more Primates will say, in the same spirit as Nehemiah did when facing dilatory meetings, “My work is too important to stop now and go there. I can’t afford to slow down the work just to visit with you.” (Nehemiah 6:2-3)

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

The Global South Primates’ Communiqué of September 2017

We express our sadness for the decision taken by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its doctrine of marriage and are thankful for the faithful remnant of the Scottish Anglican Network that continues to contend for God’s Word. We are also saddened by the decisions of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to allow same-sex marriage. If this decision is ratified it will further tear the fabric of the Communion.

We invited Bishop Julian Henderson, President of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), to address us about the challenges facing orthodox Anglicans in England. We commend the recent CEEC statements reaffirming the biblical definition of marriage. We encourage Anglicans in England to continue to stand firm in defence of the Gospel and to speak up for the central place of Scripture in the life of our Church, particularly in this 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

We are saddened that the 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia, did not unequivocally accept the decisions of the last Primates Meeting. While we expressed a desire to walk together as a Communion, this was contingent upon our decisions regarding The Episcopal Church being respected and upheld. Unfortunately, this agreement was not enforced and The Episcopal Church has been allowed to take part in decision making regarding “matters pertaining to polity and doctrine.” They have also represented us in ecumenical meetings. This has led to a further breakdown of trust and confidence.

In light of this reality, we discussed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to the upcoming Primates’ Meeting. The conscience of some does not allow them to attend. Some intend to go in defence of the Gospel and some are continuing to discern what the Lord is asking of them in this hour. We have all agreed to pray that the outcome of the upcoming meeting will be decisive and lead to coherent and responsible action regarding the issues which continue to tear apart the fabric of the Communion, issues that have eternal consequences.

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Posted in Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates

(AI) Global South Leaders Meet in Cairo

Joining Dr. Anis at All Saints Cathedral were the Primates of Southeast Asia, Myanmar, Uganda, Congo, South America, Nigeria, Rwanda, West Africa and the Anglican Church in North America.

The primates of Uganda and Nigeria, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali and the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh have announced they will not attend the primates meeting scheduled for next month in Canterbury, England. However, the Global South leaders have not exercised a party line whip on attending the meeting, allowing each primate to decide.

Sources close to the primates tell Anglican Ink the Global South views attendance at the meeting to be a second order issue that does not require a uniform response. Where they stand united, however, is on issues of doctrine and discipline — are are opposed to the recent innovations of the American and Scottish Episcopal Churches and the Anglican Church of Canada.

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Posted in Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

(ACNS) Secretary General clarifies ACNA position with Communion as he reports to Standing Committee

The Secretary General, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has stressed that the Anglican Church of North America is not a province of the Anglican Communion. Speaking to ACNS as he delivered his report to the Standing Committee, Archbishop Josiah said he wanted to correct any suggestion that ACNA was the 39th province of the Communion rather than Sudan, which was inaugurated in July.

“It is simply not true to say that ACNA is part of the Anglican Communion,” he said. “To be part of the Communion a province needs to be in communion with the See of Canterbury and to be a member of the Instruments of the Communion. ACNA is not in communion with the See of Canterbury – and has not sought membership of the Instruments.

“There is a long-standing process by which a province is adopted as a province of the Communion. It was a great joy for me to see Sudan go through this process and it was a privilege to be in Khartoum in July to see it become the 39th member of the Communion. ACNA has not gone through this process.

“ACNA is a church in ecumenical relationship with many of our provinces,” he went on. “But that is also true of many churches, including the Methodist, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.”

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates