Category : Global South Churches & Primates

A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates to Members and Supporters After their just concluded Lagos Meeting

Many in our African provinces are confronted by the dual threats of insurgent Islamism and drought. The targeting of Christians and churches in northern Nigeria has been in the news, and the daily dangers there and elsewhere continue to be real. Combined with drought conditions, there is the potential for widespread famine in our Sub-Saharan provinces.

In our Global North provinces the challenges are different. With the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations, our people in these provinces face dangers that are subtle, but spiritually dangerous.

Please keep each of these concerns in your prayers, and consider what God might be calling you to do in response. Our provinces have borders, but our Church does not, and the sharing of material and spiritual resources has never been more needed.

A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

Jules Gomes Interview: Archbp Welby risks a fatal Anglican split over same-sex relationships

Jules Gomes: The last few weeks has seen a PR disaster for the Church of England. If not a reading from the Koran that denies the divinity of Jesus at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, it is a service of Evening Prayer at Westcott House, Cambridge using gay slang and calling the Holy Spirit “Fantabulosa Fairy.” As director of Reform and committed to biblical orthodoxy, you must be hanging in by your fingernails. How long before your fingernails begin to crack and you let go?

Susie Leafe: I’m not sure we can blame the Church of England for what happens in Glasgow but I know what you mean. The great thing to know is that we are not hanging over an abyss””God has promised to build his Church””only he knows what role the Church of England will play in his future plans. As Reform, we have followed the experiences of orthodox Anglicans in North America and like them we are very grateful for the support and leadership we receive from other parts of the Anglican Communion GAFCON and the Global South. As always, we pray and work for the best whilst planning for the worst.

JG: In its recent report the House of Bishops have upheld traditional teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But in the very same breath the report says that Church law should be interpreted to provide “maximum freedom” for LGBT people. Isn’t this the C of E fudge factory working overtime?

SL: The Report will be discussed at General Synod this week. It describes itself as a compromise and I have not heard anyone endorse it without very serious reservations. Personally, I believe the most worrying element of the Report is the way the bishops have reinterpreted the law of the C of E about where our doctrine can be found. They appear to sideline Scripture and the traditional formularies of the Church, in favour of finding the boundaries of freedom in Canon Law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

AS Haley on the Latest Anglican Developments–Exacerbating Disunion

Just three months afterward, the Anglican Consultative Council (a deliberative body in which lay persons, clergy, bishops and Primates all take part as elected representatives of their respective denominations) held its sixteenth triennial meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. Representatives from ECUSA attended, but refused to honor the Primates’ requirement to abstain from certain deliberations of the Council having to do with “doctrine or polity.” Nor did the Council bar them from doing so.

The Episcopal delegates not only refused, but they gloated about the Council’s refusal even to consider the Primates’ requirement. In an open letter they sent to ECUSA after the meeting, which was published in the official Episcopal News Service, they reported that although Archbishop Welby had communicated the results of the January meeting to the Council, “ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences”.

Thus just as they flouted Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference in 2003, when they approved the consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson contrary to that Resolution, and just as they have repeatedly, in the years since, rejected all calls to change their course, ECUSA is determined to walk apart from the former Communion while keeping up the pretense that their actions have not turned it into a Disunion. (“How could it be a ‘Disunion’?” I hear them asking. “We still attend all its meetings!”)

Not only do they insist on exercising their full authority and rights when it comes to participation in Anglican-wide affairs, but they rub it in the GAFCON Primates’ faces every chance they get. For instance, Archbishop Welby has invited all Anglican Primates (with the exception of ACNA’s, whom he had invited the previous year) to another meeting at Canterbury next October. Just last week, the official news organ of the Anglican [Dis]union published a story about his invitation, and his expectations for the meeting. In the process, they rather loosely characterized ECUSA’s actions at ACC-16 in Lusaka (by serving up what is called “Anglican fudge” to describe what happened).

The ECUSA delegates to that meeting issued a response challenging the story’s accuracy, and ACNS had to add some further explanation by way of making the fudge thicker. (See the updated story here, and the explanation at the end. What ACNS added is the last sentence to the next-to-last paragraph.)

The upshot is that ECUSA once again saw to it that the other Primates were told in no uncertain terms that ECUSA had never yet acceded to their demands, and was not about to change its course.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Gafcon Chairman Nicholas Okoh's February 2017 letter

There are however serious concerns. It is urged that we must look for contradictory positions to be resolved in ways which are ”˜in some way hidden from us’ (paragraph 8). No reason for this optimism is given, yet it is on this basis that the report says that it is still possible for Anglicans to ”˜walk together’ (paragraph 59) and claims this was what the Anglican Primates agreed when they met in Canterbury in January 2016.

What our resolution agreed in Canterbury actually said was that while ”˜It is our unanimous desire to walk together’, the actions of The Episcopal Church ”˜further impair our communion’. This is in line with the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration which identified rejection of apostolic teaching on sexuality and marriage as a manifestation of a ”˜false gospel’ which required godly discipline.

It seems therefore that the Church of England bishops have recommended the right thing for the wrong reason. They have retained the Church’s traditional teaching, but because they think that holding opposite views together will eventually produce a consensus, not because it represents an apostolic boundary.

This understanding is confirmed by the fact that the report encourages a relaxation of church discipline and confuses pastoral sensitivity with a permissive church culture which already tolerates, in practice, clergy who have contracted same-sex ”˜marriages’….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon Statement on TEC Voting in Lusaka

From here:

The agreement from the January Primates meeting in 2016 was broken when The Episcopal Church (TEC) took part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity and doctrine in Lusaka. Equally damaging, was an attempt by the Anglican Communion Office to deny the fact by claiming that, technically, the process included no formal votes. This is sophistry.

The Primates agreement in January was never limited to the narrow issue of the method of voting. It said that “[The Episcopal Church] will not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine.” [Primates 2016 Communique]
Whether a meeting uses a consensus model, or a voice vote, or paper ballots, or electronic ballots is of no relevance. The Episcopal Church was not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine. They did.

As the GAFCON Primates Council has said: “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.” [Gafcon Primates Communique, April 2016]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Media, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

A Remnant in Scotland find hope through Gafcon

Read it all and watch the whole video (4 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

Peter Jensen–Is Gafcon the problem? A Response to Josiah Idowu-Fearon

As we evaluate and critique the Secretary-General’s position on these matters it’s important to focus on the views themselves, representing those of the senior leadership of the Anglican Communion, rather than the person himself. In reverse order:

a) ”˜African antagonism to homosexuality has been taught by American conservatives’. This is simply endorsing the narrative of Western LGBT activists who themselves have been campaigning to introduce their views into Africa with the powerful support of Western governments and even the UN. When they find resistance they assume it to come from the other side in their home culture war, as they cannot conceive of African leaders being able to think for themselves.

b) The harsh, blanket criticism of African church leaders (“unChristlike, despotic, corrupt”) is generalizing and inaccurate.
While of course some Church leaders are like this in Africa as in other parts of the world, there are many godly men and women who lead sacrificially and wisely. To suggest that they focus on sexuality while neglecting issues of deprivation and suffering is, again, simply not true, and again appears to be repeating the views of liberal Westerners who have never seen the heroic work going on all over the continent by churches.

c) The comment that “GAFCON is not a movement of the Holy Spirit” needs to be measured against the gracious forbearance shown by GAFCON leaders towards those with whom they disagreed at Canterbury in January 2016, and the wonderful unity displayed in the Cairo meeting of early October. Such an erroneous and harsh judgement of GAFCON sadly shows a determination not to reconcile with the movement, but to discredit it completely in the eyes of a Western audience. But GAFCON is a movement to hold the Anglican Communion together around the word of God, in line with the classical position of Anglicanism. It has not created schism, but has actually enabled loyal Anglicans to stay in the Communion. Following the teaching of God’s word, it refuses to have fellowship with those who have compromised the faith on matters of salvation. They have abandoned Communion, not GAFCON. This is the true logic of being a ”˜conservative’.

d) The emphasis on reconciliation between people holding different views, so that institutional unity must be preserved at all costs is at odds with the New Testament. According to Ephesians 2 and 3, people from warring human religious and cultural backgrounds, alike estranged from God, are brought together by repentance, faith in Christ and obedience to God’s word. There is then one church and one faith. Serious disagreement over core doctrines is not good diversity which can be managed by institutional control and re-organization, but a sign of serious sickness in the body.

Read it all.

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

Ruth Gledhill's Christian Today article on the Archbp Josiah Fearon interview in the Previous post

Josiah Idowu-Fearon, appointed secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council last year, said his commitment to reconciliation remained firm.

But on the issue at the root of the disagreements, human sexuality, he admitted there was “no way” of finding agreement. “It’s not possible,” he said. The alternative to finding a way to live together was to allow separate “splinter groups”.

Idowu-Fearon also criticised the leadership of Anglican churches in Africa as ineffective.

He said he was speaking from experience, and described them as “despotic”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ian Ellis Interviews AC Secretary-General Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon

(Church of Ireland Gazette)

Part 1

Running Order:
00:00 Background to reconciliatioin priority
04.18 Hatred within Anglican Communion and between Christians and Muslims
07:26 Secretary-General’s role in inter-Anglican reconciliation
10:22 Conservatives’ attitudes
12.30 End of Part 1

Part 2

Running Order:
00:00 Human sexuality an issue for all major denominations
00:58 GAFCON
08.02 Possibility of a dialogue body for GAFCON-Anglican Communion Instruments reconciliation
12.20 End of Part 2

Part 3

Running Order:
00:00 Comments on Primates’ Meeting 2016 & ACC-16
03.17 Churches’ financial contributrions to Anglican Communion Office
06.00 Archbishop Idowu-Fearon’s comments to CAPA in 2015/African Church leadership/Anglican orthodoxy
13:00 Human sexuality debate within Anglican Communion/American conservatives intervening in Africa
15:40 End of Part 3

Part 4

Running Order:
00:00 The Anglican Covenant
02:48 Anglican Communion Task Force
04:33 Next Lambeth Conference
05:10 Next meeting of Anglican Consultative Council
05:49 End of Part 4

Listen to it all (45 minutes for all 4 segments).

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

GAFCON Chairman's Advent 2016 Letter

..I thank God that Archbishop Greg Venables will be re-joining the GAFCON Primates Council now that he has been elected to serve again as the Primate of the Anglican Province of South America in succession to our greatly esteemed colleague Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala. His ministry demonstrates that courage which is so central to the GAFCON story. In his previous term as Primate, despite much opposition, Archbishop Venables bravely supported orthodox Anglicans in North America and stood with the Diocese of Recife in Brazil after it had to withdraw from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.

We are now seeing similar courage in England as GAFCON UK, led by Canon Andy Lines, endures hostility simply for speaking the truth about the increasing breakdown of church discipline in the Church of England. There are now clergy and bishops who openly take pride in their rejection of biblical preaching and have even launched a website to encourage the violation of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 on human sexuality.

But more disturbing is the response of the Church of England at its highest level. The Secretary of the Archbishops’ Council has written an open letter to Canon Lines in which he describes the Lambeth resolution as merely ”˜an important document in the history of the Anglican Communion’. But this is no ordinary resolution. It has been the standard appealed to again and again in Communion affairs and most recently in the Communiqué from the Sixth Global South Conference in Cairo which describes it as representing the ”˜clear teaching of Scripture’.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

CROSSING THE RUBICON: Lambeth Resolution I.10, the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion

This precise risk of divergence arose after Lambeth 1998 when the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson in 2003 as Bishop of New Hampshire. The churches did meet in a series of Primates’ meetings and made clear the incompatibility of Robinson’s consecration with Lambeth Resolution I.10; however, the failure of the Archbishop of Canterbury to carry out the disciplinary measures of the Primates led ultimately to the formation of the GAFCON movement, which has made Lambeth I.10 a touchstone of identity.

Mr. Nye’s position about the absence of formal discipline is legally correct but spiritually dangerous in that it appears to be clearing the way for the Church of England to work around Lambeth Resolution I.10. Mr. Nye goes on to cite a number of other actions and documents of the Church of England, which I leave to my English colleagues to handle. It certainly seems as if the end-point of these actions and the so-called “Listening Process” is the approval and blessing of same-sex civil partnerships. If this indeed is where the Church of England is heading, it is, in my opinion, crossing the Rubicon, or if I may adapt a North American metaphor, barreling over Niagara Falls.

I say this for three reasons. First, blessing homosexual practice in any form is contrary to Scripture and the Christian church’s continuous moral tradition, as expressed in Lambeth Resolution I.10. Secondly, the Church of England will be unable to hold the line at same-sex civil partnerships. The Episcopal Church USA and Anglican Church of Canada are bellwethers in this regard; both having begun with same-sex partnerships have moved on to mandate same-sex marriage. The UK Government will push this process along, as is seen in the number of legal same-sex marriages of clergy in the Church of England, as pointed out in the GAFCON briefing paper.

Thirdly, approval of same-sex civil partnerships will render irreparable what the Windsor Report called the tear in the fabric of the Communion.

Read it all from Stephen Noll.

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

George Conger–The perversion of Lambeth 1.10

Contrary to Bishop Holtam’s assertion, Lambeth 1.10 did not contemplate the blessing of Gay Pride parades or other activities that promoted as a moral good same-sex carnal relations. As it was explained to me by my episcopal masters, paragraph c of resolution 1.10 was crafted to make the following points: There were faithful Christians who experienced same-sex attractions. The church was called to assist these individuals and pray for their transformation. The insertion of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit was suggested by Ugandan bishops who wanted the conference to go on record as stating the power of the Holy Spirit could help transform the disordered relations of Christians who experienced same-sex attractions.

The Bishop of Dallas, seconded by Prof. Stephen Noll, (who bears the distinction of having been one of the minds behind Lambeth 1.10 and the Jerusalem Declaration) asked the condemnation of “homophobia” be removed, as in the American context those who opposed the “gay” agenda were tarred with the brush of homophobia. In its place was substituted the awkward circumlocution “irrational fear of homosexuals”.

The paragraph concluded with a statement the church would listen to those who were struggling with their desires, noting that temptation was not the same as sin, and that all faithful Christians were loved.

Paragraph c stated: [The Conference] recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;”

Bishop Holtam’s interpretation of paragraph d in his letter to the Church Times as permitting the moral normalization of homosexual acts is disingenuous….

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Christian Today Article on the Gafcon UK Response to the Secretary-General

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gafcon UK–Secretary-General’s letter shows why GAFCON UK is needed

Secondly, “clergy and laity are entitled to argue for changes to teaching and practice”. Again, of course we have freedom of speech! But this seems to open the door to the widespread promotion of any view, even an irresponsible disregard for core doctrines, which include marriage. This provision was no doubt originally intended to allow for a free exchange of views during the ”˜Shared Conversation’ process. Its effect now will be again to undermine any idea of clear universally agreed teaching in which we can have confidence.

Thirdly, the letter says “prayers of support on a pastoral basis for people in same-sex relationships” are permitted in churches. This is very misleading: in its original context (The Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance of 2014) such private prayers were clearly distinguished from public ”˜prayers of blessing’ which are explicitly not permitted. Without this clear distinction, public services of celebration of same sex relationships could be carried out under the guidelines of ”˜pastoral prayer’ – and indeed such services are being carried out as the GAFCON document on Lambeth I:10 violations shows.

On one hand, then, the Church of England has an official doctrine of sex and marriage based on the wonderful fruitful biblical vision of godly celibate singleness, man and woman sacrificially committed to each other exclusively for life, a family of mum, dad and kids; power for living it out, forgiveness for all (ie the 100%) who fall short. But in practice the Church is extremely diffident about explaining or commending this vision, not just because it knows that many in the ranks of its own leadership don’t believe in it, but because it is more afraid of unpopularity from the secular British establishment and Twitter mobs than it is concerned about fellowship with the worldwide church or doing what is right before God.

So rather than changing the doctrine, the Church puts it on the shelf, and allows other beliefs and practices to take hold. The church officially believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, but Bishops can argue for same sex marriage, and clergy can conduct a ceremony which looks to all intents and purposes like the blessing of a same sex relationship, and it’s ”˜within the guidelines’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Dates of GAFCON 2018 Conference announced

The Chairman, General Secretary and fellow Primates of the GAFCON Council are delighted to announce that the third GAFCON conference will be held, in Jerusalem, between 17th – 22nd June 2018.

Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of the GAFCON movement as it was the location of our very first conference back in 2008. The city stands as a constant reminder of the birth of the Gospel and the movement’s determination to remain true to the teachings of our Lord and his Word…

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

Peter Jensen–The heart of GAFCON

I am not in any way suggesting that bishops alone matter. From its inception, unlike the Lambeth Conference, GAFCON has deliberately included clergy and laity, men and women in its ranks. It is only to say that there has developed a unique episcopal role which can be used by God to create, guard and sustain communion.

Which brings me back to the heart of GAFCON and two experiences.

The first was at a GAFCON meeting in London in 2012, where I asked a Nigerian bishop how he was enjoying the conference. ”˜I am enjoying it,’ he said, ”˜for now we know we are not alone.’

And the second was at GAFCON 2013 in Nairobi. As I saw and heard from and interacted with the vast crowd of Anglicans from so many countries, I could not help exclaiming, ”˜this is the Anglican Communion having communion!’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology

GAFCON Chairman's October 2016 Letter

..peace with one another cannot be separated from peace with God, and peace with God cannot be separated from faithfulness to the biblical and apostolic gospel of God. I therefore warmly commend the Global South Chairman, Bishop Mouneer Anis, for his bold warning about the ”˜ideological slavery’ which some Western Churches seek to impose on the Global South by using their money and influence to promote teachings which overturn the bible and offer a false gospel.

Many of us were therefore deeply disturbed that the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church (TEC), Michael Curry, was a prominent member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s delegation in Rome, despite the fact that the Canterbury meeting of Primates in January this year had resolved that, among other things, TEC should not be involved in representing the Anglican Communion in ecumenical or interfaith relations.

This incident is just the most recent of many failures which the Cairo Communiqué describes as ”˜the inability of the existing Communion instruments to discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action’. We need alternatives…
……………………
It is increasingly clear that the Church of England is becoming the place where pressure for compromise has become most intense and I am encouraged that 88 evangelical Anglicans leaders from varied backgrounds have come together this month to sign an open letter to the English House of Bishops calling on them ”˜not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted’. Please join with me in praying for these leaders in the Church of England, the Mother Church of our Communion, asking for them to have courage and unity at this critical time.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

(WWM) Bishop Warns Christians to Prepare for End-Times Martyrdom

A former bishop of North Africa, Bill Musk, noted that North African Christians were persecuted in the early centuries of Christianity as they are now, and said unity was vital to withstand such challenges. A communiqué from the talks reported: “The Arab invasions eventually overwhelmed the church [in North Africa], but the seeds of its demise were sown long before.”

Bishop Emeritus Musk also praised the fifth-century Council of Carthage, which took place in what is now Tunisia, at which it was decided that no diocese had the right to discipline leaders in another, despite a deep cultural divide within the church. Bishop Musk described the church at that time as being riven between a Latin elite that advocated a compassionate response to Christians who denied their faith under persecution, and local Berbers, who insisted upon faithfulness to Christianity until death.

Speakers at the conference emphasised the church’s North African heritage, challenging the view of the church as a foreign imposition foisted on Europe’s former colonies. American Canon Dr. Ashley Null, highlighted the “deep dependence” of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, one of the architects of Anglicanism, on St. Augustine, whose bishopric of Hippo lies in modern-day Algeria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Theology

[Canon Phil Ashey] The Global South Statement from Cairo Egypt ”“ Seven Takeaways

I have just returned from participating in the Sixth Global South “South-to-South” Encounter of Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy, theologians and other leaders from 16 Provinces in the Global South (plus other orthodox Anglican representatives from Bangladesh, USA, Canada, and Australia). It was a privilege to represent the Province of North America (Anglican Church in North America) and to serve on the team that helped to draft the Communique from Cairo October 6, 2016.

With everything still fresh in mind, I’d like to point out seven (7) take-aways from the Global South Communique…
………………..
..then the Communique turns its attention to the Mother Church itself, the Church of England (COE). In the context of just condemning those Provinces so closely linked, geographically and historically, to England, the Communique goes on to say “We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same sex union by COE.” (para. 31). The Global South is watching the Mother Church closely. In typically gracious fashion, the Global South cites the “potential move.” It hasn’t happened, yet. But it is on the table; the recommendations of the Pilling Report are before the COE General Synod. With grace, the Communique notes the unique role of the COE in the life of the Communion: how its decisions as the Mother Church impact the Communion more deeply, how its Primate (the ABC) is “first among equals.” But the Global South is watching nonetheless. And then it concludes with a not-so-subtle warning: the acceptance of the blessing of same sex union by COE “would have serious implications for us should it occur.” (para. 31).

What are those implications? How should we imagine them in the context of the statement about the role of the ABC as “first among equals”? The presence of the Bishops of Winchester and Durham, the next most senior Sees in the COE after Canterbury and York, highlights the gravity of the situation in the COE. The Global South is watching, and waiting.

Read it all

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

(CEN) Global South leaders hit out at Scotland, Canada and Wales over Canon changes

Leaders of the Global South have attacked “the inability of existing Communion instruments to discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action”.

In a closing communiqué following the meeting in Egypt, they lamented the failure “to discipline those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith, to check the marginalisation of Anglicans in heterodox Provinces who are faithful, and in some cases have even sanctioned or deposed them.”

The statement also expressed their grief that some Churches had given “authorisation of liturgies and making pastoral provisions for blessing of civil unions of same-sex couples and blessing or solemnising of same-sex marriage”¦ and ordination those who live in same-sex union”¦

“Churches that condone these practices are severing themselves from their own spiritual roots”¦ they also undermine their moral witness to their own societies, and cause huge confusion among the Anglican faithful in our Churches in this globalising world.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Unscripted analyzes the recent Global South Meeting–Action in Cairo

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

(GSA) Reflections on the Anglican Global South Sixth Communique

Several months ago we were praying that the Lord would guide us during the conference, specifically that it would not be political, but spiritual, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We did experience his movement among us, and the communique reflects the love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. It expressed very clearly where we stand, in a non-aggressive and non-divisive way. On the contrary, it shows how unity among the people of God brings blessing. (Psalm 133)
– Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

It expresses our collective frustration, hope, and counsel to the Anglican Communion leadership on the state of our communion. It shows our faith, determination, and effort to restore this communion to wholeness. And it shows we are getting ready for the possibility of further deterioration, that we should be able to speak and act decisively.
– Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Province of Nigeria

With the confusing messages from the centers of Anglicanism regarding Biblical morality, it clearly communicates our message, allowing us to focus on our mission to lead people to Jesus Christ.
– Archbishop Foley Beach, Anglican Church in North America

When we see conflicts and suffering in the world, this communique tells us we have to work faster and more corporately to help. But it also expresses our dissatisfaction and disappointment over the inability of the communion to address fundamental issues which are distracting us from the mission of the church. The truth of the gospel will only have power if it is not compromised.
– Archbishop Ng Moon Hing, Province of Southeast Asia

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Christology, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions

6. We affirm that the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people, not just for believers. It is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death. God designed marriage for the well-being of society, for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, and for procreation and the nurturing of children (Genesis 2:18-25).
7. We contend that sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex is contrary to God’s design, is offensive to him and reflects a disordering of God’s purposes for complementarity in sexual relations. Like all other morally wrong behaviour, same-sex unions alienate us from God and are liable to incur God’s judgment. We hold these convictions based on the clear teaching of Scripture. We hold them not in order to demean or victimise those who experience same-sex attractions, but in order to guard the sound doctrine of our faith, which also informs our pastoral approach for helping those who struggle with same-sex impulses, attractions and temptations.
8. In this respect, the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God. To do so would be tampering with the foundation of our faith once for all laid down by the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2: 20-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Jude 3).
9. Any pastoral provision by a church for a same-sex couple (such as a liturgy or a service to bless their sexual union) that obviates the need for repentance and a commitment to pursue a change of conduct enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, would contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Communiqué from the 6th Global South Conference

We affirm the biblical and historic faith that our Anglican forebears have faithfully handed down to us at great cost and which continues to shape our discipleship and mission:

a. We are part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We profess the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures ”“ the canonical books of the Old and New Testament that contain all things necessary for salvation, and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation.

b. The doctrine in our churches, as our Anglican forebears bequeathed to us, is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer 1662 and the Ordinal.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Theology

Copts pledge solidarity with Anglican leaders at Global South Conference

Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthdox Church (pictured) also extended his welcome to the delegates of the Anglican Global South. Through Metropolitan Bishoy he expressed his delight in the Christological agreement signed between the Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches in 2014, as well as the 2015 agreement on the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father.

“[We] back you in your defense of the commandments of the Holy Scriptures,” said Pope Tawadros to the Global South delegates, through Metropolitan Bishoy, while noting serious disagreements that exist between the Coptic Orthodox and the Anglican Church as a whole.

“Yet we carry on our dialogue with the Anglican Communion in order to encourage the Anglican conservatives to continue abiding to the true and genuine Biblical principles.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Coptic Church, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Day 3 Report from the Cairo Global South Conference

[Michael] Glerup’s lectures were sandwiched between two Bible studies led by senior leaders in the Global South. Archbishop Ng Moon Hing of Southeast Asia spoke on the church and the challenge of unity, while Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda spoke on the church and the challenge of false teaching.

Disunity has been a hallmark of both human and church history, Hing said, and neither theocracy nor democracy has a good track record in overcoming it. Paul’s ethic in Ephesians 2, however, establishes a new pattern in which a Christian is to be simultaneously a responsible citizen of God’s kingdom, and a faithful member of God’s household.
The disease is connected to false teaching, said Ntagali, but like the corruption rampant in many parts of the Global South, this is a symptom rather than the disease itself.

It is secularism that has become the dominant philosophy of the world, he said, with God no longer at the center. This allows some to claim the Christian name while not following Christ, while others claim the grace of God as a license to do what they want.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

Day 2 Report from the Cairo Global South Conference

Archbishop Chew began by emotionally recalling his participation in the initial Global South gathering in Nigeria in 1994, then called the South-South Encounter. It helped us get to know each other, he said, and whether the way we did it was right or wrong, it clearly led to what followed.

That meeting was followed up by the 1997 conference in Malaysia, which galvanized the conservative primates of the Global South to achieve Resolution 110 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with scripture.

Building on this history, he asked the delegates to reflect with him on Ezekiel 37’s valley of dry bones. “Can these bones live?” asked God to the prophet, to which Ezekiel wisely responded, “Lord, you know.”

Archbishop Chew suggested that similarly, in light of the crises in the Anglican Communion, a proper response is to be silent and wait on God. When division is deep-seated, action cannot overcome action, but only God’s transformation of hearts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, The Anglican Church in South East Asia, Theology

Day 1 Report from Cairo Global South Conference

The archbishop encouraged delegates to take two lessons from this history. First, drawing on the conference theme from I Corinthians 4:2, the church must be “found faithful” to the gospel received from the apostles. Second, the truth will prevail in the end.

He decried an “ideological slavery” in which some in the Western church use their money and influence to push their agenda on the Global South. They undermine the scripture and the traditions of the church in redefining the definition of marriage, he said, and their unilateral choices to ordain homosexual bishops is fraying the fabric of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“I want to weep,” Archbishop Anis said, “as Jesus did over Jerusalem.”

He also challenged delegates over the weaknesses of churches in the Global South. Corruption, tribalism, polygamy, poor treatment of women, and the prosperity gospel all show the need for greater theological education.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Theology

Please join us in praying for the Sixth Global South to South Anglican Encounter this week

It will take place at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, this week from October 3-8, under the leadership of Archbishop Mouneer Anis. Bishop Mark Lawrence was invited and is attending. You can read more about the conference there.


(The Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa photo)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Spirituality/Prayer, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

Gafcon Chairman Nicholas Okoh’s September 2016 Letter

As I write, GAFCON is about to launch a project which I believe will be very significant for the future of the Anglican Communion. Under the leadership of Director Dr Samson Mwaluda, the recently retired Bishop of Taita Taveta in Kenya, the GAFCON Bishops Training Institute begins its first conference in Nairobi on 29th September for some twenty recently consecrated bishops drawn from GAFCON affiliated provinces. We already have a waiting list for our next conference!

I thank God that we are taking this step because the potential of leadership, for good or for bad, is very great. We see this truth in the life of Jesus. Much of his earthly ministry was devoted to teaching and training disciples and his most severe warnings of future judgement were spoken to religious leaders who twisted the Scriptures and served their own interests.

Jesus himself is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11) and he is our example, in contrast to the hired man who runs for safety when the wolf attacks (John 10:12). Jesus is also the chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) to whom all those of us who are entrusted with the care of God’s people will have to give account, but as Anglicans who hold to the historic episcopate, we look especially to our bishops to set wholesome examples as shepherds and overseers of the flock of God.

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