(Church Times) Archbishop and GAFCON leaders size each other up

Archbishop Welby’s whirlwind visit to Nairobi on Sunday provided an opportunity for him to take the measure of six Primates and half-a-dozen other key leaders, including the General Secretary of GAFCON, Dr Peter Jensen, and the retired Nigerian Archbishop, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, in a private meeting at All Saints’ Cathedral.

The conservatives also had an opportunity to size up Archbishop Welby. All of those questioned after the meetings expressed a personal regard for the man, but were sceptical that his office could provide a solution to the divisions within the Church if it sought to take a neutral stance.

“Archbishop Welby’s statement ‘The old ways are no longer appropriate, the old structures no longer work,’ given on the eve of GAFCON, give us hope,” Dr Jensen said. Nevertheless, the future envisioned by Archbishop Welby “began with GAFCON 2008”, Dr Jensen said. “It’s time for him to catch up.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

4 comments on “(Church Times) Archbishop and GAFCON leaders size each other up

  1. pendennis88 says:

    I’m not sure the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury is as relevant to the Anglican Communion as it used to be. Williams was so disrespectful and duplicitous towards the global south so as to have poisoned the well. Welby has but a short time to confirm whether he will lead things in a different way to attempt to recover, or will leave the patched-together TEC-oriented structural mechanisms in place. The latter choice, I think it has become clear, will confirm an increasing irrelevancy of the Archbishopric except at 815 and in London (and possibly to become less relevant there, too) At this point, GAFCON is a the greater part of the Anglican Communion, the part that is actually in communion with each other. After the painful Lambeth that Williams held, the attraction of attending that over a joyful GAFCON has to have waned considerably, I would think.

  2. Hoskyns says:

    P88, Would you mind parsing “disrespectful and duplicitous”? RW was a man manifestly uncomfortable in the job, and always appeared to make a better monk than a bishop. He was faced with impossibly cantankerous divisions in a church whose members were no longer able to sit down and talk and pray with each other. Faced with all that, I think we can agree it’s not obvious that he helped rather than exacerbated the problems for a common Anglican future. But “disrespectful and duplicitous”?

  3. Sarah says:

    RE: “He was faced with impossibly cantankerous divisions . . . ”

    I don’t really know what that means. Obviously Rowan Williams was faced with two groups of people, who believed mutually opposing and antithetical foundational worldviews and do not share the same faith.

    I suppose when two such groups attempt to share the same organization that is intrinsically an impossible “division” though I don’t see either side as “cantakerous” but merely living into their beliefs and values.

    Because of Rowan Williams actions — refusal to do what his office allowed to enforce the decisions of one side — he rather obviously institutionalized the existing division and enshrined one side in power within the ACC and Standing Commission [after inventing the latter]. Those were his decisions, just as it was the decision of one side to refuse to further participate in those institutional bodies and to move on.

    From my perspective “he chose poorly” — but I’m sure from the perspective of the revisionist activists he didn’t.

    Certainly it is “impossible” for the two groups — antithetical in their values and faith as they are — to remain “together” in any meaningful way [I don’t consider existing within the same organizational entity while not engaging to be “meaningful”]. But I don’t see those “impossible divisions” as “impossibly cantankerous” by any means, and I think it does a disservice to the seriousness of the actual divisions and beliefs of both sides to name them “cantakerous.”

    The fact is . . . there is a chasm. The chasm — broad and deep and vast as it is — exists. The only thing to do was to figure out what to do, in light of that chasm.

    The best and calmest two words I can use to describe RW’s choices over the years are “badly done.”

    I suspect he has the respect that he deserves from most of the key active leaders, on both sides of the issue.

  4. pendennis88 says:

    #2: Hmm. I prefer not to speak elliptically. Oh, well let’s see:

    His failure to institute a “panel of reference” that had any efficacy – in fact, it was clearly designed for delay and failure – even though the primates had said it was “a matter of urgency”.

    His efforts at the Dromantine primates meeting to keep the orthodox primates from meeting together on their own and to have the ACC control the agenda rather than the primates.

    And then his failure to implement the Recommendations of the Primates from the Dar es Salaam meeting, ditching them pretty quickly, in fact.

    As a part of that, when the TEC HOB declined to do at their New Orleans meeting what the primates had asked at Dar es Salaam, he simply gave TEC a pass.

    Then there was his manipulation of the entire sorry process regarding the resolutions in the ACC meeting in Jamaica, not to mention his decision not to seat Uganda’s appointed representative in Jamaica. (The unfairness of that meeting being so open and bold as to be shocking.)

    So I believe that leaves us with the efficacy and credibility of the Primates Meeting, the ACC and the AoC (three of the misnamed “instruments of unity”, I believe) lost through William’s actions, all of which, it happens, favored TEC and declined to do what the Primates had asked.

    Oh, did I mention the results of the Standing Committee meeting that left Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East resigning saying that his presence has “no value whatsoever” and that his voice is “like a useless cry in the wilderness”?

    That is just off the top, of course. (Wasn’t there some letter to Bishop Howe?)

    To be clear, I do not think forgetting the past is helpful to the current issues.