Now for the not-so-subtle nuance. The Archbishop was not intending to flatter the upcoming Conference but to belittle it. How do I know that? Because his characterization of Gafcon as a “ginger group” cannot be further from the actual character of the movement, and he knows that.
Gafcon is not a global “friendly society,” nor is it seeking to pressure Canterbury, because Canterbury has made clear over twenty years that it pays us no regard. This was apparent ten years ago when Archbishop Rowan Williams bypassed the Global South Primates and invited to the Lambeth Conference the bishops of the Episcopal Church who had consecrated Gene Robinson. (Rest assured: they will be invited back in 2020.) As a result, the Global Anglican Future Conference was convened in Jerusalem in 2008.
Gafcon was not called as “ginger group” but as a reordering of the Anglican Communion. In its Jerusalem Statement, the Conference claimed:
- that it was founding something enduring, “not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit”;
- that three facts justified this reordering: (a) the acceptance and promotion of a false gospel (heresy) in churches of the Communion; (b) the resulting breach of communion among Anglican churches; and (c) the manifest failure of the official “Instruments” to discipline the heretics;
- that the Gafcon movement is not leaving the Anglican Communion but reforming it on the basis of its classic faith and articles, amplified in a new “Jerusalem Declaration”; and
- that it was establishing a Primates’ Council that would, when necessary, authenticate new faithful Anglican jurisdictions.