The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme had an excellent segment on the recent conference, by Gavin Drake. Available as a podcast from this page. The segment starts about 4 minutes into the programme.
Here’s the BBC blurb:
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, meeting in London, say they’ll offer alternative spiritual leadership to dissaffected members of the Church of England. They also want an alternative to the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the Anglican primates meeting. Is this a way of keeping the Anglican communion together or splitting it asunder?
Paul Bagshaw has written an analysis on his blog, at Reading the FoCA tea leaves. He concludes the article thus:
…Therefore there will be no schism in the sense of one organization separating itself out from another on a certain day, followed immediately by either or both bodies setting up new structures and legal identities.
Instead there will be a steady continued tearing of the fabric as distinct ecclesial units (parishes, dioceses and provinces as well as individuals) align themselves explicitly with the FoCA. The legalities will depend on the law of each country (property and pensions being governed by secular law) and on the ecclesiastical structure of each Church.
I anticipate that the FoCA churches will thrive, purposeful and enthusiastic for at least the medium-term foreseeable future. It will thus be self-legitimating.
On the other hand I guess the remaining churches will flounder for a while before accepting the reality that there will be no accommodation between the two Anglican entities. Then they too will revise their own relationships, structures and communications and will settle into the new geography of Anglicanism where, in most places, there will be one dominant Anglican Church and a minority owing allegiance to its mirror image.
I don’t think who is appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury will make much difference to this process – except, perhaps, to the timing.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 30 April 2012
Thanks are due to Simon Sarmiento (Thinking Anglicans) for this report on two different views of what was actually going on at the recent ACA/GAFCON Meeting in London, where delegates from different (mostly overseas) conservative parts of the Anglican Communion were discussing tactics for the future direction of the Communion – as they see it from their perspective.
Perhaps most interesting, is the BBC Radio Report, which can be heard from the above link – about 4 minutes into the broadcast programme on current religious matters in the U.K. Former Bishop of Rochester. The Rt. Rev.Michael Nazir-Ali, since his retirement from Rochester, has become a Spokes-Person for the GAFCON/FCA dissident group. He is heard here to advocate an extension of the ‘Flying Bishops‘ syndrome – formerly used in England to satisfy the consciences of those opposed to Women Clergy – as a means of providing ‘Alternative Episcopal Oversight’ for clergy and parishes that align themselves with what Nazir-Ali calls ‘Orthodox’ Anglicans, who do not accept the liberal tendencies of such Churches as T.E.C. and the Anglican Church of Canada, in their structural openness to the LGBT community in the life and ministry of their Provincial Churches.
However, people like the Archbishop of Wales, and the Bishop of Buckingham, argue against this divisive ethic of exclusion of anyone who does not fit in with the puritanical ethos pf the GAFCON/FCA Provinces, saying that the prospect of continuing al;ternative Episcopal Oversight – which has already been extended by certain of the GAFCON Primates to dissident Anglicans in the USA and Canada, would not help to unify the Provinces of the Communion, but would exacerbate the problems already existing in the Communion.
Perhaps the greatest threat posed at the present moment by GAFCON/FCA is to the Church of England, where already, the GAFCON Primates have established a quasi-Anglican jurisdiction of their own in the raising up of the ‘Anglican Mission in England’ (AMiA), with local clergy ordained by the Archbishop of Kenya – one of the GAFCON leaders – in direct competition with the Church opf England in its own home territory. This a a soul-mate to the piratical establishment of AMiA and ACNA in North America, which quasi-Anglican Churches were raised up by other African Primates who are members of GAFCON.
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’ – whose Secretary is now the Archbishop of Sydney (former Secretary of GAFCON) – is a small but world-wide ‘confessional’ group of what they maintain are exclusively ‘Orthodox’ (and probably ‘sola-scriptura’) Anglicans, who seem bent on converting the rest of the Communion Provinces to the same theological brand of puritanism that would exclude anyone more liberal than themselves – especially on matters of gender and sexuality. Their tactic would seem to be that of confessional exclusion rather than eirenic inclusion, which militates against our long-held ethos of ‘Unity in Diversity’ which is a hallmark of our life together as traditional Anglican Churches throughout the world.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
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