Grateful for the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the leadership of its Chairman, the Most Reverend Dr Eliud Wabukala, the GAFCON Primates Council met in London from April 24th to 26th, 2014.
1. Following the success of our Nairobi Conference last October, at which over 1,300 delegates from 38 nations and 27 Provinces of the Anglican Communion were present, we have met to take counsel together and address the mandate we were given in the Nairobi Communiqué and Commitment to take forward the work of the GAFCON movement. We are determined and enthusiastic, and we look for the prayer and financial support of Anglicans around the world who long for a clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ as Lord.
2. As was stated in the Nairobi Communiqué, we believe that the GAFCON movement is emerging as a faithful instrument of unity capable of gathering the majority of faithful Anglicans in communion globally. We are now taking practical steps to heal, renew and revitalize the Communion for future mission by growing our membership, improving the frequency and range of our communication and setting up networks, which will equip us to fulfill the Great Commission. We are already eagerly anticipating GAFCON 3 in 2018.
3. We are prayerfully aware of the challenges that many of our brothers and sisters live with day by day in various parts of the world. We heard the tragic news of the recent massacres in Bor and Bentiu in South Sudan and the escalating of the conflict in South Sudan. We stand in solidarity with the Church in South Sudan in its appeal for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. We express our deep sympathy to the families and communities of those who have died in the conflict and have been displaced. We pledge our ongoing prayer and material support, as able.
4. We are also acutely aware of the ongoing violence against Christians in Northern Nigeria, and we stand in solidarity with the Anglican Church of Nigeria as it seeks to mediate peace and bring an end to the violence, and work towards genuine religious freedom in Nigeria. We pledge our prayers and urge the international community to support the Nigerian government and the Christian community to bring an end to the violence and provide comfort to the affected communities.
5. We are equally concerned for the affected communities in Chile from the recent earthquake, terrorist attacks in Kenya, and the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new legislation. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to sustain families and churches.
6. The rich experience of sharing fellowship as we met in Nairobi encourages our sense of needing to maintain our common life in faithfulness to Christ. Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact and we urge that as a matter of simple integrity, its historic and biblical teaching should be articulated clearly.
7. We are particularly concerned about the state of lay and clerical discipline. The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline. While we welcome their clear statement that clergy must not enter same sex marriage, it is very concerning that this discipline is, apparently, being openly disregarded. We pray for the recovery of a sense of confidence in the whole of the truth Anglicans are called to proclaim, including that compassionate call for repentance to which we all need to respond in our different ways.
Finally, we gave thanks for the faithfulness and visionary leadership of Archbishop Robert Duncan who is shortly to retire as the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America. His ministry as the founding Primate has modeled for us what it means to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints with great courage and grace. He has built that which will last on the one foundation of Jesus Christ our Lord.
To God be the glory!
Primates present in London were:
The Most Rev’d Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop, Episcopal Church of Sudan
The Most Rev’d Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
The Most Rev’d Stanley Ntagli, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Uganda
The Most Rev’d Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Vice Chairman)
The Most Rev’d Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Rwanda
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya (Chairman)
The Most Rev’d Tito Zavala, Presiding Bishop, Province of the Southern Cone
The Most Rev’d Dr Peter Jensen, Diocese of Sydney, General Secretary
The Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Church of Nigeria, Trustee
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Trustee
The Most Rev’d Dr Ikechi Nwosu, Anglican Church of Nigeria
This act of pure chutzpah by The leaders of the GAFCON Provinces – aided and abetted by ex-leaders of the movement – including Peter Jensen, Peter Akinola and Emmanuel Kolini – in using a gathering in London, at the heart of the Church of England, to promote their corrosive anti-gay message to Anglicans around the world, is a stunning attempt to capture the high-ground in the present conflicts on gender and sexuality in the Anglican Communion.
One can only hope that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York will resist this attempt to high-jack the historic Anglican Communion by telling these homophobic primates to look after their own problems currently being faced by the rank and file of people in their own countries – without seeking to impose their pre-enlightenment morality code on the rest of us in the Communion, who are looking to liberate our people from the prejudice that they – the GAFCON Primates – are seeking to impose on other Anglican Churches.
No doubt their incursion onto the London scene would have delighted ‘Bishop’ Minns and other Gafcon implants in the so-called Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), which was imported as an irritant to the Church of England’s movement towards the acceptance of LGBTI people within her ranks. However, it could be that the Gafcon Primates’ direct attack on the legislation for Equal Marriage in the U.K. will give the Government some idea of the oppositional intentions of these foreign clerics, and the civic unrest that could be engendered by their presence in the U.K.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand