‘This isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace’: GAFCON not looking for split in Church
By Marcus Jones
GAFCON, a worldwide group of conservative Anglicans, has told Premier it’s not looking to break up the Church of England but is instead working to keep Anglican Communion united.
Over the weekend, a statement from the group was released with details of the creation of a missionary bishop to be sent to the UK in response to the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.
GAFCON, which follows the traditional understanding on these issues, says it is sending someone here to give episcopal leadership to those who claim the Churches are becoming too liberal.
The trigger point was the upcoming debate between Anglicans in Scotland which could lead to a change in teaching on marriage.
Addressing the issue on Premier’s News Hour, Most Rev Peter Jensen, GAFCON’s General Secretary and a former Archbishop of Sydney, said: “There are many issues that divide us, where we have diverse opinions, and that’s OK – but some of them are so important that a stand has to be taken. A painful and costly stand.
“The Primates believe that this present matter is one of those things and the Bible is as clear as can be – that to embrace the view that the practice of homosexuality is OK is wrong according to the Bible.
“It’s a very significant matter in our view and puts the authority of the Bible at stake.”
Responding to this weekend’s statement, Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said: “In June, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will reach the final stage of consideration of changes which would make possible same-sex marriage in our churches.
“The news that GAFCON intends to send a missionary bishop to Britain is regrettable. The Anglican Communion functions as a global communion on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity of each province.
“This move is a breach of that understanding.”
Most Rev Peter Jensen declined to give more information on who the missionary bishop will be and where they will come from.
He did, however, suggest the person would be open to working alongside the leadership of the Church of England.
“That would be wonderful and would be a recognition by the Church of England that its present policies have created this conscience problem for many,” he said. “I think that is a little unlikely but this isn’t an attempt to storm Lambeth Palace.”
The Scottish Episcopal Church will debate the issue of marriage on 8th June.
The sheer hubris of the ex-archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, is here demonstrated in the sound-bite of the interview he gave to a ‘Premier’ journalist on behalf of the GAFCON Primates. In it, he says this:
“The Primates believe that this present matter is one of those things and the Bible is as clear as can be – that to embrace the view that the practice of homosexuality is OK is wrong according to the Bible. It’s a very significant matter in our view and puts the authority of the Bible at stake.” – Jensen –
His schismatic isolationism – from the majority of Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion under the leadership of the Province of Canterbury – becomes obvious when one understands that “The Primates” Mr. Jensen is representing here in his interview are not the Primates of the Anglican Communion, but the G.S. Primates of the mainly African Provinces of the Church who belong the the separatist GAFCON Movement.
Jensen’s own Province – that of the Australian Anglican Church – does not officially recognise GAFCON; whereas some bishops of the SYDNEY Diocese, which Jensen formerly headed as it archbishop, do. The reason for this is that Jensen himself, as the Archbishop of Sydney, helped to found the Gafcon organisation – on the basis of its homophobic and sexist view of the Bible teachings.
It was thought by some of us with more liberal and liberated views on human sexuality, that Mr. Jensen, once he had retired from leadership of the Sydney Anglican Diocese, would be content to remain in the background. However, on taking up the secretaryship of the GAFCON organisation – which has now sponsored schismatic churches in North America and the U.K. (ACNA and AMiE) – he has spearheaded the mostly African Conservative, Evangelical Provinces of the Church, which have their own ‘Primates Council’ which makes a point of boycotting the Anglican Communion ‘Instruments of Unity’ that include the Lambeth Conference and the ACC, in an orchestrated bid for leadership of the worldwide Communion.
The recent ordination of a schismatic ‘bishop’ – Jonathan Pryke (who holds a priest’s licence as a minister in Jesmond Parish Church from the C.of E. Bishop of Newcastle) – by the leaders of a schismatic rebel ‘Anglican Church in South Africa’, to ordain clergy for the rebel ‘Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) – though not arranged by GAFCON, has been applauded by them as a way of promoting their ‘Sola-Scriptura’ homophobic agenda in the U.K. (See other strands on kiwianglo describing this schismatic ‘ordination’)
So, Mr. Jensen, though having no official role within the Anglican Communion since his retirement from the Sydney archdiocese, is still making his schismatic intentions obvious within the Communion – from his Sydney base, where much of his local conservative evangelical support is coming from.
What the Church of England’s Leadership, under the Archbishops of Canterbury and York will choose to make of this latest schismatic thrust against their jurisdiction is yet to be seen. However, if nothing is done about this within the ‘Mother’ Church of England, it could, quite conceivably, mean the end of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s role in the ACC as we now know it. This would mean that Each Province of the Communion will operate as Anglican Churches in their own territorial regions, bound only by their own constitutional life and ministry, with dimished ties to the Church of England.