Catholicam Fidem: An Open Letter on the Consecration of Female Bishops in GAFCON
By Christian Wagner
September 14, 2021
To the Primates and Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church in the Global Anglican Future Conference:
Every Trinity Sunday, we confess that “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith.” This faith has been passed down to us from our Fathers. It is the faith by which we are strengthened and nourished. This is the faith which we are called in our Baptisms to defend and establish to the shedding of our blood. We know no other.
Primates and Bishops of GAFCON, we come before you in humility as our Reverend Fathers in God. You have the fullness of the ministry. You are the successors of the Apostles placed over us. It is in the Spirit of Apostolic charity that we come before you and beg of you to “guard the deposit committed unto thee.” (2 Tim. 1:14) You have sworn in your consecrations “with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s word and both privately and openly to call upon, and encourage others to the same.” (1662 Ordinal)
A strange and erroneous doctrine has arisen within our Conference. It is a recent innovation devoid of the marks of antiquity. Within our Conference, a third female has been consecrated to the episcopacy. This is not in line with the Catholic faith handed down to us, which we have been called to guard and defend to the shedding of our blood. In all lowliness and humility, we, the undersigned clergy and laity of GAFCON and all other Orthodox Anglicans of the world, ask you to stand up and “banish and drive away” this “erroneous and strange” practice.
Christian Wagner, Epiphany Anglican Church, Florida.
Eric Valentine, Calvary, Middletown Pennsylvania
W H Dunne, Diocese of Dublin
Alexis Wagner, Epiphany Anglican Church, Florida
Johnny Lawrence, III
Benjamin Main, Church of the Holy Cross, South Carolina
Matthew J Taylor
Mark Marshall, Lay Reader, Providence REC, Corpus Christi, Texas
Cindy Lange, Lake Almanor, CA
Aidan Besneatte-Cullinane, Mountain City, TN
James Austin, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Denver, Colorado, USA
Ralph W. Davis, Sterling, Virginia
Rev. Fr. A. James Gadomski, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Los Altos, CA (Diocese of Mid-America, REC)
Thomas Pfaeffle, San Mateo, CA
A. Beattie, Australia
Rev. Fr. Ricky McCarl, Good Shepherd Anglican Church, Harrisburg Pa (REC)
Rev. Dr. James A. Gibson III, Church of the Holy Trinity, Grahamville, Ridgeland, SC
Justin Darrell DeVantier
Rev. Richard Reeb, Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton, IL
Rev. Terry W. Gatwood, Vicar, All Saints Anglican Church, Monroe, LA
Rev. Nathan Casthro, Anglican Reformed Church of Brazil (IARB) Salvador/Bahia
Kenneth Lopez, Postulant, Diocese of Fort Worth
The Rev. Steve Victory, Rector, Epiphany Anglican Church, Eustis, Florida (Gulf Atlantic Diocese)
The Rev. Edward A. Fitzhugh, Vicar of St. Timothy’s Anglican Church, Fort Worth, TX
The Rev. Charles Arthur McCoy, Deacon to the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Miraflores, Peru.
Jonah M. Saller, Emmaus Anglican Church, Maricopa AZ
K. Kevin Murphy, Esq., Junior Warden and seminarian, Good Shepherd Anglican Church (REC) in Harrisburg, PA.
Caden Cramsey, Holy Trinity Anglican Church (REC)
J. Adam Craig, Richmond, Virginia
Joseph Poon, lay member, Diocese of Singapore
Matthew Bergstrom, Lake Almanor, CA. St. Andrews Church (REC)
Josiah W. Sobere, All Saints Anglican Church, Diocese of Cascadia, lay member
Oz Alan, San Diego, CA
Gabriel Galdino, Salvador-BA, Brazil
Allan Santos Pacheco, Brazil.
Paulo Henrique Altrão de Mattos, Severínia-SP, Brazil
Fabio Bighetti, Curitiba-PR, Brazil
The Ven. C. Thomas McHenry, Christ Church at Union Chapel, Bath County, VA (DMAS)
Nathan Lachmann, Brazil.
The Rev. Matt Kennedy, Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY.
Josiah Spencer, St. John’s Anglican Church, N. Canton, OH
Bishop William Millsaps, Christ Church Monteagle, Presiding Bishop Emeritus at The Episcopal Missionary Church
Zachary Hertel, Episcopal Diocese of Central Fl (Lay Member)
Cory Byrum, Radford VA
Rian Martins, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Rev. Matthew Brench, Vicar of Grace Anglican Church (ADNE, ACNA)
Dr. J. Brandon Meeks, Theologian-in-Residence, All Saints, Hot Springs, AR (ACNA)
Cameron Williams, Episcopal Missionary Church
Rev. Stephen Lieberman, Christ the King Edmonton, ANiC
Hat-tip to the conservative U.S. blog: ‘Virtue-on-line’ for this latest news of conflict within the quasi-Anglican Churches of the GAFCON conglomerate, which have set up their own rival ‘Anglican’ sodality – mainly in Africa, but also in North America and other countries (including England, Australia, and New Zealand, where rival ‘Anglican’ Churches have been set up by GAFCON with the intention of replacing the Lambeth/Canterbury-based Anglican Commuion Churches in most places which have moved on from the old culture of sexism and homophobia).
Perhaps not surprisingly, the persistence of patriarchalist sexism within the North-American GAFCON/ACNA member Churches has now found its outlet in this Letter to the GAFCON Leadership (currently headed by separatist ACNA Archbishop Foley in the U.S.A.) objecting to the continuing process in the African GAFCON Provinces of the Consecration of women as bishops – despite this being still a bone of contention within both the Low-Church and High-Church factions of GAFCON. (The irony here is that; for the Objectors, Women’s Ordination conflicts with the GAFCON boast of being ‘ORTHODOX ANGLICAN’).
Like the dispute in the Church of England that led a number of clergy and bishops into the Roman Catholic Ordinariate over the issue of Women’s Ordination; this new initiative in GAFCON exposes a difference of opinion that could split GAFCON – despite the fact that they have hitherto been united in their opposition to other matters (eg; The Blessing of Same-Sex partnerships in mainline Anglican Communion Churches around the world, which was one the the reasons for the raising up of a separatist GAFCON in the first instance).
Whether this matter can be resolved without a split in the ranks of GAFCON is yet to be seen. However, it has been said before that ‘Schism can only beget Schism’.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand