JERUSALEM: No Split from Communion but New Permanent Structures in Place
By David W. Virtue in Jerusalem
Leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), in a preliminary statement, say that while there will be no formal split from the Anglican Communion, permanent structures are being put into place to be true to the Bible, to continue the work of mission and to do so as Anglicans.
Kenya Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the four Instruments of Unity had "betrayed and abandoned" the Anglican Communion and therefore new structures are necessary.
"GAFCON is a movement, not a moment in time. We need an agreed upon theological framework and appropriate structures to sustain its growth into the future. Permanent structures will be put in place to sustain its growth."
The leaders recognize the need for a new North American province "for faithful Anglicans who live in provinces that have abandoned the traditional teaching of the Bible."
The statement concluded by saying that GAFCON leaders will reach out to other Anglicans around the Communion "who share our common faith".
Asked by VOL if the Queen of England, as the supreme Governor of the Church of England, had been approached about worsening conditions in the Anglican Communion and the possibility of a new structure being formed, Archbishop Nzimbi replied that GAFCON leaders are not fighting the Queen.
"We respect the Queen, but the present structures have departed from the traditions of the Church of England and so when those structures have betrayed us, we need to say we must wait on it. We need to go back to what we have received."
Asked about possible names for this future entity, Nzimbi simply said GAFCON. Another source said Global Anglican Conference.
Questioned about homosexuality, panel member Dr. John Akao, a bishop from Nigeria, said both the Old Testament and New Testament forbade it. "We cannot practice that which is not allowed. It is repugnant to the Scriptures." He also said, in answer to a question about who was financing whom, that provinces would be self-supporting.
Nzimbi said every pilgrim has had multiple opportunities to provide concerns, hopes, and suggestions to the statement committee throughout the week.
The first draft of the statement will be read to all pilgrims on Friday, June 27. The statement will be finalized before GAFCON ends on June 29.
GAFCON leaders say they will meet again in two years to reflect and expand on the structures.
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