NAIROBI: Archbishop Welby Calls for New Structures for Anglican Communion in 21st Century
GAFCON is now the center of Anglicanism, say GAFCON leaders
GAFCON is not a breakaway movement. No call to split communion
By David W. Virtue in Nairobi
October 21, 2013
More than 2000 Kenyans including some 200 Western observers and media heard the leader of the Anglican Communion say that the communion needs new structures as it moves forward into the 21st century.
In what amounted to a fly-over enroute to a Porvoo Ecumenical gathering in Iceland, the Most Rev. Justin Welby did not elucidate or elaborate as to who and what these structures might be nor did he say whether or not he recognized the legitimacy of the 1350 Anglicans meeting under the banner of FCA/GAFCON.
GAFCON Primate Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said the Second Global Anglican Future conference is confirmation that the churches involved in the GAFCON movement are committed to the Anglican Communion and modeling how the communion should operate in the 21st Century.
Organizers say the movement has grown considerably since the first conference in Jerusalem in 2008. Some 30 archbishops and 300 bishops are in attendance here, with the largest contingent 450 from Nigeria which has more than 18 million practicing Anglicans.
The evangelically driven Welby said, "We want a world won for Christ. We should be those who worship witness, mission and evangelize as our aims and passion and we must be wise and full of the Holy Spirit."
Welby acknowledged tensions in the communion and said difficulties come from within the church and outside of it. "Many divisions within the church today were present at the time of Acts of the Apostles and the most important decision at that time was that of race."
Citing the Book of Acts but clearly referencing the state of the Anglican Communion, Welby said we should be a "Community of generosity, be more open hearted." He added that it is dangerous for one group to take advantage and to seek to gain at the expense of others.
He said the danger is of one set of families being more favorably treated than others. Favoritism can be based on relationships, family and corruption. "It happens today in the global community and in our church." Welby noted that we are all sinners.
"The Bible must be at the heart of every part of our Christian walk with Jesus. We must pray for a common vision that has its own application in each place. Reading the Scriptures but not obeying it disgraces it. We must settle our differences in way that points to Jesus. Differences will always exist, how we deal with them is clear in scripture and church history. The Church has seldom obeyed scripture."
Welby then called for new structures in the Anglican Communion. "Issues that divide us are simple at one time and at another time complicated. We must find a new way of being together...of being a communion."
When VOL asked at a press conference if Archbishop Welby indicated he would recognize FCA GAFCON as one such structure, the Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala said structures are not the right way to look at ourselves. We need new ways of being together. He said he saw the issue as a way of "being together" as a fellowship and a gathering.
The Kenyan Archbishop said the model is the East African Revival which he described as a "fire and flame to the people."
Asked by an African reporter if the cracks in the communion were narrowing or widening, Wabukala said Anglican churches were independent provinces held together by love and affection. "We must be loyal to what the bible is teaching." He said GAFCON is now the center of Anglicanism.
Asked if the crisis in the communion could see a split, Wabukala said the Anglican Communion is no longer in crisis. "We have moved on for people. It is how we are going to move people tobelieve in Jesus Christ. For us the crisis is behind us, there is a wider agenda in converting the world."
You can watch a video of Welby's sermon courtesy of Anglican TV here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQPQyOigbpc&feature=youtu.be
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