Sunday, June 29, 2008

GAFCON Bishops Overtake Canterbury - Reinvent Anglican Communion

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Much to my surprise, it would appear a revolution has begun within the Anglican Communion. Just yesterday it appeared as if the "Global Anglican Future Conference" (GAFCON) in Jerusalem was a flop, with conservative Anglican bishops unable to agree on a way to break away from the Anglican Communion and create something new with a worldwide Anglican majority. That didn't happen. What did happen, however, is even more interesting. The bishops of GAFCON appear to be challenging the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury and redefining what it means to be an Anglican within the Anglican Communion. Representing the majority of the world's Anglicans (about 58 million or 75%), these bishops are effectively taking control of Anglicanism's future, wrestling away influence from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In all reality, the Archbishop of Canterbury is a figurehead anyway. He has no real authority over Anglicans outside his own diocese. For centuries, Anglicanism has been defined by a bishop's status of communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. As of today, this is no longer the case. The GAFCON bishops (representing 75% of the Anglican world) are now the new authority.

For Anglicans in Africa and Asia, virtually nothing has changed. For Anglicans in Great Britain, Australia and North America, there will be changes. In the Church of England, and the Anglican Church of Australia, a network will be formed, consisting of parishes and diocese loyal to the catechism and prayerbook of the GAFCON bishops. In North America the changes will be more radical.

The Episcopal Church USA, and the Anglican Church of Canada have effectively been excommunicated. By this I mean not a literal excommunication, but the closest thing to an excommunication that Anglicanism can offer. In other words, the GAFCON bishops no longer recognize these church bodies. They're authority is null and void, as the bishops of these churches have committed apostasy by ordaining a homosexual bishop and consecrating homosexual unions (i.e. "gay-marriage"). From now on, Episcopalians in the United States, and Anglicans in Canada, will no longer be in communion with 75% of the Anglican world so long as they remain part of those national churches. Instead, a new province has effectively been established in each country, in affiliation with one (or more) of these organizations...
  • American Anglican Council
  • Anglican Coalition in Canada
  • Anglican Communion Network
  • Anglican Essentials Canada
  • Anglican Mission in the Americas
  • Anglican Network in Canada
  • Anglican Province of America
  • Convocation for Anglicans in North America
  • Forward in Faith North America
  • Reformed Episcopal Church
North American Anglicans who are members of parishes affiliated with one (or more) of these organizations remain in full communion with the entire Anglican world, including the 75% of Anglicans led by the GAFCON bishops. Here is the story...
(Times Online) - ...The 300 bishops and archbishops in Jerusalem insist they do not want to split from the 80m-strong Anglican communion. This is partly a recognition that a formal schism would involve protracted legal disputes about ownership of churches and other properties.

However, they last night declared their plans for a new “primates council” made up of the senior bishops and archbishops at the Jerusalem meeting. The new fellowship also represents a direct challenge to the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a statement last night they challenged the role of the archbishop as primus inter pares of the bishops of the Anglican communion. “While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury,” it said.

The new fellowship will return to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 39 articles of religion, train its own priests and insist on more orthodox practices in its churches. Although the instigators claim they are focused on reform from within it is said to represent the worst blow to church unity in the West since the Protestant reformation of the 16th century.

Central to the announcement was a “Jerusalem declaration”, which will form the basis of the new fellowship. In the declaration the archbishops and bishops said: “We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed.” It accused the leaders of the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada of proclaiming a “false gospel”. The fellowship’s first task will be to create a new Anglican body in North America.

Jerusalem was chosen as the location to announce the fellowship because of its precedence over Canterbury in the Christian hierarchy. A fellowship will be seen as a partial victory for Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, who was not at last night’s meeting but who argued for reform from within. Unity, he said, was “a very precious thing”....

read full story here
Following the Jerusalem Accord of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) is no longer connected to 75% of the Anglican Communion. Anglican primate bishops from all over the world rejected the authority of U.S. Episcopal bishops this Sunday, and effectively "excommunicated" the entire national organizations of the ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). By this is meant that they no longer recognize these bodies (ECUSA & ACC) as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

If you are a member of the U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA), or the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), you are in an organization that is no longer part of the Anglican Communion. That doesn't mean YOU have been excommunicated personally. It just means your national church is no longer a legitimate part of the Anglican Communion. Membership in your ECUSA or ACC parish no longer represents membership in the Anglican Communion.

All is not lost however. U.S. Episcopalians, and Canadian Anglicans, wanting to maintain full partnership with the majority of the Anglican Communion can do so simply by moving into an Anglican Church that is a member of the "Common Cause Partnership" of North American Anglicans. These "approved" North American parishes are in full communion with the primate bishops who met at GAFCON, and now refer to their organizational body as the "Fellowship Of Confessing Anglicans" (FOCA). FOCA represents the overwhelming majority (about 75%) of Anglicans worldwide.

Here's the website:

Use it to find a nearby parish, and give them a call today. I'm sure they'll be glad to hear from you. May God bless you for your courage!