As a first take on GAFCON's objective result, its communique and what it may (or may not) be signalling for the future, here are some Venn diagrams, for the geometrically minded.
First up, in the first diagram (not intended to measure actual proportions) the general situation is described. There are GAFCON churches in the Communion (actually nearly all the GAFCON churches, which are a significant proportion of the whole Communion) and outside of the Communion (principally ACNA). There are GAFCON participants (e.g. our Kiwi contingent) who are in the Anglican Communion because of membership of ACANZP (which is not a GAFCON church) and there are participants (e.g. from Recife) who are neither in a 'church' belonging to GAFCON nor to the Communion but are participants in GAFCON. If I am wrong re Recife, I am pretty sure this would be a fair description of Anglicans in AMiE (corrected from earlier AMiA since America and England are not the same) in England who are not within the Church of England.
Now some immediate discussion arises from the communique as to whether GAFCON is a serious player in the renewal of the Communion (with a side support for Anglicans struggling on the fringes of the Communion or just outside of it) or a movement trying to be committed to the renewal of the Communion but really harbouring huge doubts about whether anything will really come of this and out of those doubts putting in some pretty strong work in supporting Anglicans struggling on the fringes of the Communion or just outside of it.
If the latter and to take a case in point, support for Anglicans in England not of the Church of England, will GAFCON effectively undermine its own stated commitment to renewal because its effective energies will go into supporting Anglican churches and mission movements which operate against existing Anglican structures?
I use the word 'against' advisedly: if I am running an evangelical parish in (say) Durham, UK and then up the road a 'new independent Anglican' church starts up because my parish is 'not evangelical enough', it looks like one church is working against the other! One interpretation of GAFCON's communique is that in that situation they won't be supporting my parish but will be supporting the neighbouring one!
Now the question of anxiety for the Communion at this point concerns whether the momentum of the Spirit is with GAFCON or not. If the future of global Anglicanism is going to look like the following Venn diagram, then the Communion powers should be anxious about the future!
Of course I bet fervent supporters of the Anglican Communion who do not like what they see and read about GAFCON hope that the future turns out more like this:
But the last diagram will only happen if the non-GAFCON part of the Communion is renewed. Will that happen in the present state of capture of Anglican churches by Western culture? Can the tide of declining statistics in many Anglican churches not connected to GAFCON be reversed?
Incidentally, this Reuters article says that 331 of the 700 or so bishops of the Anglican Communion were present at GAFCON. That is a pretty impressive attendance and belies any sense that GAFCON is some kind of Anglican fringe dwellers movement or gathering of the crazies on the edge of the Communion's life.
About half the Kiwi attendees at GAFCON came from my own diocese. By my reckoning the vicars of three of our six largest parishes were among the contingent. Other vicars from other dioceses were from some of the largest parishes in ACANZP.
My challenge to fellow Kiwis unhappy about our colleagues' participation in GAFCON is this: tell us in comments here about your strategic vision and plan for the renewal of congregational life in our church. Please give illustrative examples of parishes growing in numbers through the preaching of a gospel which is distinctively different in tone and content from the gospel preached by our GAFCON clergy.
Remember dear potential Kiwi commenter: I know our church pretty well so your examples will need to be good ones! There are a few ... but they are difficult to find!