I'll walk back my promise re an anticipated 'next post' about being Anglican - it will come soon - in order to note the momentous news coming from GAFCON.
1. GAFCON is committed to staying and not leaving. Read my lips: "We are not leaving the Anglican Communion' means 'No schism.'
Check out the GAFCON Primates' Communique here.
2. But GAFCON is also committed to not standing still and waiting for something or someone to change in respect of future Anglican Communion life. Future Anglican missional work, in and around provinces such as England, is being organised.
Check out Ruth Gledhill's analysis of the situation and interview of ++Peter Jensen here.
Now a mere mortal non-player in these global Anglican manoeuvres is a bit troubled by putting the Communique alongside the Gledhill article. (Maybe I am misunderstanding ... put me right commenters).
3. Why does the Communique not explicitly talk about the new organisation Ruth refers to and the appointment of ++Peter Jensen to the role? (Note the way the Communique lists a group of advisors below the list of Primates which gives the impression ++Peter Jensen played no role in the meeting. Was he there or was he not?)
4. What does 'We have planned for the expansion of our movement in order to touch the lives of many more Anglicans with gospel fellowship' (in the Communique) mean in actuality?
On the face it the cited sentence offers encouragement to Anglicans who are feeling a bit down about the way things are going in the Communion through these present days. But the Gledhill article implies that 'expansion of our movement' means:
- planting new Anglican (or, maybe, Anglican-like) churches alongside perfectly viable Anglican churches (as happens in a number of places in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in England);
- planting churches which are distinctive both because they will clearly conserve a traditional stance on homosexuality and because they will clearly pursue a 'headship' approach to the roles of men and women in leadership.
If so, why is the Communique not explicit in spelling out what 'gospel fellowship' means?
As for the role of Bishop Ellison (singled out in the Communique), has the Communique honestly informed the Anglican world that there are two sides to his story of involvement in a new Anglican plant outside the jurisdiction of the Church of England?
But let's be clear as I ask these questions: GAFCON is not leaving the Anglican Communion. That means that what it is offering is a mix of (a) missional leadership within the Communion that will not wait for agenda set by (say) the ABC or the ACC, (b) ways forward for Anglican life which may or may not sit comfortably within existing jurisdictions - a kind of 'workaround'.
An important question for the ABC, the ACC, TEC (noting the way that the ACNA Primate is a full member of the GAFCON Primates' Council) and any commenter here demurring at the Communique is this: Are you being left behind as the GAFCON wing swerves, dummies and chipkicks ahead of you?