Monday, November 8, 2010

Interesting statement re +Gene Robinson

From the GAFCON website:

"Statement by Archbishop Peter Jensen

General Secretary of GAFCON/FCA
The agonising dispute in the Anglican Communion is not about Bishop Robinson personally. It is true that his consecration as a Bishop seven years ago was one of the flashpoints for a serious re-alignment of the whole Communion. But many things have happened since then. GAFCON is about the future. It is dedicated to the future of a renewed Anglican Communion centred on the orthodox teaching of the Jerusalem Declaration.
7th November 2010 "

Oodles of interest here:

(1) The statement is by the individual, Archbishop Peter Jensen, General Secretary of GAFCON/FCA, not by (say) the GAFCON Primates. (I can think of no reason to think that any other GAFCON/FCA originating statement would be any different).

(2) It is very hard to tell what "a renewed Anglican Communion" looks like when it is also to be "centred on the orthodox teaching of the Jerusalem Declaration." It is inconceivable that the whole of the present Communion will be so centred in the foreseeable future. (Beyond that foreseeable future it might be, e.g. if progressive Anglicanism shrivelled to nothing). Is this a long-term wish, a hope geared towards an unachievable ideal? Or is this an action plan, as implied in the word 'realignment': one day soon the Anglican Communion will be reconstituted in terms of the Jerusalem Declaration (and that will inevitably be a lot smaller than what is currently called the Anglican Communion).

(3) The statement is positive about the future. It is neutral about chronology. Is something about to happen? It's impossible to tell from this statement. I still think the Primates' Meeting in January, 2011 is the event to watch for.


Andy S said...

Re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Anglicans in New Zealand 1966 according to the Census - 901,701

Anglicans in New Zealand 2006 according to the Census - 554,925
A decrease of nearly 40%

Compare to Catholics over the same period

Catholics in New Zealand 1966 according to the Census - 425,280

Catholics in New Zealand 2006 according to the Census - 508,812
A modest 20% increase.

The population has approximately doubled in that time.

Speaks for itself!

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
I think you're reading a bit too much into this.

1) +Peter is representing the GAFCON movement in his role as General Secretary. It's simply a statement in response to Gene Robinson's announced retirement, not a major new announcement of their own that would need the whole Primates' Council to sign off on it.

2) From the beginning, the GAFCON movement has been about renewing the Anglican Communion from within, rather than creating a new schismatic movement. The theological basis of their renewal movement is the Jerusalem Declaration. It is not a document like the Covenant that seeks to accomodate as many as possible. It states their position, and invites others to join. The "re-alignment" has already happened in the past. The Communion is a far looser and less mutually accountable body than it was before 2003. Re-alignment is a past event, whose consequences are still spreading throughout the AC, not a future event that GAFCON will initiate.

3) Frankly, I expect the 2011 Primates' Meeting to be a repeat of 2009, ie no real action to address any of the substantive issues. The GAFCON primates will respond at some ponit afterwards. Any action they take is likely to involve creating alternative structures within the current Communion, rather than breaking away from it.