You can find our previous discussion of the GAFCON gaffes here and here.
The short version of the history of this "conference" is that a few Primates decided to hold a global conference for "rejectionist" Anglicans in Jerusalem. Apparently they neglected to consult with anyone else. This was their first gaffe.
Dr. Michael Poon, a prominent voice among the conservatives in the Global South, spoke out against the idea of GAFCON, for which he received an angry response from an unnamed Primate. Abp. Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, suggested that maybe the timing and the venue for this "conference" was not such a good idea. The Bishop of Jerusalem, the host of this proposed conference, had not even been consulted before the invitations went out. When hearing about the plans through the press, he voiced his reservations about holding such a conference in Jerusalem.
Archishop Peter Jensen of Sydney, Australia, and Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola attempted to pressure Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem into changing his mind. Minutes of their meeting can be found here. Abps. Jensen and Akinola were not successful. Bp. Dawani's answer was no. Yet, the GAFCON organizers continued to promote this conference in Jerusalem in spite of the Bishop of Jerusalem's objections. This was their second gaffe.
Bp. Dawani continued to voice his objections, as recently as this week.
Now we read that the "conference" has been "rearranged.". From the GAFCON website:
...After consultation with a number of church leaders in Jerusalem, and around the world, the pilgrimage of the Global Anglican Future Conference will now take place from June 22nd through June 29th. An important Consultation in Jordan from 18-22 June will include the conference leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders. The Jerusalem pilgrimage will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land...I wonder if they've checked these dates with their new host in Jordan? Or consulted with the Bishop of Jerusalem regarding the pilgrimage portion of this "conference"? If not, that would be gaffe #3, meaning they're outta there.
Speaking of being "outta there," that is what this conference is all about, if "there" is defined as the Anglican Communion. Mark Harris has described GAFCON this way:
...GAFCON will go down in the history of the Anglican Communion as the foundational meeting of a new communion. Since the current one, the Anglican Communion is already peopled with a wide variety of church folk GAFCON will either have to take over, kicking the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and a wide variety of other churches out, or start a world-wide Church of its own."...the foundational meeting of a new communion..." Does this surprise you? It shouldn't. We were told about this over two years ago. Consider the comments of Archbishop Bernard Malango, Primate of Central Africa, in this interview given to Virtueless Dave back in 2005:
We should have no doubts, however. The present brought to us this Christmas by this leadership group is rotten. GAFCON may succeed in its purposes, but the gaffe in GAFCON is that it is indeed the work of con artists.
...If there is no resolution and solution of this situation, the Global South will go it alone and we will form a church - a true Anglican Church - and those in the West who believe in the authority of the Scriptures only would be admitted...So, they will be keeping to their timetable, holding their organizing conference just before Lambeth 2008.
...We shall meet as CAPA Primates in October and one of the questions will be where a new Anglican Communion will be set up. We shall approach that question very carefully. The choice right now is Alexandria. We did not want it to be in Israel....too political, nor any other Middle East nation, nor Africa, for obvious reasons, nor Europe or Southeast Asia. We think Alexandria, Egypt is best as we can trace our historical roots from there. We can then start from an historical basis...
...It will all be resolved before the next Lambeth Conference. It will all be done within the next three years because we are fed up with talking...
So now you know the real reason they will not be going to Lambeth; they will no longer be a part of the Anglican Communion.
It is always sad when families break up. But, in this case, I think it might be better for everyone involved if these folks do move on, don't you?
UPDATE: Mark points out an interesting piece of information that I missed; Jordan is in the Diocese of Jerusalem. They are still holding their "consultation" in Bp. Dawani's diocese, even though he has asked them repeatedly to not do so. As Mark put it:
...Then again, perhaps the Bishop of Jerusalem gave in. Who knows? Still, if I said, "not in my house, please" I would somehow assume it was understood that I included the back porch...