Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis Will Pass on GAFCON

You can find background on this situation here, here, here and here.

Here is a summary of how the GAFCON conference has developed:

A few Primates decided to hold a global conference for "Rejectionist" Anglicans in Jerusalem. It seems they neglected to consult with anyone else except their little group.

Presiding Bishop 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. He was ignored.

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 Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola attempted to pressure Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem into changing his mind. They 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.

The "conference" was then "rearranged," with the conference part happening in Jordan, followed by a pilgrimage in Jerusalem. About 1,000 people are signed up to attend. About 222 of them are Bishops. Of that number, 219 are Bishops of those Provinces that have invaded North America and attempted to claim congregations to which they have no right (Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and the Southern Cone).

Thinking Anglicans provides us with a recent letter from The Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, informing us that he will not be attending GAFCON. Here's part of it:

...For this reason I appeal to you to take the above statements fully into your consideration and to be careful not to make binding decisions which may result in dividing Anglicans in the Global South and elsewhere. At the same time I would like to share with you a little more of my own thinking.

I believe that the best strategy for safeguarding orthodox faith and unhindered mission is to have parallel processes for building unity among those loyal to the biblical historic faith and ethics in both the South and the North. Orthodox leaders in the South and in the North need to continue to work together and support each other.

I would respectfully add that the Global South must not be driven by an exclusively Northern agenda or Northern personalities. The meeting of the Global South in ‘09 will be critical for the future, and the agenda will need careful preparation ahead of time...
I disagree with much Bp. Anis has to say in this letter, but I can agree on two points; this current unpleasantness is indeed being driven by "Northern personalities." And I agree that this meeting will be critical for the future, since it is obvious that what is being attempted at this conference is nothing less than to establish a new and exclusive global Communion.

Even a conservative Primate like Bp. Anis, in whose Province GAFCON is being held, can't support it. Why? Because of the "Northern personalities" that are driving it (Chris Sudgen, Martyn Minns, Bill Atwood, John Guernsey, Bob Duncan, Jack Iker, etc.) Imagine that.


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