Friday, June 20, 2008

GAFCON a Shambles

From George Pitcher, in the Telegraph:
The Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON as it is appropriately abbreviated, has so far been a shambles. Over 100 bishops, principally from the theologically conservative reaches of Africa and the United States, who believe that they understand the mind of God with sufficient intimacy to dictate terms to the rest of the Communion, were meant to gather in Jordan to do their business before transferring this weekend for a week’s pilgrimage in Jerusalem.

As it turns out, the team’s cheerleader, the belligerent Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, was denied entry to Jordan and the conference is having to transfer precipitately to Jerusalem, with its spokespeople stammering about hotel bookings becoming unexpectedly available there. The Anglican Church in Jerusalem, headed by Bishop Suheil Dawani, is a reluctant host to these schismatics, which is why their preliminary meeting was in Jordan in the first place.

It appears that the whole exercise was undertaken remotely and with arrogance, taking little or no regard for local middle-eastern sensibilities over how the presence of a bunch of Evangelical Christian hard-liners would play with painstakingly constructed relationships with local Muslim authorities. The GAFCON caravan will, nevertheless, issue demands and statements...

...None of this will do anything but bemuse Church of England congregations, for whom such remote machinations are, at best, boringly irrelevant. But such congregations will feel a visceral antipathy to being bossed about by what amounts to more of a circus than a conference in the Holy Lands. Dr Williams should be strengthened by that thought ahead of next month’s Lambeth Conference.
What he said.


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