Monday 31 December 2007

Organise! GAFCON

So now we have the President Bishop of the Middle East, the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, writing to Archbishop Peter Akinola, with concerns over the Global Anglican Future Conference, and receiving a reply. Once again the self-declared orthodox are falling out with the self-declared orthodox.

Mouneer Anis says that African Anglicans who will attend Lambeth are those who lack Information Communications Technology access and so will be unaware and acquiescent, and thus not provide a developed Conservative voice to oppose the Liberals. By all, including the ICT aware, attending Lambeth they can make changes and block an unfriendly agenda.

This seems strange: they might not get the detail of blog narrowcasting but they can read and others can communicate.

Mouneer Anis does not like the timing nor the locality. He would rather it came after Lambeth, after seeing what happens and responses to Lambeth.

The orthodox would, for sure, say if they met in November, discuss the Covenant. The agenda would be clear:
This will be mainly about the covenant. Will it be agreeable or will it be reduced to an unacceptable form? This also will help us to draft an acceptable one for the covenant which can be circulated before our meeting and signed during it.
In other words the minimalist Covenant that liberals would prefer (as is their basis of support

In the letter Jerusalem is also criticised as a venue:
It is my region and I know it better than you. To say we will do a pilgrimage to attract Bishops, and yet it is not entirely a pilgrimage, is not right in my point of view.
He thus wants the venue and timing altering.

Mouneer Anis says this despite being one of those who attended the Nairobi meeting that set up the Conference.

It is an odd state of affairs. If Nairobi encouraged Dr. Mouneer, how come it had an outcome he did not want or expect? How is it that some could push it through? It makes one wonder who indeed is running the show.

Archbishop Dr Peter Akinola's reply includes agreement about North America and about having to meet. There is, though a key passage in his letter:
I also agree with you that any discussion of a structured network for orthodox Anglicans with statements of faith, constitution and organisational structure needs proper preparation. We are not at that point yet and that is why we need to meet in June.
This shows an intention to have:
  • Statements of faith
  • A Constitution
  • Organisational structure
Akinola wants to meet as a Global Fellowship, and one that sets the agenda rather than following Lambeth. A number of primates and their bishops cannot provide spiritual care given the mix of people at Lambeth and so it needs separate organising.

He claims that they all considered the argument about timing at Nairobi, but agreed unanimously to press on. So did Anis Mouneer says this despite being one of those who attended the Nairobi meeting that set up the Conference. [Please see the comment below and why this is obviously wrong - the meeting was without him]

It is an odd state of affairs. If Nairobi encouraged him, how come it had an outcome he did not want or expect? Did Dr Mouneer give his vote against the timing and place then or not? [Again as above]

Akinola hopes that he (Mouneer) keeps with them in laying the first steps for the future.

The choice of venue shows another aspect of this GAFCON - its support for Israel on the lines of the American political/ religious right. Some may remember Tony Higton and Action for Biblical Witness to Our Nation. He too is pro-Israel - and went there. He has been interviewed on Revelation TV, the shoestring UK satellite station that shares the pro-Israel stance. The stance is also distinctly anti-Muslim.

The biblical dramas that make sense to African culture on highly supernaturalist even magical lines, plus the memory of colonialisation, lead the African Churches to be sympathetic with Israel and its drama of oppression, miracles and intended liberation. Nevertheless it is highly insensitive to go into the ara en-masse when Israel and Palestine need sensitive treatment.

David Virtue, from whom this material comes, writes to conclude:
It is time to say "enough already" and move onto a separate Anglican Communion which, while not free of sin, will, at the very least not endorse it.
So he for one is clear what this is about. It is separation.


Anonymous said...

I don't think +Anis did attend the Nairobi meeting. The article states:

Mouneer said he was encouraged by the meeting in Nairobi, "where you reflected on the future of our Anglican presence."

Where YOU reflected, not WE.

Akinola states:
"Be assured that we considered your important arguments carefully as we met in Nairobi. But we came to the unanimous conclusion that we needed to proceed."

This does not give the impression that +Anis was present. Why tell him something he would already know?

The impression the correspondence gives is that neither the Primate (+Anis) nor the Diocesan (+Dawali) had any knowledge of the conference.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Many thanks for this correction, and clearly better observed than me.