Wednesday 20 February 2008

Is Jordan Far Away Enough?

Consistent with earlier wobbles, and disputes, but from the point of view of its own success and probably rebuilding a reasonable relationship with the Global South, GAFCON has made what looks like a sensible clawing back decision. It is meeting (for presumably those all important resolutions or equivalents - though called an "initial consultation") outside the hothouse of Israel. GAFCON has seemingly given way to advice from the locals and will be in Jordan not Israel from June 18-22 and it goes to Israel for a collective walk from June 22 through June 29. It is an invitation only double event; it seems some will go to Israel only and some (from Muslim countries) may only get to Jordan.

The question is whether now Bishop Suheil Dawani will welcome GAFCON into his patch. He could unless he has been offended by the publication of local scandals and divisions involving him and his predecessor. Of course he may consider that Jordan is hardly far enough away.

Cyprus was the alternative for the conference, as suggested by an offer from Bishop Dawani.

Bishop Suheil closed the discussion by saying that for the sake of making progress in this discussion he would like to suggest that Archbishop Akinola either reconsiders the venue and time for the conference, or divides his program into two parts: to have the conference in Cyprus, and to have a pure pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

Should Archbishop Akinola be ready to accept this suggestion, Bishop Suheil would warmly welcome him and his pilgrims.

Why has GAFCON moved? It is probably because of practical reasons about getting into Israel and having a conference in time. It also looks humble, whilst not actually going to Cyprus or far enough away and so Peter Jensen can make it look like consultation.

"We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received on the many complex issues that confront us," said Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney and a member of the leadership team.

Mark Harris includes the information that Jordan is still within the Diocese of Jerusalem and the implications of this. GAFCON always suits itself.

The Jordan part includes the pilgrimage leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key personnel. The pilgrimage part has worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study.The pilgrimage includes meetings for bishops only and a keynote speech followed by Holy Communion on Sunday June 29.

Those who are not invited can only join the final morning of the pilgrimage on Sunday June 29. The press can attend specific events and press briefings. Those who are invited to the full pilgrimage indicate their acceptance to the Primate, or lead Bishop, and they get issued with a unique "pilgrim number". Such pilgrims have to pay up by April 15 2008.


Father Ron said...

This seems a pretty good assessment of what might be happening with GAFCON. However, I do thing that the ABC has some awareness of the situation, and may perhaps be hoping that the GAFCON-ites excommunicate themselves - without any help from anyone else in the Communion. This will leave us run-of-the-mill Anglicans to carry on with our mission of preaching inclusivity in the Gospel.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Thank you. I wish I could agree with you about what the Archbishop of Canterbury hopes for. I can only see him having leaned over backwards to include them. They may ex-communicate themselves but the danger is continuing to try to skew the outcome for everyone in order to try to attract them back in. The GAFCON output comes before Lambeth and so we could see some rather unfortunate further bending in GAFCON's direction.