ACC General Secretary defends his turf by rubbishing GAFCON to the primates
The General Secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council has written to the Primates warning them against participation in the GAFCON movement as it is a ginger group fomenting schism within the Anglican Communion.
In a letter sent by email on 13 June 2018 Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon wrote:
“I am persuaded to write to you all, as members of the Primates’ Meeting and therefore and one of the four instruments that make up the smooth running of our Communion of Churches, about this month’s letter from the Chairman of GAFCON.
“In paragraph four of that letter Archbishop Okoh, talking about the forthcoming GAFCON Conference, refers to: the launch of nine key networks: Theological Education, Church Planting, Global Mission Partnerships, Bishops Training, Youth and Children’s Ministry Women’s Ministry, Sustainable Development together with an Intercessors Fellowship and a Lawyer’s Task Force.
“This appears to be a call to GAFCON members to endorse a parallel administrative organisation to the existing one without Anglican Communion. The office that I lead is active across all of these areas with dedicated and highly experienced Directors leading work in partnership with individual Provinces and with regional groups.
“We should all welcome additional energy and resources devoted to key areas of ministry. However, we must protect against both duplication and the setting up of rival bodies of influence, activity and impact. This route would be one of division and confusion and it should be questioned and avoided.
“Any structures that GAFCON might seek to establish that geographic representation on the model of the Anglican Consultative Council would be a further dangerous step.
“I am therefore calling for your prayers and counsel in relation to GAFCON. Whilst it is a group that claims to champion “renewal”, it appears to be setting up what clearly looks like a rival structure that is clearly not in conformity with our understanding of that it means to be Anglican.
“I call for your prayers and wise counsel on how to avoid the potential for schism within our Anglican Communion.
“Blessings: The Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon”
The primate of Tanzania, the Most Rev. Mambo Mndolwa, appears to have heeded the advice of Dr. Idowu-Fearon and pulled out of the conference at the last minute. However, his call for GAFCON to abandon its plan to resource the global church will no have no impact on the work of the Jerusalem Conference meeting this week, one primate told Anglican Ink.
Declining to speak on the record as was not authorized to speak on behalf of the GAFCON primates counsel, the archbishop noted that much of what Dr. Idowu-Fearon wrote was true — GAFCON was seeking to build networks and relationships between church to resource the needs of a rapidly growing church.
He further noted that Dr. Idowu-Fearon was correct in deducing that GAFCON was not leaving the Anglican Communion. Where he erred, it was explained to Anglican Ink, was in presuming that unelected bureaucrat in London had the authority or credibility to define what it meant to be Anglican. Britain was not a colonial master that could dictate to the black and brown races — this applied as much to governments as it did to the church.
Dr. Idowu-Fearon also erred in thinking that there was no schism within the communion. “Where has he been the last twenty years?” asked another primate.
A spokesman for Dr. Idowu-Fearon declined to address questions about the letter, noting it was their policy not to comment on private correspondence. He referred those interested in learning of Dr. Idowu-Fearon’s views on this general topic to a 15 June 2018 post on his blog.
In an entry entitled “Belonging and renewal in our Anglican Communion” Dr. Idowu-Fearon stated:
“The Anglican Church has always made room for various theological positions. As a family, we should be able to discuss issues together — even the difficult ones. This is the way forwards, not to be separate and somehow operate in parallel. This creates confusion especially among some of the lay members and it can damage the work of renewal. Our God is not a God of confusion; he is a God of order.”