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Behind the scenes of Gafcon

Accusations that Gafcon II would a political rally for the right paid for by American conservatives and fronted by their docile African allies have proven to be unfounded, so far.

Gafcon II is self-funded the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns told Anglican Ink, with the costs of the conference evenly divided between the delegates.

Nor have forecasts of chaos proven true.  Backed by a cadre of Kenyan volunteers and an Australian-American management team, 1352 delegates have been efficiently fed, housed, moved and organized .

Gathered on the campus of All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi the conference has held its plenary sessions and informal worship in the main auditorium of the Trinity Center. The main auditorium in the three story parish hall has been able to accommodate the 30 archbishops, 301 bishops, 541 priests and deacons, and 487 lay people from 27 provinces drawn from 40 countries.

The Church of Nigeria has the largest delegation at 481, including a nine month old infant, with the Ugandan, Australian, UK and North American delegations rounding out the top five. Among the smallest delegations are Bermuda, Mexico, Papua New Guinea. The Episcopal Church of the USA has two clergy and one lay delegate, while the Anglican Church of Canada is represented by a bishop from the Diocese of the Arctic.

A constant armed security presence surrounds the Cathedral campus, while a single entrance with metal detectors screens those entering. Each delegate wears a prominent badge displaying his name and a barcode, which allows him access to the facility.

While the 2008 conference benefited from the largesse of wealthy donors from the US and Nigeria, Gafcon 2013 has kept to a tight budget. Bishop Minns commended the work of Jotham Kilimo chairman of the local organizing committee and his 50 volunteers who have kept the conference on track. Gafcon general secretary was effusive in his praise for Bishop Minns, telling the press he was our “magic Martyn”.

A medical tent with an ambulance on call has been on site throughout the conference. Two leaders of the conference have had to be hospitalized during the meeting. Archbishop Stanley Ntagali was hospitalized for one day following an attack of malaria, while Archbishop Robert Duncan has been hospitalized for most the conference due to an infection.

Fifty buses transported the delegates to the Nairobi Safari Park on Thursday afternoon. A police escort moved the convoy through Nairobi’s chaotic traffic, closing roads to move delegates swiftly to the countryside for their safari tour.

A final statement for the conference will be released at the meeting’s close. That document, however, not the public program will set the public face of the 2nd Gafcon conference and set the course for the future of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

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