Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Welby urges GAFCON to consider the cost of rebellion

Archbishop tweets call for prayer after delegates have the first reading of their conference statement

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a call to the GAFCON delegates meeting in Jerusalem for God to “bless you with wisdom, insight and fresh vision”. The archbishop’s first message to the conference came as the delegates gathered on the southern steps of the Temple in Jerusalem — the place scholars believe was the site where Peter addressed the crowds, Acts 2:13ff on the day of Pentecost. 

The call to discernment came hours after delegates met in provincial groups to discuss the first draft of the conference communique, which is believed to be harshly critical of the archbishop’s leadership.

Conference organizers have asked the draft not be made public as it is subject to revisions and a final vote. Delegates were not given printed copies of the draft, but had sections read to them in sections — followed by discussion and suggested revisions.

Some delegates, however, tweeted or posted on Facebook their summary of the document or its major points. Within hours the Archbishop of Canterbury took to the internet to seek to persuade the delegates not to act rashly.

Staffers from the London offices of the archbishop and the Anglican Consultative Council have been following the conference proceedings via the live-stream of the plenary proceedings, and have made overturns to some participants asking for updates.

The delegates have so far had only one public word from London during the conference — the ACC general secretary’s demand to the primates they abjure to the GAFCON program. However, some scheduled speakers and participants withdrew from the proceedings at the last minute due to pressure from London — the top GAFCON leaders tell AI. Two bishops from Polynesia and the primate of Tanzania offered their regrets shortly before the conference after they had already made arrangements to attend.

However, not all “no-shows” were due to political pressure being brought to bear. The Bishop of Egypt, Dr. Mouneer Anis, was stopped at the Cairo airport and not permitted to fly to Israel, while visa problems kept most of the South Sudan delegation — including their primate — from entering Israel.

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