On February 9th 2023, the Church of England’s governing body, General Synod, voted by majorities in all three houses to approve the plan put forward by the House of Bishops, to allow prayers of blessing for same sex relationships in parish churches. It is now beyond doubt that the C of E as an institution has formally rejected God’s clear design for sex and marriage revealed in his Word, and in doing so, has demonstrated a theological confusion, lack of confidence in the Gospel and capitulation to the worldviews of secular culture which is disastrous for the church’s pastoral care and mission.
Gafcon Great Britain and Europe, together with Gafcon Global, laments this departure from “the faith once delivered to the saints”, and stands in solidarity with faithful clergy and laity in the Church of England who find themselves out of communion with those supposedly in spiritual oversight over them. We pray for those who are perhaps shocked, grieving, and insecure, with difficult decisions to make in the near future about how to ensure a safe ecclesial home.
Sadly, these events are not a surprise, as Archbishop Foley Beach reminds us in his recent statement the Gafcon movement has for many years recognised and pointed out this theological and organisational weakness in Western Anglican churches, called wayward leaders to repentance, and offered a vision of global, multicultural Christian unity in the Anglican tradition, based around biblical truth and the gospel of salvation. The forthcoming fourth global gathering in Kigali in April will be a great opportunity to experience this in practice, to respond to these events in England as well as other critical situations around the world, and plan for the future.
Gafcon GBE wants to support those orthodox Anglicans who feel called to stay in the Church of England for the moment, while also recognising the availability and importance of Gafcon-authorised church movements such as the Anglican Network in Europe, for those whose conscience moves them to seek an alternative spiritual home. In the coming months, individuals and groups sharing the same bible-based faith in Christ will make different decisions, perhaps looking to different networks, but in doing so, it is important to honour one another, pray together, and recognise the big picture of God’s Kingdom which we all want to see grow to His glory.
Gafcon GB and Europe trustees.