Kigali Convention Center alongside the Radisson Blu Hotel

The temptation for some GAFCON Primates to urge GAFCON (the Conference) to make a major Statement re the CofE and Anglican Communion ahead of full, reflective discussions with the GSFA, is huge. I’m hearing this from my Primate contacts.

Human nature is always at play and after Lambeth 22, many in GAFCON we’re concerned the public orthodoxy lead had been taken by the GSFA, and the leadership problems of GAFCON were driving some Primates more to the GSFA than seeing GAFCON as representing them.  The timing of the CofE vote fell perfectly for boosting GAFCON ticket sales.

The two big differences between the GSFA and GAFCON, in a nutshell, are:-

a) the GSFA sees itself as a Holy Remnant, which will stay ‘within’ the Anglican Communion, with a vision of ‘re-setting the Communion’ (my original phrase) to an orthodox, accountable fellowship. 

GAFCON’s major provinces: Nigeria, Uganda, Rhwanda, Sydney – have all but left the Communion, and see it past it’s ‘sell by date’. And ACNA, whose Primate is the main lead, of course, isn’t in the Communion. 

b) the GSFA is led by Archbishop Justin Badi who I know to be a man who deeply values the prayerful reflection and input from all the GSFA primates. Even within the GSFA Executice Secretariat, he’s always wanting to seek Counsel from other Primates. He believes the Holy Spirit reveals direction via Unity, though won’t flinch from making difficult decisions.  

I think it fair to say most commentators/advisers who have worked with GAFCON give evidence to the fact that in reality, decisions are made by ++ Nigeria, Uganda, Sydney and ACNA. 

My major recommendation to the GSFA primates ahead of their public statement re the CofE Gay Blessing vote was that from that ALL Statements/Press Releases re the CofE, and the Anglican Communion, be ‘Joint Statements’ by the GSFA and GAFCON.

This PR advice surprised some Primates (and eased ++ Foley), but my professional advice was for two reasons: that there be no division or difference in approach between the GSFA and GAFCON which the liberals could expose and, a joint statement, once you create the precedent, would ensure a collegiate and united response, and that the ‘orthodox future’ would not be decided by the four aforementioned primates. Sadly the GSFA put out their own Statement and not a joint one. It was one of three reasons why, sadly, I had to resign as PR Consultant to the GSFA.

I have to say that the choices facing the large, global orthodox primates/provinces mirror those facing the leaders of the large orthodox parishes here in the CofE. They, in many ways, don’t need the old structures of the Anglican Communikn/CofE. And in many ways, have ministered separately for years, if not decades. 

But for smaller Evangelical parishes, like smaller, more vulnerable provinces, open to attack by civil political forces, or Islam, being part of the Communion has created a level of safety and security. In the Kigali deliberations, as well as the actions by large Ev parishes here, I pray the larger, stronger parts of the Body of Christ will remember the smaller, weaker ones, and that their pre-emptive moves might not weaken the negotiating role of CEEC or, leave the smaller, more vulnerable parishes and clergy behind. 

It is my deepest prayer that at Kigali this week, the Spirit of God would be so preset that Unity amongst the orthodox might be the priority – and a witness to the world (John 17:23). That unity might be so powerful in the hearts/minds of all, that human desires and positioning would be laid down, and that the prayerful reflection and consultation amongst ALL orthodox primates would be the common goal.

I earnestly pray that any major Statement might be deferred until after the primates, unable to attend Kigali have bern consulted, and the upcoming GSFA/GAFCON primates meeting can consider whatever Statement finally comes out of Kigali – and a joint statement made.

Finally, it is common practice for conferences/congresses like this to have the final Communique or Conference Statement drafted ahead of the conference, in detail, and then tweaked as the conference proceeds. From contacts, I’m not convinced enough orthodox primates have had sight of the GAFCON Kigali offering for it to be able to be taken as THE ‘Red Letter document’ moving forward as Anglicans across the Globe. We are at a watershed moment, and this is too important a decision to make just to fit in with a previously timetabled conference. I therefore hope an ‘interim statement’ might be made – with the promise of a final, joint GSFA/GAFCON Communique, once full global consultation has taken placed

So I pray for all concerned – including the Press Officer in Kigali whose is doing the job I did for the GSFA at the Lambeth Conference 2022