GAFCON Primates Communiqué signals 2020 Bishops Conference

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The Communique from last week’s meeting of the GAFCON Primates in Sydney has been released with a surprise announcement of a Gafcon Bishops Conference to be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2020.

Countering expected charges that they are setting up a “rival” conference, the Communique argues that “we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored”.

In response to querying whether Kigali 2020 really was a rival conference, a source close to the GAFCON leadership told us,

As it is currently structured, many Gafcon bishops can’t go to Lambeth 2020. The question on the mind of the Primates was, “How do we provide fellowship and teaching for our bishops?” The Gafcon Primates aren’t trying to rival the Lambeth conference. It’s not a competition, or an attempt to “one up” Canterbury. They are solely focused on caring for their bishops. That is where their heart is.

The need for continued action while order is restored is a prevailing theme in the Communiqué, including a clear indication that responsibility for the ongoing crisis rests heavily upon the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby because of his inaction:

Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored. They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility. 

We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury. We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the  Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation.

The move to set up a Bishops’ Conference is the last in a number of moves that GAFCON have taken to effectively set up alternate structures within the Anglican Communion. Other such moves are outlined in the Communiqué.

  1. The continued growth of its various networks
  2. The affirmation of the decision by faithful Anglicans in New Zealand to create an extra-provincial diocese in New Zealand in response to that province’s decision to permit the blessing of same-sex marriages.
  3. The creation of a missionary district for Europe.

The full text of the Communiqué follows:

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