Church of England and the Anglican Communion
A statement from the Church of England released on October 9th said “The prayers and readings in Prayers of Love and Faith for use with same-sex couples will be commended by the House of Bishops for use in public worship.” The statement briefly outlines the next steps that will be taken with reference to Canons, to Dioceses and to General Synod.
- On October 10th Anglican Network in Europe released a strong statement saying the bishops “Together…have embraced heresy”, have introduced erroneous doctrine instead of banishing it as they promised at their ordination vows, and so are “not fit for office”. They called on orthodox bishops to distance themselves.
- On 12th October eleven bishops (including seven Diocesans) publicly dissented from the decision, questioning whether it passes the necessary doctrinal and legal tests, and calling into doubt the statement’s assurance of united agreement.
- CEEC have offered support for this minority episcopal opposition, suggesting that the senior leadership trying to push through the Prayers are not following “good process in respect of the use of power.” Earlier, CEEC set out key demands if bishops continue on this path, such as alternative oversight by orthodox bishops for parishes that will not conduct the blessings, and a safe ‘pipeline’ for orthodox ordinands to be selected and trained. CEEC National Director John Dunnett says this should be done through a “structural rearrangement” of the Church of England.
- A letter posted by Evangelicals Now on ‘X’, representing the concerns of 78 C of E ordinands says that the bishops’ commendation of the Prayers “indicate a departure from the historic teachings of the Christian faith”. Please pray for these men and women in terms of their calling in such a context.
- Detailed commentary from Andrew Goddard explains the legal and canonical issues in more detail.
On October 17-19 delegates from ANiE, CEEC and the HTB network are attending a meeting in Cairo convened by GSFA, to begin discussions in earnest on how to “re-set the Communion” at this crucial time, not just for the Church in England, but in a world of conflict, suffering and spiritual darkness. This meeting will also be attended by most of the Gafcon Primates. There will be a report in the next newsletter.
Archbishop Mouneer Anis, until 2021 Primate of the Province of Alexandria (covering parts of north-east Africa) and Chairman of Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, has written two articles about the Anglican Communion:
- A Deeply Torn Communion. The Communion has been fractured because of “systemic institutional failure”, of which the support given by the Archbishop of Canterbury for blessings of same sex relationships is the latest example.
- Away from Empire: a vision for a more coherent Communion. A suggestion for building on the work of the Windsor Report of 2004. This would bind Anglicans who choose to join a re-set Communion, no longer under Canterbury, to a Covenant, declaring commitment to the same bible-based theological principles.
Archbishop Mouneer Anis
Gafcon GBE comment:
At Gafcon GBE we have been praying for the meeting of GSFA 17-19 October. We are hoping for progress led by the Holy Spirit.
The Bishops’ introduction of prayers which purport to bless what the Word of God calls sin, should not be a surprise to us. Gafcon was formed in 2008 in response to similar moves by Anglicans in the US and Canada 20 years ago. Some have been slow to recognise the inevitability of the same thing happening here, and to plan appropriately for inevitable spiritual and structural separation. However we can give thanks for the growing unity emerging among those committed to following God’s word, and a template that Gafcon has offered, for resistance to false teaching, re-establishment of safe orthodox structures, and re-commitment to taking the whole gospel to the whole world as the whole church.
We believe that the problems within global Anglicanism are not just about misuse of canons and synods in church; they are spiritual not just institutional and legal, and require prayerful and prophetic discernment of the false philosophies and worldviews embedded in Western culture, as we establish faithful communities based on the truth of God’s word.
Gafcon GBE continues to support those remaining in the Church of England contending for orthodox faith, who look to Gafcon for vision and spiritual example, and also those Anglicans outside the Canterbury structures who are aligned with Gafcon, which is able to provide a vision for diverse and biblically faithful Anglicanism now, and also structures for those who can no longer accept revisionist leadership. We hope this will be recognised by GSFA, encouraged, and incorporated into the strategic thinking for the future as orthodox Anglicans continue to work together in unity.
Bishop Stuart Bell reports on Ben Kwashi’s visit to Wales, in which he met with faithful Anglican leaders from the Church in Wales and Anglican Convocation Europe. Please pray for Bishop Stuart as he begins treatment for cancer.
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There will be a GAFCON GBE PRAYER MEETING on Saturday 4 November at 10am, with Archbishop Ben Kwashi, Daniel Willis the Gafcon senior administrator, and others. Details here:
Time: Nov 4, 2023 10:00 AM London
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 868 3506 5350
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News from other Gafcon-aligned Anglican jurisdictions
The Free Church of England report encouraging growth in ministries in York and Morecambe.
Anglican Missionary Congregations have successfully established a new church in Wigan.
An article published in the September edition of Evangelicals Now gives examples of growing churches and people coming to faith in Jesus for the first time.
Israel and Gaza
The first Gafcon conference took place in Jerusalem, because it was recognised that who we are as Christians did not begin in Canterbury, but in the Holy Land. Vibrant bible-believing Christianity (including Anglicanism) is strongest in Africa, and the one-to-one bible study leading to the first convert from the African interior took place somewhere in or near Gaza (Acts 8:26-27). We pray for peace between Israel and the surrounding peoples. Those of us who are gentiles recognise that our spiritual heritage comes from Israel and the gospel is “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16). We recognise and stand against the malign intent of radical Islam towards Jews, as evidenced in the latest atrocity in southern Israel, while at the same time longing for Israel to fulfil the demands of the Torah of compassion towards the poor and foreigner, and to recognise Yeshua the Messiah.
A helpful resource:
5 ways to pray for Israel and Gaza (from Premier Christianity).
Roman Catholic Church
“The sad fact is that the Church has lost faith in the Gospel. That is why it seeks to promote a new gospel of inclusion, equality, and environmentalism….The best way to survive the synod is simply to ignore it.” So says writer Mark Dooley. He’s not talking about the Church of England General Synod, but the Roman Catholic “Synod on Synodality” in Rome (4th-29th of October, 2023). Much of what he says is applicable to the C of E. Read his piece “Surviving the Synod” here.
Beginning of life
Demographic crisis: half of all pregnancies for young women and girls below the age of 25, Generation Z, now end in elective abortion (approx. 88,000 live births and 88,000 elective abortions in 2022). See also comment here. Give thanks that after several harassment and even arrest of those praying near abortion clinics, the Home Secretary has clarified that ‘silent prayer is not unlawful’ (see report from Premier here).
Conversion Therapy’ ban
The UK government is set to delay plans to ban conversion therapy in the UK following discussions around how the legislation would be worded have been left unresolved. See comment from Christian Institute here.
Transgender guidance for schools
The government has delayed issuing the promised guidance, because the country is divided on the issue and so is the Cabinet. Even the Children’s Commissioner and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who are both calling for schools to receive the help they need to navigate the issue, will not be drawn on what they think the policy should say.
Pray that both the ban on conversion therapy and legislation compelling schools to support transgender ideology will be dropped.
Prayer point summary:
- Pray for the ministries of women in the worldwide church, and especially those associated with Gafcon.
- Continue to uphold the Church of England in prayer; for those inspired by and aligned with Gafcon who are committed to remain in the Church of England, those who are making plans to leave facing an uncertain future, and those who are already part of new Anglican jurisdictions under Gafcon. Pray for God’s guidance and unity among all Anglicans who are faithful to Scripture.
- Pray for the meeting of Anglican leaders organised and led by GSFA in Cairo; for good relationships to develop, and for Spirit-led plans to develop.
- Pray for peace in the world, and especially for the nation of Israel, for Jewish people, and for an end to conflict in the region.
- Gafcon Primates meeting in London 6th-9th November – pray for the Primates and their families and wisdom and clarity from the Lord.
- General Synod 13th-15th – Pray especially for EGGS (Evangelical Group General Synod) and for re-presentation of biblical truth in the face of the bishop’s approval of blessings for same sex couples.
New prayer initiative
A list of prayer points similar to the above, with more detail, will be distributed by email and WhatsApp for those who subscribe. Email email@example.com giving your name and mobile number if you would like to receive this list. The prayer points will be confidential, not to be shared outside the group.