A statement from the GAFCON UK Task Group


We are grateful to God for the gracious, unsolicited affirmation of the recent activities of GAFCON UK given by Archbishop Okoh, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council.

Archbishop Okoh’s Pastoral Letter of 6th December 2016 makes clear that, despite attempts from some in the Church of England leadership both to obfuscate the real situation on the ground in the Church, and to undermine the significance of Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10, the GAFCON Primates are in no doubt either as to the breakdown of discipline in the Church of England or as to the standards for human sexuality that the majority of the Communion expect the Church of England to uphold.

2017 will be the anniversary of two significant decisions of the General Synod of the Church of England. It will be the thirtieth anniversary of the almost unanimous vote of Synod to approve what became known as the “Higton Motion”[1], a clear declaration of the historic, apostolic teaching of the Church on sex and marriage. 2017 will also be the tenth anniversary of the affirmation by the General Synod (GS Misc 843B[2]) that the Church of England is to:

(a)   commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;

(b)   recognize that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64; 1998: 1.10);

(c)    welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth resolutions,  including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and godly dialogue about human sexuality; and

(d)   affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the church.

Those two Motions, reflecting accurately, as they do, the teaching of Holy Scripture, are authoritative and remain the position of the Church of England. Given the extensive “listening process” that has been conducted, not least for the compilation of the Pilling Report and in the nationwide and Synodical “Shared Conversations”, any attempt to suggest otherwise would simply be to ignore the express will of the General Synod and thereby to significantly undermine Synodical Government in the Church. Likewise, if the substance of those Motions are to be revisited, the same should be done expressly and only in open debate on the floor of Synod and in conjunction with the rest of the Communion. Both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion deserve such clarity of approach.

The GAFCON UK Task Group also give thanks to God that Archbishop Greg Venables, well known to us in England, will once again be a member of the GAFCON Primates Council. He is an Archbishop of great experience and courage and GAFCON UK looks forward to being able to access his counsel.

The role of the Task Group will be reviewed in the New Year. In the meantime we intend to continue to build the supporter base of GAFCON UK across the full spectrum of orthodox Anglicans in the UK and to add a number of key individuals to the already established Panel of Reference.

[1] General Synod Report of Proceedings Vol. 18 no. 3, Church House Publishing, 1987, pp. 955–6.  Can also be found at paragraph 102 of the Pilling Report.

[2] The debate can be downloaded in full here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/reports-of-proceedings.aspx , Feb 2007, RF073, p197-227