Since I waded through all 14 pages of Bishop Robert Duncan's opening address to GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference), which is - what? - the anti-Lambeth, the alternative Lambeth, I decided to write a bit about it and probably bore you to death. One goal of the folks gathered at GAFCON seems to be to take Anglicanism back to a nebulous gilded age when the one true church of Jesus Christ manifested itself plainly for all to see. Bishop Duncan mentions the church of the early centuries of Christianity but then suggests that the shared prayer of Anglicanism today should be a version of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
The groups represented at GAFCON are: Network, Anglican Mission in America, Reformed Episcopal Church, American Anglican Council, Forward in Faith North America, Anglican Province in America, congregations in Kenya, Uganda, and the Southern Cone, Anglican Network in Canada, and Federation of Anglican Churches in America. One major "challenge" facing the group as they come together is that they do not agree on the ordination of women to the priesthood. Other "challenges" may arise as they continue to seek to come together in a body.
One question from Bishop Duncan startled me. He asked, "What will it take to restore the Holy Scripture as "ultimate rule and standard" among us?" Ultimate rule and standard? That seems a tad, just a tad idolatrous to me. Of course, I could be wrong, since I am neither a learned theologian nor a learned Scripture scholar. "Anglicans are 'under the Word'," says Bp. Duncan. The Word made flesh or the word in a book?
He speaks of the proper role of the Anglican Communion as a bridge between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches on one side and the Protestant churches on the other. One way that he sees the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada going astray is that they are rather trying to be a bridge between the church and the world. I wonder if the doctrine of the Incarnation could have implications here.
Bishop Duncan says, "But the inexorable shift of power from Britain and the West to the Global South cannot be stopped, and some conciliar instrument reflective of the shift is bound to emerge as the Reformation Settlement gives way to a Global (post-colonial) Settlement." That statement led me, along with others, to ponder why a white man is moderator of the gathering.
I think that's enough.