Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stephen Noll on the GAFCON/FCA Primates Communique

Steve Noll writes:
Clearly the GAFCON (now FCA) Primates and Common Cause Partners are moving toward the formation of an alternative Province in North America. This decision does address one concern of the WCG report: that an ongoing hodge-podge of clergy, churches and dioceses under the jurisdiction of various overseas Provinces is not in the best interests of all concerned. The overseas Primates agree and have always seen these arrangements as temporary “rescue operations.” Now the burden of proof is on the Common Cause Partners to prove that they are not an assembly of mavericks. Once this province is fully formed and recognized, oversight will return to the normal structure of bishop in a diocese and council of bishops in a province.

Given the breakdown in trust among the Communion Instruments, it was simply unrealistic to think that a Pastoral Forum appointed and governed by the Archbishop of Canterbury could effectively minister to the clergy, churches and dioceses in North America that have been persecuted by TEC and ACoC and neglected by the official Instruments over the past decade. Why not accept that the Common Cause clergy, churches and dioceses have, in the providence of God, found a safe haven with the GAFCON provinces and that they can provide the best care for the time being as the new Province is born?

The formation of a North American province recognized by a significant bloc of Anglicans will result in an anomaly of overlapping official jurisdictions. This is not ideal, but neither were the actions of TEC since Lambeth 1998 which precipitated it. There is no reason to think, whatever GAFCON does, that TEC and ACoC will uphold the moratoria, at best paying lip service to them. There is no sign that these churches intend to return to the “the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family” (Jerusalem Declaration, clause 8). It is likely therefore that these churches will choose to walk apart along with others who hold a false gospel. As this separation happens, other orthodox provinces will grant recognition to the new province in North America.

One other positive development of the recognition of churches in the Common Cause Partnership is that many Anglicans who have been disenfranchised from the official Communion for years will now be restored to formal fellowship.

From StandFirm, GAFCON Communique and letter from North American bishops to GAFCON primates.

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