Sunday, October 20, 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury meets with GAFCON leaders

From here:

Primates Gather for Worship

Archbishop Welby and Archbishop Wabukala this morning.
As the GAFCON Primates gathered together for worship today at All Saint's Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya they were joined by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Archibishop Welby preached to a full church in a service led by Archbishop Wabukala, Primate of Kenya.

In his sermon, Archbishop Welby acknowledged that the structures of the Anglican Communion need to look very different if they are to serve the mission of the church in the years to come.
Archbishop Wabukala and Archbishop Duncan.

Later in the service, Archbishop Wabukala was assisted at communion by the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng, Archbishop of South Sudan, and the Most Rev. Tito Zavala, Archbishop of the Southern Cone.

After the service, the Primates gathered at Bishopsborne, the home of Archbishop Wabakula for lunch and fellowship. In addition to Archbishop Welby, the gathering was joined by Dr. Christian Turner, the British High Commissioner to Kenya.

UPDATE: George Conger has posted a story following the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit with the GAFCON primates.  Here are excerpts:

Welby backs GAFCON vision for a renewed Church

Archbishops Deng Bul, Duncan, Welby and Wabkula.  
The Archbishop of Canterbury offered his qualified personal endorsement to Gafcon today, telling the congregation of All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi his vision for the future of the Anglican Communion was of a Bible-based church dedicated to mission and evangelism – goals shared by the Gafcon movement of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).

While Archbishop Justin Welby stopped short of giving Gafcon his formal imprimatur, he conceded the existing instruments of communion were no longer fit for purpose in ordering the life of the Anglican world.

The archbishop also hinted the Communion may not be able to count upon the Church of England to hold the line on issues close to the heart of the Gafcon movement. Archbishop Welby recounted his strong public opposition to the British government’s same-sex marriage bill, noting it had come at a great “personal cost” to him as the culture and government were hostile to the church. However, he was silent on whether the Church of England would permit the blessing of gay civil unions.

The archbishop’s multi-layered sermon evolved over its two presentations – after being all but silent about Gafcon in his first sermon, in its second reading the archbishop spoke three times about the forthcoming Gafcon conference, set for 21-26 October 2013, at All Saints Cathedral ...

... Dr. Peter Jensen, the former Archbishop of Sydney and the current General Secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans -- the sponsor of the Gafcon conference -- said he was encouraged by the address. The archbishop’s statement “the old ways are no longer appropriate, the old structures no longer work, given on the eve of Gafcon, give us hope,” he said.

A tired and wan Archbishop Welby spent only 18 hours in Kenya, arriving in the early hours of Sunday. Travelling without his minders, the archbishop stayed at the home of Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya, before preaching before the 9:30 and 11:30 congregations at the Cathedral. Following his sermons he went into a closed door meeting with the primates’ council.
The archbishop is scheduled to leave Nairobi on Sunday evening and fly to Iceland to chair a meeting of the primates of the Poorvoo Communion on Monday ...

... To combat the subordination of the church to the culture of the world, the “Bible must be at the heart of our study, our life, our walk with Jesus” he said, but a “church that only reads but does not act, disgraces the Bible.”

The archbishop then moved into the heart of his sermon, saying “our differences will always exist. How we deal with them is clear from Scripture; but the church seldom follows” Scripture when dealing with conflict.

“There is a need for new structures in the Anglican Communion, “the archbishop said, adding the issues that divide us are “simple and complicated.”

To address them “we need a new way of being in communion, not the colonial structures” of the past, he said. But it was unclear as to what the solution was as each province offered its own solution to the problem, yet “we must find a way to live together, so the world will see” Jesus is Lord.

The Anglican world must be a sign to the world of the power of Christ and must engage in a deliberate program of “witness, worship, evangelism, and a passion for the Holy Spirit.”

“The more seriously we take the Bible” the more effectively we will be able to deal with our divisions, he said.

The archbishop then offered personal vignettes of the power of prayer and the freedom found in God’s word, recounting his experience of being held hostage by bandits in Nigeria, and of his conversion experience as a young man in Kenya.

He then turned to the situation in England, recounting the difficult debate in the House of Lords over the government’s bill to permit same-sex marriage. “In England, we in the church disagree with same-sex marriage because we honor marriage, not out of hate, or fear or anger.”

“I spoke at great personal cost” against the bill and received opprobrium and “hatred” from those who supported changing marriage. But as the Letter to the Hebrews said we must keep “the marriage bed undefiled”, the church could not support this change, just as it could not support “adultery or pornography.”

A “church that flourishes” is a church that is “based on the Bible” he said. “We all fail,” he said, because “we all sin,” but a “Biblically-centered, practically loving” church is what God wants Anglicans to be.

While the Lambeth Palace Press Office had released a statement saying Archbishop Welby was visiting Kenya to stand in solidarity with its people in the wake of the Westgate Mall terror attack, he made no mention of terrorism in his sermons and his time in Nairobi was spent exclusively on Gafcon.

Read it all here.

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