The Australian Church Record, number 1894, June 2008, has been released.
In a courageous move the Bishops of the Sydney diocese have responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to Lambeth with a “regret unable”. Instead they will be attending GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) in Jerusalem during June this year. A special briefing was held at the Cathedral in March to explain this position.
Speeches were made by Mark Thompson, Robert Tong, Russell Powell and Phillip Jensen. The basic thrust was that Lambeth should be rejected on the basis that Bishops who supported the consecration of Gene Robinson have been invited. In addition to this, the Bishop of New Westminster has been invited despite his actions against parishes like St John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver. To attend Lambeth would be an expression of fellowship with people that the Scriptures warn against associating with. GAFCON on the other hand is a more exclusive meeting of orthodox believers that aims to establish fellowship, renewed identity and a new future among Bible believers in the Anglican communion.
Phillip Jensen made his position very clear when he said, “I would urge those bishops who believe that unrepentant active homosexuality is wrong not to compromise their own beliefs, the Scriptures, the church of God and the holiness of Christ. If they have already accepted the invitation (to Lambeth) they should repent and apologise.” The organisers of GAFCON insist that it is not an alternative to Lambeth. Russell Powell, the Archbishop’s Senior Media Advisor, pressed the point that the nature of GAFCON is very different to Lambeth. It will be held at a different time and will be made up of Bishops, clergy and laity. Bishops are free to go to both.
So is it a protest? “The organisers have never seen it as a protest. It is more positive than that”, Russell informed. Regardless of what the organisers have intended, GAFCON will be interpreted as both an alternative and a protest to Lambeth. Its inception coincides with Bishops, like those in Sydney, announcing that they won’t be going to Lambeth. Many Anglicans have decried