The Global Anglican Future Conference opened on Sunday with a reflection on the history of the turmoil that has necessitated the meeting, and a call to rescue the church. Addressing 1,200 delegates from 29 countries in Jerusalem, GAFCON movement chairman, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, recalled the failure by the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Anglican church in Canada to adhere to agreed positions on Biblical teaching on human sexuality as being central to the discord.
Between the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and 2003, several dioceses in the US Episcopal Church continued with impunity to legitimise open same-sex unions. The election and proposed consecration of a man in an active homosexual relationship, Gene Robinson, in defiance of the Lambeth Resolution 1:10 inflicted a most devastating wound.
News Conference Audio
“Some people interpreted our response (to break communion with the Episcopal Church) as judgmental, but we had to stand up for our convictions based on the word of God (the Bible) and the faithful witness of a long succession of Anglicans, rather than fall for anything in the name of enlightened logic and the dictates of modern cultural trappings,” Akinola told the representatives of 35 million church-going Anglicans. The delegates include 300 bishops, 250 clergy and 200 non-ordained leaders.
Urging the preservation of an undiluted faith, he underscored the symbolic significance of holding the conference in Jerusalem, and the Holy Land, where Jesus Christ was born, lived, exercised ministry, died, and rose again.
Later at a news conference, Akinola expanded on his address, in particular the seven questions he had posed to delegates to answer by the end of the week. He said, “I don’t want the failures of the last five years, and the endless meetings to continue.
Akinola also emphasised that GAFCON is not going to break away from the Anglican Communion. “We have no other place to go, nor is it our intention to start another church.”