GAFCON­makes fewer rip­ples

The Church of England - - COMMENT -

The Global Angli­can Fu­ture Con­fer­ence, oth­er­wise known as GAF­CON, has come and gone with­out mak­ing the blin­d­est bit of dif­fer­ence to the av­er­age Angli­can.

I have be­come much less con­fi­dent in the abil­ity of all th­ese pro­lif­er­at­ing acronyms and move­ments to do any­thing to steady the course of the Angli­can Com­mu­nion, mainly be­cause it seems to me that it is al­ready bro­ken and frag­mented. The last thing we now need is fur­ther pro­lif­er­a­tion and where I agree with GAF­CON is that this must be based on or­tho­doxy rather than het­ero­doxy.

I be­lieve that the GAF­CON ap­proach is un­der­min­ing the small mea­sure of unity that re­mains in the Angli­can Com­mu­nion rather than en­hanc­ing it.

Fur­ther­more, the move­ment is hin­der­ing the min­istry of the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, who I firmly be­lieve, has to be given a chance to play his part in restor­ing the health of the Com­mu­nion. The GAF­CON ap­proach is overly judge­men­tal and there­fore hyp­o­crit­i­cal.

There is much crit­i­cism of de­vel­op­ments in west­ern democ­ra­cies such as ‘gay mar­riage’ but si­lence about the rep­re­hen­si­ble and re­newed breaching of the rights of sex­ual mi­nori­ties in parts of the Mid­dle East and Africa.

While I wholly share its view on gay mar­riage, it is ut­terly in­de­fen­si­ble for a move­ment like this to tol­er­ate crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion and vic­tim­i­sa­tion of ho­mo­sex­u­als – some­thing that thank­fully we, in the UK, left be­hind with Wolfenden in the 1960s.

Sadly, some of the Pri­mates of GAF­CON have sup­ported new laws mak­ing the life of ho­mo­sex­u­als in coun­tries like Nige­ria and Uganda ab­so­lutely in­tol­er­a­ble and danger­ous.

Just as I be­lieve we must sup­port per­se­cuted Chris­tians so we must stand along­side all those who face op­pres­sion. That in­cludes those who we may some­times dis­agree with.

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