Lambeth 2020, the once in a decade gathering of the Anglican Communion, will show the division between Anglicans worldwide.

The Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) announced in a statement after a meeting of representatives in Sidney (Australia) that a large number of Anglican leaders from Global South countries will not attend the gathering organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The reason is the invitation to Lambeth 2020 of partnered gay bishops from Anglican provinces which openly support LGBT practices.

“As it currently stands”, a statement issued by the Gafcon Primates Council says, the Lambeth 2020 conference is to “include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation”.

The group also announced they were calling together “a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion in June of 2020” in Kigali (Rwanda), which has not been organised to “rival Lambeth 2020” but will still “be primarily designed for those who will not be attending Lambeth, but all bishops of the Anglican Communion who subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration”, the statement added.   

The ongoing debate about marriage, human identity and LGBT issues has led to a larger debate about Christian doctrine and the authority of the Bible in the different Anglican Provinces around the world.

The Chair of Gafcon, Primate of All Nigeria Nicholas Okoh already mentioned in September 2018 the possibility of “a structural separation which acknowledges the reality of irreconcilable differences about the nature of the Bible and the gospel”, which should be “peaceful”.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, acknowledged the crisis but asked to make efforts to remain united. “The beauty of the Communion, in service, is that it breaks down the barriers that divide us”, he said, “and brings us together to find common solutions”.   

Gafcon is “a global family” of Anglicans “standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion”. Its activities started in 2008, when “moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth”.

Members of the United Sates Anglican Episcopal Church, which supports LGBT relationships anbd has ordained LGBT priests, protested against the decision to not invite same-sex partners to Lambeth 2020. 

“The spouse community understands that the Anglican Communion is not of one mind with regard to marriage, and that, in the life of the communion, this is a complex issue” the Bishop’s Spuses Planning Group of the US Anglican church said, according to Christian Post. “Exclusion of same-gender spouses, however, seems like a simplistic reaction to this complex issue”, they added. “It saddens us that all are not welcome to walk, listen, and witness with us, and that all voices will not be heard at this gathering”.

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Date published: 19/05/2019
Written by: Evangelical Focus 
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