Karin Sowada | 28 June 2008
Today, two momentous events occurred - one of significance to Sydney, and the other of great importance to global Anglicanism.
The first was Archbishop Peter Jensen suddenly bursting into song in front of 1148 GAFCONers. He was evidently moved by the example of Nigerian Bishop Michael Fape this morning, who sang three times during his sermon on Luke 24. In what must be a regular occurrence in African churches, everyone joined Bishop Fape in his musical exhortations. Then during his regular house-keeping announcements, our Archbishop suddenly threw off the shackles of purse-lipped Sydney Anglicanism and spontaneously led the ballroom in a rousing chorus. Let’s hope that this example follows Archbishop Jensen back to Sydney and generates a new form of episcopal ecclesiology.
The second was the release of the draft GAFCON communique late this morning to conference participants. While its content must remain confidential, it was received by all with great acclaim and rejoicing. Everyone stood and clapped loudly, many raised their hands praising God; an African bishop repeatedly leaped in the air, others held Bibles aloft and I even saw one Sydney bishop weeping with joy.
After lunch, we moved into a discussion group with the New Zealanders to provide feedback for Bishop Glenn Davies, who is on the statement working party. Good comments ensued and he will doubtless do his best to inject these into the communique before Sunday.
Ten years have led to this point. The GAFCON response to developments in the global Anglican communion is, I believe, carefully measured, humble, and yet strikes the correct note of a church no longer prepared to tolerate error. How the wider Communion reacts remains to be seen.