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Anglican group say Archbishop Justin Welby will be denied recognition unless 'he repents'

by Heather Preston

The chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference, GAFCON, has used his presidential address at their latest meeting to repeat calls for the Archbishop of Canterbury to repent.

Speaking in Kigali in Rwanda last night at the group's fourth gathering, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America said:

"Sadly, with broken hearts, we must say that unless the Archbishop of Canterbury repents, we can no longer recognise him as the 'first among equals' and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion."

The archbishop used his address to reference the decision of the Church of England to approve proposals to bless same sex unions in a vote earlier this year of the General Synod.

Archbishop Beach described the Kigali meeting of over 1,300 people from across 53 nations as potentially “one of the most important church gatherings in our time.”

He also called on the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church in Wales, the Episcopal Church of Brazil, the Anglican Church of New Zealand, the Church of Australia, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Episcopal Church of the USA to also repent and “return to the teachings of Holy Scripture.”

“It is time for the whole Anglican establishment to be reformed,” he said.

“Why does the secular government of only one of the nations represented in the Anglican Communion still get to pick the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion? This makes no sense in today’s post-colonial world.”

Archbishop Beach emphasised the importance of believers addressing sin - whether  'personal, provincial or church sin' - and called on the Anglican Church to prioritise 'repentance, revival and renewal, moving forward', stating that the Church "cannot be reconciled to God without repentance".

In response, Lambeth Palace has directed Premier to a previous statement it released when the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches said it will no longer recognise him as the leader of the global communion.

It reads: “At last week’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Ghana, there was widespread support for working together patiently and constructively to review the Instruments of Communion, so that our differences and disagreements can be held together in unity and fellowship. The Archbishop is in regular contact with his fellow Primates and looks forward to discussing this and other matters with them over the coming period.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury commented last week at the ACC in Ghana that these structures are always able to change with the times.

"We note the statement issued today by some Anglican Primates and we fully appreciate their position. As was reaffirmed in multiple discussions at the ACC in Ghana however, no changes to the formal structures of the Anglican Communion can be made unless they are agreed upon by the Instruments of Communion.

"The deep disagreements that exist across the Anglican Communion on sexuality and marriage are not new. The 42 member Churches of the Anglican Communion are independent and autonomous, but at the same time interdependent. It is a fundamental principle of the Anglican Communion that no province can bind another province, and no Instrument of Communion has any jurisdictional authority over any province.

"In a world of conflict, suffering and uncertainty, we must remember that more unites us than divides us. Despite our differences, we must find ways to continue walking and working together as followers of Jesus Christ to serve those in need. It was clear at this week’s global Anglican gathering in Accra that many Anglicans share this view. It remains the Archbishop’s prayer and his call to Anglicans around the Communion.”



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