The third international conference organised by the Gafcon movement has begun in Jerusalem. Organisers say that 2,000 people are taking part – media reports suggest that 230 are from Uganda. The ecumenical gathering attracts a large number of Anglicans. Many in Jerusalem are now members of independent churches set up in opposition to official Anglican Churches and Provinces.
This week’s conference began last night with an evensong and reception. It was originally billed as taking place in the Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral; but was moved to St George’s Anglican Cathedral.
The event includes Bible studies, group work and plenary sessions. The list of speakers includes a number of Anglican Primates: Archbishop Laurent Mbanda from Rwanda, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali from Uganda and Archbishop Nicholas Okoh from Nigeria as well as Bishop Héctor Zavala from the Anglican Church of South America’s Diocese of Chile.
For many of the delegates, Gafcon is a renewal conference for Anglicans who seek to uphold conservative biblical conviction within the Anglican Communion. For others, it is a movement that seeks to supplant official Anglican structures. In an interview last week with the “Anglicans Unscripted” vlog, a member of the group writing the Gafcon conference statement, Stephen Noll, said that Gafcon was “the true continuation of the Lambeth Conferences” – even though the Lambeth Conferences are an invitation-only event for the bishops in the Anglican Communion. The next one will take place in Canterbury in July 2020.
The Anglican Communion News Service applied for media accreditation to cover the Gafcon conference, but organisers declined.
- This article was corrected on 19 June 2018. The original version mis-spelt the name of Stephen Noll.