Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
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The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) is a global network of conservative Anglican churches which formed in 2008 in response to what it claimed was an ongoing theological crisis in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Conservative Anglicans met in 2008 at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), creating the Jerusalem Declaration and establishing the FCA.
The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) was held near Jerusalem in June 2008 at the initiative of theologically conservative African, Asian, Australian, South American, North American and European Anglican leaders who opposed the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions by member churches of the Anglican Communion. The meeting came as the culmination of a series of controversies in the Anglican Communion which began in 2003 when the openly non-celibate gay bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated by The Episcopal Church in the USA. GAFCON was organised as a conservative alternative to the 2008 Lambeth Conference which was boycotted by many traditionalists.
The conference's statement, the Jerusalem Declaration, recognises the Archbishop of Canterbury for his historic role in the Anglican Church but denies that his recognition is the cornerstone of Anglican identity. The declaration also called for the formation of "A Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans".
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans aims to extend the goals of GAFCON into a movement, to "preach the biblical gospel ... all over the world" and "provide aid to ... faithful Anglicans" disaffected from their original churches.
FCA recognizes the Jerusalem Declaration, written at the 2008 GAFCON meeting, as a "contemporary rule".
The FCA is administered by a "Primates' Council" originally consisting of Primates from the large African provinces of the Anglican Communion.
- The FCA was instrumental in the formation of the Anglican Church in North America in 2008-09. The ACNA was formed as an alternative church structure for those disaffected by the official Anglican structures in the USA and Canada.
- The FCA was launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 6 July 2009, drawing together some but not all conservative Anglicans in the Church of England and other parts of the British Isles. The Free Church of England is also represented on the Steering Group.
- The FCA was launched in South Africa on 3 September 2009 by the initiative of Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, of the Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth. It incorporates Anglicans from three denominations: the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Church of England in South Africa and the Traditional Anglican Communion. At the launch of the FCA South Africa, Canon Dr Vinay Samuel of India told participants:
- “Can you bring the biblical resources of faith to shape the heart of South Africa’s agenda. Will its agenda be shaped by simply an ideology of rights and use the iconic status of leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela to silence any other view? That is not a great gift to the world from South Africa. You will draw on the best of South Africa’s journey of social transformation. But you are called to the prophetic stance of the obedient disciple, rather than the stance of political people who have become messianic with the new universal of human rights which is now being imposed, claiming that these rights are self-evident –and if the Bible teaches anything different it is to be rejected. They own the Bible, and claim the Holy Spirit, for the service of this ideology. That is based on power, not on obedience.”
- The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America, which covers much of South America, is a key constituent of the FCA movement.
- The Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia played an important role in forming the FCA and its Archbishop Peter Jensen is the FCA's secretary.
In May 2010 the Bishop of Sherborne, Graham Kings, appeared on a radio show with Chris Sugden of "Anglican Mainstream". Later, in an internet forum, Kings wrote: "the chair of the GAFCON Primates' Council is now English: Greg Venables; the secretary is Australian: Peter Jensen; the key theologian is American: Stephen Noll; and the unofficial media secretary is English: Chris Sugden. So much for the end of neo-colonialism..."
- "Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans launched in South Africa" (Press release). Gafcon. September 3, 2009.
- "Sydney Synod endorses Jerusalem Declaration" (Press release). Anglican Diocese of Sydney. October 20, 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
- Kings, Bishop Graham (2010-05-23). "Fulcrum forum". Retrieved 2010-05-23. "He used the word GAFCON rather than the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which has not really caught on in media terms and did not mention that the chair of the GAFCON Primates' Council is now English, Greg Venables, the secretary is Australian, Peter Jensen, the key theologian is American, Stephen Noll, and the unofficial media secretary is English, Chris Sugden."
- Official website
- The Jerusalem Declaration
- Constructing the boundaries of Anglican orthodoxy: An analysis of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) an article from the journal Religion on GAFCON and the evolution of FCA