Bishop Mbanda, colleagues confirm deliberate absence at Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting

By Esther Muhozi
On 7 May 2024 at 03:49

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), led by Bishop Laurent Mbanda, confirmed that their absence from the recent Anglican Communion meeting was a deliberate decision, emphasizing careful consideration behind their non-participation.

The Anglican Communion, which convenes senior Anglican church leaders worldwide every two years, held this year’s meeting in Rome, Italy. Traditionally, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby—representing the Church of England’s headquarters—invited all Anglican churches, including those from GAFCON.

This meeting aimed to discuss various topics concerning the unity of the communion, including a special dialogue with Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church worldwide.

However, GAFCON’s attendance was compromised due to divergences in biblical interpretations and practices, particularly concerning LGBTQ+ issues, among its member churches and those of the Church of England and other similar churches.

During the event in Rome, Pope Francis advised the bishops to openly discuss their differences to resolve them. He emphasized mutual respect and cooperation, aiming to strengthen Christian values based on unity and peace.

Despite these discussions, GAFCON, under the signature of its leader, Archbishop Laurent Mbanda of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, stated that the majority of its church leaders did not attend. Notably, leaders from 12 of the churches did not participate, representing 30 out of the 42 recognized churches within the communion.

Significantly, representatives from major Anglican churches in Nigeria, Uganda, and South Sudan were absent, indicating that those who attended represented only about 30% of Anglicans worldwide.

The statement highlighted that the non-attendance was not accidental but intentional, particularly from GAFCON and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA). This decision aligns with resolutions from a recent GAFCON meeting in Rwanda, where they resolved to distance themselves from Canterbury and other churches that do not adhere to their biblical interpretations.

The split has been growing over the past 25 years, with increasing deviations from biblical teachings despite numerous warnings and attempts to address these issues.

GAFCON acknowledges that while God desires unity among those who worship Him, this unity should not compromise biblical integrity, as evident in various biblical scriptures.

Although the meeting addressed numerous issues aimed at reforming the communion, GAFCON believes that these discussions are insufficient to resolve the ongoing divisions. They suggest that the solution lies in changes to teaching and belief practices in religion. Churches that deviate from biblical teachings should repent and return to foundational principles, as repentance is key to reconciliation and unity.

The recent meeting that brought together the GAFCON member churches in Rwanda concluded that these churches have dissociated themselves from the Anglican Church of England and others that continue to deliberately disregard the teachings of the Bible.