His bleat, “I am the focus of unity” fell on deaf ears as one resolution after another failed to pass. The Africans refused to cave, neither would the progressives led by the Episcopal Bishop of Oklahoma, Edward J. Konieczny.
Welby left empty-handed, crying that he felt the pain of a handful of homosexuals more than he cared about the persecution of African Christians, now the single most persecuted group in the world according to an interim report prepared for the British government.
Welby apparently didn’t get it when one African bishop offered up that a push for homosexuality would bring down the wrath of Muslims in Africa on Christians. This was a plea that apparently left Welby completely unmoved.
Another African bishop actually mentioned GAFCON by name, which must have infuriated Welby.
GAFCON primates meeting in Australia, who speak for 50 of the Anglican Communion’s 70 million Anglicans wrote to Welby demanding a response to a request to restore godly order in the Communion. They asked him to use his power and responsibility to effect necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility. They never got a response and never will.
Welby despises them and they, in turn, refuse to acknowledge his leadership because of his failure to discipline a number of progressive provinces over unbiblical sexual positions, contrary to Lambeth resolution 1:10, to scripture, tradition and history.
Slapping GAFCON down as a “ginger group” was as much an insult as inviting Archbishop and Primate Foley Beach to attend Lambeth as an “ecumenical observer.” This signaled that Welby did not think Beach was even an Anglican!
Archbishop Beach, naturally incensed, fired back that he is an Anglican and how dare Welby suggest otherwise.
Events reached fever pitch this week. GAFCON retaliated saying they would hold their own conference a month before Lambeth. GAFCON in Rwanda invited every bishop who could sign the Jerusalem Declaration to come. It will be interesting to see who shows up.
It must have been a massive kick in the groin to Welby and his consigliere, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary-General of the ACC, who has repeatedly railed at GAFCON for forming networks separate from the ACC. But what did Welby think would happen?
This was not a knee jerk reaction; it was a carefully thought out strategy by The GAFCON primates led by the feisty Foley Beach and his counsel of advisors.
Americans don’t take kindly to being whacked by a toffee-nosed English Archbishop whose own province can barely muster 770,000 Anglicans on any given Sunday, and this in a population of 66 million! The Church of England is barely much bigger in average Sunday attendance than the American Episcopal Church.
By any reckoning, Welby has lost the plot. He is out of touch with the vast majority of Anglicans in the Communion who no longer respect him or his leadership and won’t be seen at the same conference with him. His day is done.
The only honorable thing Welby can do is resign and make way for an authentic, gospel driven archbishop, someone like the former Bishop of Rochester, The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali, who should have gotten the job in the first place.