What might it mean for your church if your vicar has signed the Jerusalem Declaration today? Don't ask me, sorry, I don't really know the full implications.
JERUSALEM: ANGLICAN COMMUNION FACES SPLIT
North American Province Will Become a Reality
By David W. Virtue in Jerusalem
June 28, 2008
Believing that God has called them to a "new work", Primates at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) announced tonight that they have launched a movement of Confessing Anglicans that will, in effect, be a rival Anglican Communion.
The new global Anglican fellowship will act, for a time, within the present organization, but many see fragmenting synodical boundaries of the Church of England.
[It] poses a direct challenge to the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams... Most of the Anglican bishops here will not attend Lambeth.
The action taken by these mostly Evangelical Anglicans is the most devastating blow to the unity of the Anglican Communion in the West since the 16th Century Protestant Reformation.
The GAFCON theological leaders laid out a 14-point statement of theological orthodoxy which includes, among other things, affirming the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God, upholding the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as espressions of the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. They uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God's Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
The conveners say they want a "federation of provinces" which Dr. Rowan Williams has repeatedly resisted. He has staked his job on trying to keep the worldwide Communion together. Some believe his job might now be in jeopardy, as he has singularly failed to do this.
It is unclear what the legal implications will be in England, where the Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church. In the U.S. and Canada, where parishes are fleeing The Episcopal Church, millions of dollars are being spent on litigation to keep properties in TEC. Most must close, once the parishioners have fled. Many have simply left their properties. Others are fighting to keep them.
It is expected that the new fellowship will include those churches that have separated from TEC since 1977 over such issues as Women's Ordination and other doctrinal matters.
One report from the "London Times" says that more than 600 Church of England clergy, representing almost as many parishes, are expected to swear allegiance to the new body when they meet on Tuesday at All Souls, Langham Place, which is regarded as Britain's evangelical flagship.
The key players in this new fellowship include the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali; the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables; the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi; the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen; and the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi, who led the committee drawing up the final communique in Jerusalem. Archbishop Venables says he will be at the Lambeth Conference.
The fellowship will draw up its own Book of Common Prayer,using the original formularies as outlined by Thomas Cranmer, and incorporated into the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.