The GSFA (the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches) convened a meeting in Cairo for orthodox leaders across the Communion , 17th-19th October 2023, to fulfil the commitment made in the Ash Wednesday statement[i] that ‘with the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury forfeiting their leadership role of the global Communion, GSFA Primates will expeditiously meet, consult and work with other orthodox Primates in the Anglican Church across the nations to re-set the Communion on its biblical foundation.’ Fourteen Primates participated (one retired) and ten other Anglican orthodox leaders joined as observers.[ii]
The assembled Primates committed to setting two priorities:
- ‘to take the gospel out urgently’ recognising the roots of the global Communion in the faithful and costly proclamation of the gospel;
- ‘to work on re-setting the Communion according to its biblical and historical roots. We all know and lament that our Communion has entered into a deep darkness of rebellion to the truth of God’s word.’
The Primates agreed to work together to ‘firewall’ the spread of false teaching and give fresh hope and a strong identity to orthodox Anglicans throughout our historic communion and affirmed the GSFA Covenantal Structure as a locus of structural unity for the orthodox of the whole Communion.
Recognising that this latest phase of the crisis in our Communion focuses on the Church of England, the Primates assured the orthodox there that ‘We will stand with orthodox Anglicans in England both now and going forward’.
Meeting in Egypt which borders both Israel and Gaza, the Primates were deeply distressed by the latest and unprecedented outbreak of violence, including the destruction of an Anglican Hospital in Gaza. They recognised ‘the immense suffering of the bereaved, the homeless, the hostages, and the refugees’ and called for a ceasefire and serious dialogue to find a just peace. The gathering was also very aware of the reality of violence and persecution in other parts of the world, warning that ‘we are deeply concerned that if the Church of England presses ahead with the proposed changes, this will increase persecution of Christians in many parts of the Global South.’
There were two other very significant developments:
- We are thankful to the province of Alexandria for accommodating the new GSFA office in the All Saints’ Cathedral complex in Cairo which was formally opened and dedicated by the GSFA Chairman, Archbishop Justin Badi, in a joyful ceremony on the morning of 20thOctober.
- In addition to pursuing Mission partnerships and Economic Empowerment as our relational commitments, it was announced that GSFA will launch the training of new bishops as a strategic commitment to equipping and encouraging godly bishops who will be faithful guardians of the flock and zealous in the proclamation of the gospel.
GSFA was very encouraged that the Anglican orthodox leaders who met in Cairo concluded their meeting by agreeing ‘To meet annually as ‘Anglican Orthodox Leaders’ to continue this link to one another, to be refreshed by Spirit-filled fellowship, to take counsel together on Communion matters, and to collaborate on mission and ministry
[i] https://www.thegsfa.org/news/ash-wednesday-statement-of-gsfa-primates-on-the-church-of-englands-decision-regarding-the-blessing-of-same-sex-unions as also acknowledged in the Gafcon Kigali Statement of April 2023 https://www.gafcon.org/news/gafcon-iv-the-kigali-commitment
[ii] The Participating Primates included:
Archbishop Justin Badi (South Sudan)
Archbishop Tito Zavala (Chile)
Archbishop Titre Ande (Congo)
Archbishop James Wong (Indian Ocean)
Archbishop Stephen Than (Myanmar)
Archbishop Foley Beach (Anglican Church of North America)
Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba (Uganda)
Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo (Sudan)
Archbishop Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti (Anglican Church in Brazil)
Archbishop Samy Shehata (Alexandria)
Archbishop Albert Chama (Province of Central Africa)
Archbishop Henry Ndukuba (Nigeria)
Archbishop Laurant Mbanda (Rwanda)
together with Archbishop Emeritus Mouneer Anis.
The following were present as 0bservers:
Moderator Azad Marshall (Pakistan)
Revd Canon John Dunnett (Church of England Evangelical Council)
Bishop Malcolm Richards (Diocese of Sydney)
Bishop Fraser Lawton (Communion partners, USA)
Revd Nicky Gumbel (Alliance, UK)
Revd Richard Moy (Sharing of Ministries Abroad, UK)
Revd Canon Charles Raven (The Relay Trust)
Mr. Stewart Wicker (SAMS, USA),
Bishop Tim Davis (Anglican Mission in England
Revd Philip de-Gray Warter (Anglican Convocation in Europe)