GAFCON Leadership Meets Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem
More than 100 leaders of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) joined Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem Suheil Salman Dawani in a prayer service at St. George’s Cathedral on June 22.
Bishop Dawani, who attended the service with Episcopal Church Bishop Robert O’Neil at his side, has been critical of GAFCON since the event was announced in December, 2007. Bishop O’Neil is present in Jerusalem as the representative of the US Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Despite Bishop Dawani’s public disagreement with the conference, GAFCON organizers believed that it was important for them to pray with him and hear from him as the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem.
“We care deeply about the welfare of Christians in the Holy Land and take our relationships within the Anglican Communion very seriously. The least we could do was come to Saint George’s Cathedral to pray together as we begin our pilgrimage,” said Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney.
Bishop Dawani used his welcome message to challenge GAFCON leaders to listen to Holy Spirit’s leading in the decisions they make this week. “All Christians must come here first and foremost as pilgrims – and I note that you say your coming here to Jerusalem is a ‘pilgrimage.’ Pilgrims here do not bring decisions with them. They come here to seek prayerfully the decisions God wants them to make,” said Dawani.
“I pray that as you meet in this holy place, you will all be open, in real humility, to the Spirit’s guidance and that you will continue here in a spirit of peace, reconciliation and goodwill,” he continued.
Archbishop Peter Akinola, primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), responded to the welcome of Bishop Dalwani. “GAFCON is in no way a threat to you. We want to be your allies. We want to be a blessing to you… to join with you in carrying out God’s working in this part of the world,” he said.
Papal Nuncio of Jerusalem also welcomed GAFCON pilgrims. “I wish you dearly a beautiful experience. I wish you a spiritual renewal. May the Lord guide you,” he said.