The fourth Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) will tonight open in Kigali, Rwanda to decide the future of the church under the theme: To whom shall we go?
The conference to be opened officially by the Prime Minister of Rwanda will bring together over 1,300 bishops, clergy and lay people from across the world to celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ, and to consider the future of the Anglican Communion.
The meeting is expected to explore a new framework of leadership (to break away or stay) in response to the Church of England’s recent move to let its clergy bless same-sex marriages.
The decision around the blessing of same sex marriages was made at the Church of England’s General Synod in February, provoking bishops representing a majority of the world’s Anglicans to threaten a break with the mother church of their communion.
Opposing churches say that this is against the Resolution 1.10, adopted at Lambeth 1998, that considers marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The conference is expected to seek the endorsement of resolution 1.10 from bishops, of which some have already expressed their stand following the February Synod decision.
For instance, Archbishop Justin Badi, primate of South Sudan and Chair of Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) has stated the Communion has to be governed by biblical authority.
Bishops from Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria have also expressed their disagreement with the move by the Church of England to vote in favour of priests blessing same-sex unions, saying that it disgraces the biblical teachings.
The Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in Rwanda, Dr. Laurent Mbanda said that the decision which was passed was the ‘final nail in the coffin in the already divided legacy of the church’.
“The Anglican Church of Rwanda is deeply saddened by the decision of the Church of England to bless same-sex unions. Our stand had already brought an impaired relationship with the Church of England, whose current move drives the last nail into the coffin,” Mbanda said in an early statement.
With about 85 million adherents, the Anglican Communion is the third-largest body of Christians worldwide and exists in 165 countries.