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Gafcon's breakaway diocese plan slammed by Primate

Gafcon Australia has formally begun planning a breakaway diocese outside the Anglican Church of Australia

By Stephen Cauchi

Gafcon Australia has formally begun planning a breakaway diocese outside the Anglican Church of Australia, a move that has drawn a sharp rebuke from the Anglican Primate, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith of Adelaide.

 

Gafcon Australia made the move after the Anglican Church’s highest court, the Appellate Tribunal, last November gave legal approval to blessing services for civil same-sex marriages.

 

A statement by Gafcon Australia on 19 July said its plan was to support Anglicans who leave the Anglican Church of Australia “over doctrinal revision which overturns the plain teaching of Scripture”.

 

The Chair of Gafcon Australia, Bishop Richard Condie of Tasmania, pledged the formation of the new entity at a Gafcon online meeting that day.

 

But Archbishop Smith condemned Gafcon’s announcement.

 

“I am very disappointed that the board of Gafcon Australia has seen fit to take the action it has,” he said on 21 July.

 

“This action seems to make any further conversation very difficult. Clearly for Gafcon, it is ‘My way or the highway’.”

 

Bishop Condie, a former Archdeacon of Melbourne and Vicar of St Jude’s Carlton, said during the online meeting that the new church entity would be formed through a company structure, led by a small board of directors.

 

At a later date, these churches would become a diocese, establishing a synod to elect a bishop and standing committee.

 

“It grieves the Gafcon movement that these measures are necessary but the support of faithful Anglicans has been the objective of Gafcon Australia since its beginning,” Bishop Condie said.

 

“With great sadness and regret, we realise that many faithful Anglican clergy and lay people will no longer be able to remain as members of the Anglican Church of Australia if changes allowed by the Appellate Tribunal majority opinion take place in their dioceses.

 

 “We love these people and don’t want them to be lost to the Anglican fold.”

 

 

  • Read the full story in August’s TMA, available to subscribers from later this week and in churches on Sunday 1 August.