Saturday, 17 May 2008

Episcopal Life Online: GAFCON announces more than 1,000 to join Jerusalem pilgrimage

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), largely viewed as a rival to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, has announced that more than 1,000 conservative Church leaders from 17 Anglican provinces have registered for the Jerusalem pilgrimage.

While GAFCON reports that participants at the June 22-29 pilgrimage include 280 bishops, "final attendance figures will depend on smooth processing of requested visas, and other factors," a recent news release said. The conference is also expected to draw several former Episcopal priests, some of whom are currently engaged in litigation concerning Episcopal Church property.

"I wish to again stress that the Holy City is always an open city for all pilgrims coming to our diocese to join with us in our servanthood and witness," said Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani in a May 16 statement emailed to ENS. "Pilgrims are always warmly welcomed by our diocesan family when coming in a spirit of mutuality in devotion, reconciliation and goodwill that strengthens both the fabric of unity in the larger Church and the interreligious communal collegiality among the three Abrahamic faiths that make Jerusalem their spiritual home."

The conference has come under fire from local Church leaders including Dawani, who was concerned that GAFCON would "import inter-Anglican conflict" into his diocese and called for the conference to be moved.

After meeting with Dawani and hearing his concerns, GAFCON's organizers moved the consultation portion of the conference to Jordan June 18-22 to be followed by a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jordan is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

GAFCON organizers have said the Jordan consultation "will include the conference leadership, theological resource group, those bishops serving in majority Islamic settings and other key leaders" whereas the Jerusalem pilgrimage "will focus on worship, prayer, discussions and Bible Study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land." Read more
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