What follows is a statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, in response to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) statement issued in Jerusalem last weekend.
The Gospel of God in Christ is faithfully proclaimed by Canadian Anglicans today just as it has been by generations who have gone before us. I believe it is important to state this truth in response to the recent statement from the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, which suggests otherwise.
The GAFCON statement is based on a premise that there is “acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different gospel which is contrary to the apostolic gospel.” The statement specifically accuses Anglican churches in the Canada and the United States of proclaiming this “false gospel that has paralysed the Communion.” I challenge and repudiate this charge.
In my first year as Primate, I have visited many parishes across the country, attended synods and participated in gatherings of clergy and laity who care deeply for the church, its unity and witness. What I see is a faithful proclamation of the apostolic gospel in liturgy and loving service to those in need and in advocacy for justice and peace for all people.
The mission statement of the Anglican Church of Canada professes that we “value our heritage of biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods, and the rich variety of our life in community.” And we do. The Anglican Church of Canada also values its role in the worldwide Anglican Communion. We are committed to constructive dialogue on all issues facing our beloved church and the Communion, including the blessing of same-sex unions. We remain convinced that as contentious as this issue may be, it should not be a Communion-breaking issue. We have a deep and abiding commitment to the Windsor Report, and the Communion-wide conversations regarding a Covenant among the provinces.
We cherish our relationship with the See of Canterbury and honour our Archbishop as “first among equals” and as a vital instrument of communion. At his invitation, our bishops and their spouses will participate in the Lambeth Conference 2008. They go mindful of the Archbishop?s hope that through this conference, our relationships in Christ will be deepened and our capacity as leaders in mission will be strengthened.
I do not believe the Anglican Communion is paralyzed by a false gospel. While we recognize that our relationships are bruised and broken the gospel calls us to be reconciled, to pursue healing and to seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. It calls all those in leadership to use their authority “not to hurt but to heal, not to destroy but to build up” and “to unite the church in a holy fellowship of truth and love.”
As we continue to work our way through these times of tension in the Communion, I ask for the prayers of the church that we may be faithful to the gospel of Him in whom we are forever one.
Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate
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