By Mark Michael
Archbishop Justin Badi Arama of South Sudan announced September 1 that the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans has opened a secretariat in Cairo and is convening a meeting of traditionalist Anglican leaders next month to plan for the body’s first assembly, which will convene in Cairo on June 11-13, 2024.
“Our calling is to fulfill in our generation the role of ‘the holy remnant’ in Scripture,” Badi wrote. “The holy remnant sought to be faithful to the Lord and his word when national Israel went astray and broke covenantal faithfulness with the God who established her. Likewise, we will maintain visual differentiation from those in our Communion whom we believe to have departed from the historic faith.”
The GSFA has existed as an informal fellowship of Anglican leaders since 1994, but was refounded as a covenantal fellowship in 2019, when it adopted a covenantal structure for its life, focused on a shared commitment to traditional teaching and practice, and a greater degree of mutual accountability. The June 2024 assembly will be the first formal gathering of the body’s members as a covenantal fellowship.
The group issued a series of statements during the 2022 Lambeth Conference, criticizing the decennial gathering’s failure to clearly endorse Lambeth Resolution I.10, which defines homosexual conduct as sinful and rejects same-sex unions. GSFA leaders urged bishops attending the conference to differentiate themselves from Western progressives by refraining from receiving the Eucharist.
In a statement issued last February, the GSFA said its bishops were “no longer able to recognize the present Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Hon. & Most Revd. Justin Welby, as the ‘first among equals’ leader of the global Communion” because of the Church of England’s decision to prepare liturgies for blessing same-sex unions.
Criticisms of the Church of England’s decisions are reiterated in the September letter, but the Archbishop of Canterbury is unmentioned. Badi registers the GSFA’s support for “orthodox groupings within the Church of England” that are beginning to organize themselves for collective differentiation from the church’s actions, while remaining clearly within it.
The GSFA primates will gather with other invited leaders who share their theological commitments on October 17-19 “to consult together on how we can shape our common life, as orthodox provinces, dioceses and networks, as a ‘re-set’ Communion, marked by reform and renewal.” This body will make specific plans for the June 2024 assembly.
Those gathering for the October meeting, Badi said, will also share in a service of dedication for the group’s new office in Cairo, which is staffed by Miranda Mounir, who was appointed as Cairo operations manager on August 1. Mounir leads a staff team of six that will make arrangements for the assembly.
The Cairo-based Province of Alexandria has long played a significant role in the GSFA. The province’s first primate, Archbishop Mouneer Anis, was a key leader in the GSFA for many years, and most of the group’s recent gatherings have been held there.
Badi’s letter also invites provinces, dioceses, and networks that share the GSFA’s commitments to apply for membership. Eleven provinces, he notes, have already become regular members. These are the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria; Church of Bangladesh; Anglican Church in Brazil; Iglesia Anglicana de Chile (Anglican Church of Chile); Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo (Province of the Anglican Church of Congo); Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma); Anglican Church in North America (ACNA); Church of the Province of South East Asia; Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan; Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan; and the Church of the Province of Uganda. Nine of these provinces are in communion with the See of Canterbury, but two (Anglican Church in Brazil and the ACNA) are not.
Associate membership, Badi said, is for dioceses and networks of traditionalist Anglicans within progressive provinces, while parachurch ministries can apply for mission partner status.