Archbishop of Canterbury in last-minute dash to Nairobi

Dr Justin Welby, left, accompanied by Dr Wabukala,  Archbishop of Kenya (centre-left), leaves All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi Sunday, after conducting a service.

Dr Justin Welby, left, accompanied by Dr Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya (centre-left), leaves All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi Sunday, after conducting a service.

Through the GAFCON movement, conservative Anglican provinces – mostly in parts of Africa but some in South and North America, Asia and the Middle East- have begun to function independently of the official Anglican Communion. GAFCON has condemned those who preach a “false gospel” which “claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony”.

Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop of Canterbury was unable to accept an invitation to attend GAFCON 2013 because of his longstanding trip to Iceland and because he would be baptising Prince George at St James’s Palace on Wednesday. GAFCON leaders have said the archbishop’s predecessor, Dr Rowan Williams, was not forthright enough in condemning the appointment of gay bishops.

The Archbishop of Kenya told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme that Archbishop Welby was “new to us and to the communion”. “I think he is interested in connecting with the activities of the communion and the GAFCON movement is part of those very significant activities that he will not miss,” he added. “I think it’s significant that he has recognised that fact,” he added. “We hope things may not work the way they worked last time. He has been to various parts in in Africa. He has been to Kenya before. I think he has the experience to learn and also to be able to connect.”

In March, Dr Welby acknowledged that some gay couples have loving, stable and monogamous relationships of “stunning” quality. He told BBC News he had “particular friends where I recognise that and am deeply challenged by it”. But he said he still supported the Church of England’s formal opposition to active homosexuality.

BBC

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