Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jordan: Pre-GAFCON consultation relocated

From David Virtue today (6/18):

In a surprise development, conveners of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) were told last night that a principal figure in the pre consultation in Jordan, Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola was not given a visa to Jordan, even though he holds a diplomatic passport, thus throwing the leaders of the consultation into dismay because of the important role he was to play at this assembly of orthodox Anglicans.

"The time in Jordan was very valuable for prayer, fellowship, and networking," said Peter Jensen, a chief GAFCON organizer. GAFCON speaker Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone was also not able to be in Jordan. Both, however, are expected to play significant roles at GAFCON in Jerusalem.

Leaders scrambled to find an alternative way forward allowing the inclusion of everyone expected to attend the consultation. As a result GAFCON leaders decided to move their consultation to Jerusalem and will leave on buses Thursday morning instead of Sunday as originally planned.

"We originally planned to do everything in Jerusalem, but logistical problems forced us to have the pre-consultation in Jordan," said the Rev. Dr. Arne Fjeldstad, GAFCON communications head.

"We will now have a more efficient and productive preparation for the conference in the land where Jesus was born."

The 100 participants left Jordan in high spirits many of whom made a moving visit to the baptismal sites at the Jordan and also visited Mt. Nebo where Moses looked into the Promised Land. Jordanians have undertaken major excavation and restoration at the Baptismal site which is to be the site of a church for each major Christian denomination with the full support of the Jordanian Government, this exhibiting a striking example of Christian ecumenical endeavor in a supportive Muslim country. . .

Read it all, and also Ruth Gledhill:
. . . Sources at the conference tell me that the Nigerian delegation landed in Tel Aviv and went to the northern crossing point. Archbishop Akinola was travelling on his diplomatic passport. After being questioned for four hours, he was turned back, although the rest of the Nigerian delegation was allowed in. He got his passport back, and apparently was told that they needed a particular clearance on a diplomatic passport which he did not possess.

Gregory Venables is not in Jordan because his wife is in hospital after complications following a hip operation. He is hoping to join Gafcon in Jerusalem.

So as they say, if Mohammed won't go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed. The entire Gafcon is moving to Jerusalem, where rooms have suddenly become available in hotels, because their leader Peter Akinola cannot come to them. . .

Read it all.

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