Gafcon: Archbishop of Canterbury can no longer be Anglican Communion's 'first among equals'

Archbishop Foley Beach, Chair of the Gafcon Primates Council.(Photo: Gafcon)

The leader of the orthodox Anglican Gafcon movement says that "the time has come" for the Archbishop of Canterbury "to step down from his role as 'first among equals' in leading the Anglican Communion".

The call comes after the Church of England voted on Thursday in favour of plans to introduce services of blessing for same-sex couples.

The plans were backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who said he was supporting them "because of Scripture, tradition and reason evidenced in the vast work done over the last six years so ably, by so many".

In an open letter, the Chair of the Gafcon Primates Council, Dr Foley Beach, accused Archbishop Welby of "shredding the last remaining fragile fabric of the Anglican Communion" and said he had "abrogated his fiduciary responsibility" by supporting the plans.

He said that the changes "attack the very core of biblical authority" and that the Church of England has now "authorized the blessing of sin and declared that sin is no longer sin". 

Calling on orthodox Primates to choose their own "first among equals", Dr Beach said that the decision would leave Gafcon and other Global South provinces in a state of impaired communion with the Church of England.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has abrogated his fiduciary responsibility and violated his consecration vows to 'banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word' with his advocating this change in the Church of England," he said.

"He is shredding the last remaining fragile fabric of the Anglican Communion.

"It is time for the Primate of All England to step down from his role as 'first among equals' in leading the Anglican Communion.

"It is now time for the Primates of the Anglican Communion to choose for themselves their 'first among equals' rather than having a secular government of only one nation appoint our leader. We are no longer colonies of Great Britain."