Gafcon – real fellowship
The idea of a multicultural Anglican movement for the gospel is good in theory, but in practice long distances, cultural differences, lack of face to face meeting because of the pandemic, focus on important local issues can lead to a strain in fellowship and creeping lack of trust, even among godly leaders who agree on the fundamentals of biblical truth. So it is very encouraging to read a recent letter from Archbishop Ben Kwashi promoting the idea of intentional building of good relationships:
“It is your Gafcon movement’s vision to see the leaders of these provinces, the Primates, actively engage in cross-cultural connection – with the purpose of building one another up in biblical truth and wisdom to serve and encourage others. It is important that we as a church listen to and learn from each other, including exploring the possibilities of sharing resources, personnel, training, prayer support and mutual encouragement.”
Gafcon IV – Rwanda
The fourth global gathering of the Global Anglican Futures Conference will take place in Kigali, in April 2023.
Preparations are already underway for the conference programme (based on the theme “to whom shall we go?”), and for the convening of representatives of bible-based, orthodox Anglican faith from countries around the world.
Gafcon GBE is responsible for the delegation from Britain and continental Europe, which will include bishops, clergy and laity from different Anglican jurisdictions in our region, those aligned with Canterbury and others recognised as authentically Anglican by Gafcon. We want to make sure that a wide cross section of ages, church backgrounds and styles, different types of ministries, women and men are included, particularly some who have not yet experienced the wonderful vision-building multi-cultural fellowship that Gafcon offers.
Conference costs for delegates and other details will become clearer in the next few weeks. Churches will be encouraged to sponsor their minister or other representative, and also to consider contributing to a central fund to allow someone from a more economically disadvantaged nation to attend. Invitations will be sent out soon, based on lists of members and interested people which Gafcon GBE already has. If you would like to suggest the name of a delegate who is not already on the mailing list of Gafcon or Gafcon GBE, please let us know using firstname.lastname@example.org [please ask the person’s permission before sending us their email address].
Rwanda – and refugees
Rwanda has been in the news recently, as the UK government announced, during the Easter Parliamentary recess, a scheme to relocate those migrating to Britain using ‘unsafe and illegal’ routes, to the African country, for the processing of asylum claims. It is hoped that this will deter desperate refugees from attempting dangerous sea crossings, and break the business model of the traffickers. However, the announcement of the Rwanda scheme met with an immediate negative reaction from many, including church leaders who want the UK to show compassionate welcome to all in need, not sending them to a faraway place where we might have little control of their fate. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York used their Easter Sunday sermons to strongly criticise the government.
Familiar questions have come up: should church leaders focus on ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘political’ matters? Should the best opportunity in the year for the public declaration of the resurrection of Christ been used to comment in favour of one side in a complex and divisive political issue? Who are church leaders listening to, when they choose which important national issues to comment on, and when? How can we pray with more understanding for wise decisions in national and local government, and also take opportunities for reaching out practically and with the gospel to refugees in our area?
Read more here
Criticism of the Archbishops, from ‘Cranmer’
Support for the Archbishops, from Tim Farron
Anglicans in Rwanda: read this brief summary on the Anglican Communion website.
And this summary of items for prayer for the church.
Josep Rosello Ferrer is a missionary bishop, originally from Spain who leads a church in Exmouth, Devon and ministers more widely in Europe. He sits on the Gafcon GBE Bishops’ Forum. With the support of his church, he has recently visited Ukrainian refugees in Hungary, and churches in Ukraine itself. He writes:
The first stage of the visit was to a local pastor who ministers in an independent evangelical church in Mukachevo that has over 400 members. The city has welcomed over 40,000 refugees from other part of Ukraine. After few hours in Mukachevo, we went to Uzhorod, near to the Slovakuian border. We visited a church that has become a refugee camp. The churches in Uzhorod do not give only a place to stay and food, they are also sharing the Bread of Life, the gospel of Christ with those in need.
There is an article in Christian Today about this visit: Helping Ukrainian refugees through the trauma and distress of war.
To find out more, please contact Bishop Josep through his church’s website, here.
Pastoral ministry in the UK
Being real and supporting one another in difficult times - The excellent ‘Pastor’s heart’ podcast features an interview with Matt Fuller on burnout and the need to be honest and vulnerable with one another.
A story of faithful ministry over the long haul – Stuart Bell who has recently retired from leading a church in Aberystwyth, and is part of a new congregation linked to the Anglican Network in Europe, explores principles of godly leadership in a new book.
“A wonderful blend of honest personal narrative, biblical reflection, quiet meditation and detailed practical insights, it offers an invaluable resource for anyone at any stage in Christian ministry.” – Elaine Storkey.