Lambeth 2022, GSFA and Gafcon
The publication of the discussion study guide for the Lambeth Conference generated much more heat in the lead up to the meeting than the organisers would have wanted! The deliberations of the bishops are based around ten areas of life and ministry. Conservatives (see here for an example) have felt that much of the content is too broad and not focussed enough on the specific Christian ministries of the church, while those arguing for a ‘progressive’ approach (eg here) have expressed anger at lack of progress in full acceptance of the LGBT agenda.
The aim of the conference leaders is to enable participants to vote on whether to endorse a “call”, which would indicate the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole on these issues. As this process is ongoing now, please pray that those attending (for example, representatives from the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans) who are committed to an orthodox, bible-based perspective would be encouraged by fellowship with like-minded bishops and wives from around the world, and that following the Conference a realistic and Christ-honouring way forward for the future of the Communion would be found.
Why GSFA and Gafcon?
Meanwhile preparations continue for the Gafcon IV conference in Kigali in April 2023. Invitations are being sent out in groups from the central global Gafcon office. Please pray that all who wish to attend would raise the necessary resources. If you would like to go and have not received an invitation, or if you are able to provide financial support for a delegate, please email here to indicate your interest.
Gafcon is not attempting to set up a rival Anglican Communion. It represents the viewpoint that“contending for the faith” will sometimes involve leaving the discussion table if there is danger of being manipulated into compromise. And also, when faithful Anglicans have felt marginalised and unwelcome in the Canterbury-aligned structures because of their orthodox beliefs, Gafcon has provided a means by which they can be recognised and authenticated in a new Anglican structure. It is important that GSFA and Gafcon continue to work together in close fellowship as they express the twin strategies of more engagement/less engagement with the liberal Western leadership of the Communion.
Other news and comment:
The Anglican Network in Europe, authorised by Gafcon, continues to expand. Immanuel Church, a small international fellowship based in Mönchengladbach, Germany joined the ACE convocation as a new ministry unit in May 2022. Watch an introductory video from minister Marc Jankowski here.
The Church of England Evangelical Council report in their newsletter (subscribe here if interested) that Diocesan Evangelical Fellowships are expressing concern about potential changes to the Church of England’s policies on sexuality and marriage being harmful to evangelical ministry. They are also “dismayed” by enforced amalgamation of parishes which do not share the same theological convictions, and are considering options regarding “structural differentiation” in the future.
UK new Prime Minister election
Let’s join in prayer for the United Kingdom, asking that the team taking over after the appointment of the new Prime Minister in September would look beyond narrow partisan concerns and debates about economic policy, to offer some kind of moral vision. Can the church be an influence in and through government? Will the government prioritise maintaining freedom to proclaim the bible’s teaching in and outside church?
Faith-based cleansing in northern and central Nigeria
Hassan John, who has worked for many years in the area, offers a devastating assessment in an interview from the Church of England Newspaper, reproduced in full by permission here. He says:
The Fulani militia groups have now killed more people than Boko Haram. They are currently the deadliest terrorist group in the world and yet [the British government] are not raising eyebrows….this is a sophisticated militia group with an agenda driven by an ideology which is wiping out communities….We are now experiencing a failed state….the defining factor will be the Lord’s intervention to get us moving forward or else we will degenerate into a massive crisis that will split the country.
‘God’s church for God’s world’
has been published by IVP as a resource to help people think about what constitutes faithful Anglicanism in the context of the Lambeth Conference and Living in Love and Faith. A series of essays by different authors cover surveys of the recent conflicts in the Anglican Communion, as well as personal journeys of faith and ministry. Most of the authors have remained in the Canterbury-aligned structures, but the final chapters contain reflections from those who have joined other Anglican jurisdictions.
.... final reflection:
Circumcision, incarnation, crucifixion, Pentecost, baptism, marriage, celibacy, martyrdom, and resurrection are all one story: one person says to another person: “this is my body, given for you”. This re-telling of the Bible puts the lie to an article of secular faith, which is: “My body is my own.”