Newsletter - May 2021

  • New month, new name! Gafcon UK is now Gafcon Great Britain and Europe
  • Gafcon: mutual accountability. Disagreements between Gafcon regions over pastoral strategy to same sex attracted people while maintaining faithful biblical witness are being resolved.
  • Gafcon as a model for diversity and non-racism based on biblical principles: Bishop Michael Nazir Ali article
  • Anglican Network in Europe News
  • Europe - secular, but with pockets of faith? Article from Evangelical Focus
  • Church of England: Response to Living in Love and Faith by Martin Davie


New month, new name!

During their online meetings in late April, the Gafcon Primates recognized  the formation and commissioning of the Anglican Network in Europe, and agreed that the name of our branch would change to ‘Gafcon Great Britain and Europe’. This reflects the existence of Gafcon Ireland as a separate branch, and the need to develop Anglican mission on the continent of Europe.

The Gafcon leaders also discussed the serious threats to life and wellbeing facing many poorer countries in the world, now exacerbated by CoVid, but gave thanks for new initiatives in evangelism and church planting and theological education. They celebrated the improvement in health of Gafcon General Secretary Ben Kwashi. The whole Communique can be read here


Gafcon: mutual accountability

We give thanks for the example set by the elders of the Gafcon movement and their advisors, in demonstrating unity in the faith and in commitment to mission, despite difference See our editorial on this subject in RESOURCES).

In February, a major disagreement arose between the bishops of ACNA and Nigeria regarding pastoral strategy to same sex attracted people while maintaining clear witness to biblical truth. This led to a letter issued in Holy Week and signed by Archbishops Henry Ndukuba and Foley Beach stating once again agreement on key doctrines regarding sex, marriage and what it means to be human, and expressing commitment to working through the areas of disagreement, many of which are based on issues of language and local context. Let’s continue to pray for leaders from around the world studying together and giving godly guidance on this crucial issue.


Gafcon as a model for diversity and non-racism based on biblical principles

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has written an important article responding to the issue of racial prejudice, justice and unity , following a report alleging widespread racism in the Church of England. He says

“Today the Anglican Communion is a racially and culturally diverse family of 41 provinces bound together by a common faith. If the C of E was really interested in diversity, the report would recommend reflecting and representing these different cultures in its own structures…especially clergy and lay people outside the UK who are socially conservative and look with suspicion on anything too ‘woke’.”


Gafcon website: devotional reflections from the bible

Many have expressed appreciation for the powerful and moving expositions on passages from the Book of Revelation by Melvin Tinker from AMiE, published in April. The May devotions are written and read by Mrs Lorna Ashworth, a member of the Church of England and Trustee of Gafcon GBE. Give thanks that leaders from our region are being used to bring God’s word to encourage the global church just as they encourage us.


GB and Europe news

The Anglican Network in Europe was approved by Gafcon in December 2020 and was formally constituted and commissioned at an online service on April 19th, led by Bishop Andy Lines with Archbishop Foley Beach as the preacher. Music was provided by the Glasgow-based New Scottish Hymns Band, and there were many messages of support from around the world, including, movingly, from Stephen Than, Archbishop of Myanmar. The service can be watched here


Europe - secular, but with pockets of faith?

According to a recent report from Germany, church attendance continues to rapidly decline, especially in the historic denominations (newer independent churches seem to be remaining stable). However, while less than 10% go to church, more than 50% of young people believe in God, and at least 25% believe that Jesus died and rose again. This trend may be similar in a number of European countries. As we pray for gospel outreach, these statistics help us to be realistic about the serious spiritual darkness that secularism has brought, but also we can be encouraged that the church is not starting from scratch in Europe.


We join in prayer with sisters and brother in Gafcon Ireland as they seek to bear witness to the saving gospel of Christ in the increasingly secularised Republic, and in Northern Ireland where political tensions have returned, and where majority conservative views on abortion, sexuality and marriage are being brushed aside by UK government.


Martin Davie has written an excellent brief guide to Living in Love and Faith, showing how it attempts to include contradictory viewpoints in the Church’s teaching, and urging the church to return to its historic roots. The foreword is written by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali.


We give thanks for the many Diocesan Evangelical Fellowships in the Church of England which have been raising up biblically orthodox candidates for General Synod, and hosting series of teachings to promote the orthodox biblical view of sexuality and marriage, supported by Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) and Evangelical Group on General Synod (EGGS).

CEEC was started by John Stott and brings together evangelicals around the essentials of orthodox truth. All Souls Langham Place recently hosted a series of talks in memory of John Stott, that great Anglican leader who was born 100 years ago, who died ten years ago. His vision for clear biblical teaching and training of leaders has been a major factor in the development of godly Anglican leadership from the global South, that is at the heart of Gafcon today.


Gafcon website: information for prayer

Daily brief reports from around the world help us to see ourselves as part of a global fellowship, remind us of the needs of others, and strengthen our faith as we are encouraged by stories of God’s faithfulness. Recent items from around the Anglican Communion include: Madagascar, Nepal, Brazil, DRC and Myanmar. The Gafcon GB and Europe weekly online meetings are opportunities to pray for our brothers and sisters. See below for details on how to join - or why not contact us and start a new one? Also, it would be great to hear stories from around our region, with items for prayer and praise.