- Church in Wales (CiW) votes for blessings of same sex relationships in church
- C of E Synod elections.
- Threats from wider society: “gay conversion therapy’ ban.
- The marginalisation of Christianity in the West - recent articles
- Around the world: violence continues in Nigeria; Gafcon Primates to meet
Church in Wales (CiW) votes for blessings of same sex relationships in church
On Monday 6th September the CiW’s Governing Body achieved the necessary votes to support the bishops who were all in favour of this motion. With this historic departure from the clear teaching of Scripture and the mind of the worldwide church, the CiW follows Anglican Provinces in USA, Canada, Brazil, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Scotland and some Dioceses in Australia. In each case there has been division in the church, and Gafcon has come to the support of faithful Anglicans who feel marginalised.
This report in the Church Times gives some detail about the debate on 6th September and shows how some conservative voices courageously opposed the motion.
A member of Governing Body said:
‘we are saddened and disappointed at the result, and we are taking time to pray and reflect as we discern God’s way forward for us, and would value continued prayers’.
Gafcon GBE and other orthodox Anglican bodies in UK and around the world have been offering prayer and support to members of Evangelical Fellowship of the Church in Wales and Anglican Essentials Wales, whose leadership committees are due to meet in the coming days.
C of E Synod elections
As we have seen from events in Wales, the beliefs of those elected to sit on the Church of England General Synod determines the shape of the church in years to come - whether it will remain faithful to Christian orthodoxy or whether it will follow the world’s agenda.
Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) and Evangelical Group on General Synod (EGGS) have been working hard to ensure good numbers of candidates for election to General Synod who will oppose similar attempts to make major changes to doctrine, liturgy and practice.
This leaflet from CEEC explains how Synod works, and gives fuel for prayer at this crucial time, as elections are due to take place in October 2021.
Threats from wider society: “gay conversion therapy” ban
A public consultation will be launched on the scope of a proposed legal ban on any practice which seeks to change sexual orientation or gender identity. Many Christian groups have warned that this could criminalise freely chosen counselling and prayer, and could threaten clear public teaching of the Scriptures on sexual morality. Anglican Bishops have spoken in favour of such a ban; other countries are seeing similar threats to orthodoxy from governments which could put more pressure on Synods to change doctrine in line with new secular laws.
Informed prayer is needed, as well as realistic planning for a more difficult future (rather than just “hoping for the best”) if Parliamentary and Synod votes result in major change to national laws and church practice.
The marginalisation of Christianity in the West - what are the symptoms? Does it matter?
Martin Davie writes
In an article entitled ‘Courageous and compassionate. In search of the English’ which was published in the Daily Telegraph on 7 August, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, sets out what he calls ‘an expansive vision of what it means to be English as part of the UK.’ His vision for… English identity is to be understood in terms of being part of ‘a courageous and compassionate community of communities, serving the common good, and delighting in our diversity across these islands.’ There have been a lot of reactions to this article, but none that I yet have seen have noted its exclusively secular tone, something that one might think rather surprising in an article by an Archbishop.
Paul Kingsnorth, in an important article “The West has lost its virtue”, argues that the cultural values of the West only have strength and meaning in relation to the Christian worldview:
“There has never been any unitary organisation of Western culture apart from that of the Christian Church…the notion of virtue itself would eventually become inconceivable once the source it sprung from was removed.”
Around the world
Gafcon continues to call for urgent prayer for the security situation in northern Nigeria, where Christians are killed daily by Islamist militants.
Many parts of the body in the global communion of believers are suffering at the hands of terrorist violence and sometimes, government persecution. This informative article helps us to understand more, and to respond with prayer and practical acts of generosity and compassion.
Despite these trials it is such an encouragement to hear of church growth in some of the poorest countries in the world, for example Madagascar, DR Congo, Brazil and Tanzania. See Gafcon website for more details. Can our churches do more to partner with God’s work, as the gospel is preached faithfully to nations before the final coming of the kingdom?
The Gafcon Primates Council meet in Nairobi for those who can be present in person, and on Zoom for others, from 14-16 September. They will be updated by reports from around the world, and will strengthen their fellowship and take decisions together. Please pray for them at this important time.