June 12, 2008
This month, several members of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) will embark on a journey to the Holy Land, where they will come together with a diverse group of over 1,000 Christian leaders representing 17 provinces in the Anglican Communion. They will gather for the first Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), being held from June 22-29, 2008, in Jerusalem .
“Attendees of GAFCON represent the present and future of the Anglican Communion. GAFCON is an unprecedented development in the life of the Anglican Church. It will allow orthodox Anglican Christians from across the world a time for fellowship and to proclaim the transforming love of Christ. We need to start reclaiming Biblical roots and our heritage for global missions, and this conference is the catalyst for our renewed focus,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns .
The conference will feature a variety of programs to address poverty, HIV/AIDS, secularism and other moral and theological issues. Worship services will be held, and attendees will visit Biblical sites such as the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane while in Jerusalem . They will also travel to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds' Field and then on to Galilee .
Over 300 bishops from Anglican Communion will attend the conference, along with their wives, other clergy and lay leaders. The attendees represent 35 million church-going Anglicans. Some of those attending from CANA include Missionary Bishop Minns, Suffragan Bishops David Bena, Roger Ames, David Anderson, Amos Fagbamiye, and Nathan Kanu. Some members of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), a part of CANA, are also attending, including ADV Vice-chairman Jim Oakes, The Rev. Dr. John Yates , rector of The Falls Church, The Rev. Richard Crocker of Truro Church, The Rev. Patrick Ware of The Falls Church, Bishop John Guernsey, rector of All Saints' Church, and CANA Trustee and member of The Falls Church Sam Thomsen. ADV is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia . They will all join other U.S. bishops within the Common Cause Partnership.
The GAFCON Communiqué, issued in March 2008, affirmed that the goals of GAFCON are to: 1) Provide an opportunity for fellowship to continue to experience and proclaim the transforming love of Christ, 2) Develop a renewed understanding of our identity as Anglican Christians within our current context, and 3) Prepare for an Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centered mission a top priority.
CANA and ADV members are encouraged to pray for all the attendees of GAFCON. “We are preparing for the future of Anglicanism throughout the world,” Bishop Minns continued, “and that takes prayers of faithful Christians. We are living in a critical time in the Communion. We want our future to be secure in the uncompromised truth of Christ's death and resurrection, so that generations to come will have heard this Good News from faithful Anglican Christians.”