Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Preparing for GAFCON 2

By Andrew Symes
September 17th, 2013

More than 100 clergy and laity from the UK will be attending GAFCON 2 in Nairobi at the end of October, and a preparatory meeting was held on Monday 16th September at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise in south London.

Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Marks and on the council of FCA UK, led the meeting, which began with praise and prayer. Paul then opened Matthew 9:35-38 and began by reminding us that “Lord, send out labourers into the harvest field” is a dangerous prayer! This short passage of Scripture shows us the helplessness of the crowd – like unguided sheep – but also the compassion of Jesus who meets the needs of people. We see the abundance of the harvest, but the scarcity of labourers. And then, recognition of the task leads to prayer, which results in action. GAFCON 2 is not a rearguard movement of traditionalists, but a renewal movement for the sake of the Great Commission.

After prayer in groups we watched a short video of GAFCON 2008 in Jerusalem. We were reminded of the remarkable unity among orthodox and evangelical Anglicans from diverse cultures across the world in response to the unilateral redefinition of Anglican faith and order perpetrated by the Episcopal Church of USA. It was unanimously recognized that what was needed was not just protest, but the re-articulation of biblical worldview and vision for mission. Henry Orombi’s reading of the Jerusalem Statement, resulting in a standing ovation, may have been a significant moment in church history.

Back in the present: Eliud Wabakala, Chair of GAFCON Primates Council, had sent a message which was read by Bishop John Ellison. Archbishop Eliud is greatly looking forward to welcoming delegates to fellowship in Nairobi as guests of the Cathedral in Nairobi. The theme of the conference will be the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, reflecting the missionary impulse at the heart of biblical Anglicanism. “We want to address specific problems but also look beyond them, to ask God to bring revival”, he said. The vision is for GAFCON to become a “movement of transformation for the Anglican Communion”; to give firm and stable leadership for the future. The Archbishop ended with acknowledging the difficulty of remaining faithful to the Gospel in UK and Ireland. To the delegates who share the GAFCON vision he said “We honour your faithfulness. We stand with you as you stand with us.”  the rest


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