The Faces of GAFCON – part 2

October 26, 2013

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The photographers recording the GAFCON II conference this past week deserve a huge SHOUT OUT and a sustained wave of applause for capturing so many just absolutely STUNNING images.

These pictures bring to life just what it means to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – a people bought by Christ to be His own from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.

Here are 30 or so of my favorite pictures from the week.

I publish these as an offering of praise to our great God who is by the Holy Spirit transforming us from glory into glory into the image of His Son.  How GOOD and PLEASANT it is when brothers dwell together in unity!

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A Maasai woman

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Laurel Moffatt from Australia with the Nigerian Mothers Union delegates

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Note: this photo is of Archbishop Kattey of Nigeria who was recently kidnapped. Praise God for his safety!

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Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina Bishop with Bishops from Sudan and Kenya

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Roll Call of Nations:  the Nigerian Delegation (470+ delegates!)

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An ACNA priest (right) with the Myanmar delegation – one of the smallest, a land of severe persecution!

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The faces of GAFCON

Gafcon 2 bishops pointing2331 Anglican Bishops Signaling that Jesus is the One Way to God!

Photo credits:

GAFCON 

ACNA

Anglican Mainstream

George Conger

DMHanke (via Twitter)

Karin Sowada (via Twitter)

Laurel Moffatt

Diocese of South Carolina

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Praise for all God did at GAFCON II this past week, and all He will yet do

October 26, 2013

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It’s been exciting for me to follow GAFCON II from afar this week, and I’ve enjoyed this brief blogging spurt.

Having read the Final Nairobi Communique and Commitment today, I’m thankful for how God has answered our prayers. This is a clear, bold statement.

I particularly appreciated these parts: (emphasis mine)

There is much we can learn from the East African Revival about having a change of heart. Beginning in the last century, the Revival has touched millions of lives across many countries as the Holy Spirit has moved lay men and women, as well as clergy, to share the gospel with others. Two significant features of great relevance to our situation are —

    • Real repentance for sin demonstrated both in confession of guilt and a desire to make amends
    • A confidence that the gospel has the power both to save the lost in all the world and to transform the church, rather than seeing the church conformed to the world.

We urge those who have promoted the false gospel to repent of their unfaithfulness and have a renewed confidence in the gospel. We repent of indifference, prayerlessness and inactivity in the face of false teaching. We remind them – as we remind ourselves – that the sins from which we must repent are not simply those which the world also believes are wrong; they are those that God himself abhors and which are made clear in his Word.

[…]

The gospel alone has the power to transform lives. As the gospel is heard, the Holy Spirit challenges and convicts of sin, and points to the love of God expressed in his Son, Jesus Christ. The sheer grace of God in setting us free from sin through the cross of Christ leads us into the enjoyment of our forgiveness and the desire to lead a holy life. This enables the relationship with God that Jesus makes possible to flourish. Moreover, just as individual lives can be transformed, so can the life of churches. We therefore commit ourselves and call on our brothers and sisters throughout the Communion to join in rediscovering the power of the gospel and seeking boldness from the Holy Spirit to proclaim it with renewed vigour.

[…]

Our Priorities

Our Lord’s command is ‘to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:19–20). We believe therefore that our first priority must be to make disciples. This means that our movement must be committed to –

  • Evangelising areas of our world where clear gospel witness has become obscured or lost and bringing the gospel to unreached peoples. Much of our energy must be devoted to bringing the gospel to children and young people and developing the leaders of the future. We also recognise the need to pray for, love and witness to Muslims with the gospel of Jesus. We call upon churches to train their members in such outreach.

[…]

Conclusion

We are conscious of many pressures on faithful gospel witness within the church, but equally conscious of the great need the world has to hear the gospel. The need for the GFCA is greater now than when we first met in Jerusalem in 2008. We believe the Holy Spirit is challenging us and the rest of the Anglican Communion to remain faithful to our biblical heritage; to support those who suffer as a result of obedience to Christ; to deepen the spiritual life of our churches; and to respond to anti-Christian pressures with a renewed determination to spread the gospel. The seriousness with which we take our mission and our fellowship will be reflected in the way individual churches make the GAFCON vision their own, and in how we resource the work the GFCA seeks to initiate. We invite all faithful Anglicans to join the GFCA.*

*Note: GFCA = Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans – the body which sponsors the GAFCON conferences.

(I’m SO glad the call to LOVE Muslims is there.  So many evangelicals fear them… and in fear push them away.)

It’s those final two lines of the conclusion I want to focus on for prayer going forward:

  • I long and pray that GAFCON II will turn out to have been more than just a wonderful conference, but a turning point and rallying cry for orthodox Anglicans around the world.
  • I pray that the leaders of the GAFCON / GFCA movement going forward will have wisdom in how to translate the words and the commitments of the Nairobi Communique into sustained ACTION, i.e. that they would be able to develop practical resources, and create effective structures for ongoing networking, teaching and encouragement.
  • I pray that it will become clear how individuals and churches can truly JOIN the GFCA, and that it will mean something concrete in terms of providing support and strength through the example of faithful brothers and sisters around the world who are taking a bold stand for Christ.  May the GFCA become a dynamic movement that spurs on the completion of the Great Commission in our generation!

These are big prayer requests, but we have a BIG and FAITHFUL God.  GAFCON II has given me fresh joy and vision about what it means to be truly a GLOBAL church.  May God continue to reveal His wisdom and glory through His Church as we submit ourselves to Him in repentance and obedience.

[God’s plan is] …that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

(Ephesians 3:10-12, ESV)

AMEN & AMEN!


Praying for GAFCON Friday October 25th

October 25, 2013

I haven’t had much time to blog in the past 36 hours or so. I’ll keep this post short.

GAFCON II is winding down… this afternoon the delegates are working in groups to give feedback and recommendations about the Draft Communique.

I’ve learned from Twitter that The Rev. John Guernsey (ACNA Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic) is chair of the Communique drafting team. Please pray for him by name, and pray that the Communique that is released by GAFCON II will become a helpful rallying point and action plan for orthodox Anglican believers around the world.

As GAFCON II has so clearly addressed (particularly in the talk by Bishop Nazir-Ali, but also by others), the challenge for us is no longer just about the crisis in the Anglican Communion or how to reshape Anglican structures. No, it’s bigger: how do we in the Church deal with agressive secularism both in the West and elsewhere. How do we respond to Islam. How do we recognize and avoid syncretism (compromise with the culture), be it in the West, or in Africa. It’s not just Anglicans facing these problems, it’s the whole Body of Christ.

I pray that in His mercy, God would use GAFCON II and the Communique that comes out of it to help sound a clear call forward as to how the Church should face these challenges in our generation: with unity, love and great joy and boldness in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.


Archbishop Duncan’s Surgery reported to have gone well

October 24, 2013

There’s a short update on Bishop Duncan at Anglican Ink

Dear Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh,

We received news tonight from Canon Jack Lamanog that the Archbishop’s surgery went well. He will remain in the hospital to continue recovering. The tentative plan is for him to be well enough to return home on Saturday. Please continue to pray for His Grace and also for Nara, who has not had much rest since her arrival to Nairobi.


Update on Abp. Duncan’s health – he’s still in hospital and had a second surgery

October 23, 2013

From the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh (via George Conger at Anglican Ink)

Dear Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh,

Please continue to pray for our Archbishop Robert Duncan. We received word from Nara this morning that he is to have a surgical procedure performed today at 6:00 p.m. Nairobi time – which is 11:00 a.m. here in Pittsburgh (EST). It is hoped that this will enable him to be well enough to return home on Saturday. His Grace will remain recuperating in the hospital until then.

As mentioned yesterday, please continue to pray for all of our friends in the Anglican community who are attending GAFCON, especially those from the Pittsburgh area. Our Diocesan delegates include: Archbishop Duncan, Bishop Frank Lyons, the Rev. Karen Stevenson, Heather Strong Moore and Shawn Reed. Other Pittsburghers attending are Nara Dewar Duncan, Shawnee Lyons, Canon Jack Lumanog, Brad Root, the Rev. Andrew Gross, Canon Nancy Norton, the Rev. Alan Hawkins, the Rev. Justyn Terry, the Rev. John Macdonald and the Rev. Stephen Noll.

We will keep everyone posted and will be on watch for official updates from Andrew Gross, ACNA’s Director of Communications. Again, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Cronin, Director of Communications a

– See more at: http://www.anglicanink.com/article/archbishop-duncan-health-bulletin#sthash.u5awkb8J.dpuf


Why GAFCON 2013 matters – part 2: Praying for the “mini conference” sessions

October 23, 2013

Not all conferences are just TALK.  Some, through the creation of  effective working groups, lead to actions that change the world!  That’s my hypothesis for this series, and my prayer for GAFCON 2013!

GAFCON II is not all about rousing Plenary Sessions and worship, and fellowship, but it truly is a WORKING CONFERENCE.

You can find the schedule for the conference here.

Of note is that throughout the week (today – Friday) there are a number of “mini-conferences” taking place. The topics for these mini-conferences are:

  • The Challenge of Islam  – led by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali
  • The Work of the Holy Spirit  – led by Dr. Stephen Noll
  • Marriage and Family   –  led by Dr. John & Ruth Senyonyi
  • Children and Youths   –  Rev Zac Vernon
  • Gospel and Culture   –  Dr. Alfred Olwa
  • Being Women of God   –  Christine Perkin
  • Aid and Development   –  Rev Dennis Tongoi
  • Theological Education   –  Dr Andrew Shead
  • Episcopal Ministry   –  Bishop Wallace Benn

These mini-conferences are a big part of why I believe GAFCON 2013 is important and an event we should uphold in much prayer.

Let me share a somewhat personal example* of what can come out of a conference and conference working groups.  Although I am too young to have atttended the first Congress on World Evangelization in Lausaane Switzerland in 1974, I have heard a lot about it from a number who were there.  John Stott is quoted as describing Lausanne’s Impact as follows:

 ‘Many a conference has resembled a fireworks display. It has made a loud noise and illuminated the night sky for a few brief brilliant seconds. What is exciting about Lausanne is that its fire continues to spark off other fires. ’ [from here]

THAT IS MY PRAYER FOR GAFCON 2013that it will spark many such fires in terms of effective partnerships and ministries that will lead to the growth of the worldwide Church – both in maturity, and in numbers!

At Lausanne 1 in 1974, one of the key “fires” that sparked other fires was a talk by Dr. Ralph Winter of the US Center for World Mission, presenting the huge unfinished task of reaching some 14,000+ unreached people groups without any indigenous form of Christian witness.  That presentation highlighted how little work was being done at the time to reach Muslims around the world with the Gospel of Christ.

At that time many were deeply stirred by what God was doing in their midst, but were moved to penitence by their flawed and limited commitment to the missionary task. At Lausanne they entered into solemn covenant with God and with each other to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the world. Their concern was: “Let the Earth Hear His Voice” and their focus was on “unreached people.” Of particular interest to many of the participants was the large bloc of unreached Muslims.  (from here)

This was more than mere talk or good intentions, it led to ACTIONS.  In 1978, a week-long consultation was convened at Glen Eyrie, Colorado, to explore the responsibilities of North American Christians toward the Muslim World.  As one of the participants writes:

At the opening session of the conference, this mood of expectancy was overshadowed by a painful reality. The keynote address raised the question: “Why is not the Muslim world better evangelized?” The probing went deeper. Related questions were asked: “Why is it that barely two percent of North American Protestant missionaries are involved in this work? Why their limited understanding of Islam and Islamic culture?”… It was inevitable that as the conference progressed workshops and discussion groups increasingly faced the future. When they did so, many issues surfaced that called for exploration and old questions arose that demanded new answers. In the process all of us became aware of the wide variety of tasks that will have to be undertaken if the Church seriously desires to evangelize the Muslim world.   […] Each specialty group was commissioned to ask itself: “What specific contribution can and should we make to further the Muslim evangelization?” On the first time around, more than thirty major and relevant tasks were defined as needing urgent attention. And the momentum kept increasing. [reference]

The results in the 35 years since the Glen Eyrie Consultation on reaching Muslims have been nothing short of extraordinary:

  • New mission agencies birthed to focus exclusively on reaching the Muslim world,
  • new training resources developed,
  • multiple thousands of missionaries sent to Muslim people groups just from North America alone,
  • a mobilization of prayer for Muslim peoples

But most exciting, God has poured out His Holy Spirit, and today there are large-scale people movements of Muslims turning to Christ in at least 17 different Muslim countries.  As one author has termed it, a new wind is blowing through the House of Islam.

So… that’s a small case study of what can happen from a conference.  Words, leading to conviction and repentance, translated into action, and very importantly MUCH PRAYER, and then God working to reveal His glory as His people offered themselves and their efforts to His service.

May that be what is said happened at GAFCON 2013.  May there be a testimony of many fires sparked around the world from this gathering as people met and listened and prayed and strategized together in each of the mini-conference sessions!

—-

[*Although I did not attend Lausanne 1 in Switzerland, I had the joy of attending Lausanne 3 in Capetown, and so I have studied the Lausanne Movement history.  Also, I am working overseas as a direct result of the recruiting efforts, encouragement and training of those who were at Lausanne 1 and the Glen Eyrie Consultation.]


Favorite Tweets, Quotes, Snippets from GAFCON so far…

October 22, 2013

I’ve been compiling some quotes and Tweets from the past 2 days, that give a bit of a flavor of GAFCON so far.  These are shaping my thinking about “Why Should We Care About and Pray for GAFCON?” – the series I began this morning and will continue later in the week.

***

Abp. Wakubala of Kenya in his opening address, October 22:

It is quite impossible for us to experience worship and fellowship like this and ignore the global scope of the gospel. This is God’s revealed truth and saving for all people in all times an the Anglican Communion at it best demarcates this reality. Historically its origins lie in the expansion of the English speaking world, but here we are in Africa where, as elsewhere, the gospel has taken root in very different cultures. This is the Global Anglican Future conference because biblical Anglicanism is by its very nature global – not merely because of our history, but because the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ is to ‘all nations’ (Matt28:19).

Apb. Peter Jensen (Oct 21):

Our task is repentance from “captivity to the world”, and recovery of the true Gospel which leads to transformation. “We are here to support each other especially where there is false teaching in the church, and where there is poverty and persecution.” … But a word of warning: “We can plan a conference, but what is God’s plan? What is he going to do? Something different and unusual? How will God manifest his glory here?”

ACNA GAFCON daily digest Oct 21

GAFCON is about proactively moving forward in common ministry, rather than waiting for other people to do something. It was an explicit reference to the failure of the Anglican Communion’s structures; the same failure that Archbishop Welby had noted the previous day. Bishop Jensen reiterated the truth about Gafcon’s founding: It isn’t a movement that is leaving the Anglican Communion; it is a gathering that, refusing to be paralyzed by a lack of unity, is focused upon the glory and holiness of God.

An Analysis by Andrew Symes at Anglican Mainstream “Why GAFCON” (prior to the conference)

In Kenya we will be reminded that the world is dangerous, the challenges are huge, but God loves the world and its people, and the testimonies of Christians prove it . He has provided the way of salvation through his Son, and he has established his church as a supernatural gathering across racial barriers (Ephesians 2:14-16) through the Gospel (3:6), and as a means of displaying his wisdom to the hostile powers against whom we struggle (6:12), and who one day will be subdued in the new creation (1:10).

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, reflecting on GAFCON Day 1:

This evening’s gath­er­ing at All Saint’s Cathe­dral after tea on the grounds was an Open­ing wor­ship freely flow­ing with hymns brought by West­ern mis­sion­ar­ies yet touched by an African vigor and sway. It also brought var­i­ous speak­ers to the podium to focus our atten­tion on the East African Revival of the 1920s and 30s and which had a sec­ond or renewed out pour­ing of the Holy Spirit in the 1970s. Indeed as the Chan­cel­lor of Uganda Chris­t­ian Uni­ver­sity reminded us in a stir­ring address—“We speak of the East Africa Revival as if it is a relic of his­tory. It is not just a relic…not just a move­ment in his­tory; it is a liv­ing move­ment today.” (Para­phrased from my jot­ted notes from his address) This move­ment which has as its cen­ter the Death and Res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ, the call of the Holy Spirit for believ­ers to “Walk in the Light” and the neces­sity of repen­tance, pub­lic con­fes­sion of sins and putting of wrongs right in the believer’s life, as well as a cor­re­spond­ing call for humil­ity and bro­ken­ness, was and remains a mighty pres­ence in the Church in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tan­za­nia.

Australian Delegate Laurel Moffatt:

It is easy in a gathering like GAFCON to see only the things that set us apart. To hear only the different accents, to have the eye caught up in the beads, and the linen, the silk and the embroidery, and to get lost in colour for a while, and then to continue the worldwide pastime of separating pale and dark. To look around and see only difference. Here. And Here. And Here.

But that would be settling for the surface of things as the way things are. And it is not the way things are for believers.

In the first gathering at GAFCON we sing and pray, and listen to the word of God together, because of our communion, not because of our difference. We sing songs of praise to God because we are thankful that there is something that binds us together that is stronger than cloth, stronger than colour.

When hearts are focussed on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, differences like cloth and colour do not divide us, but rather become part of the joy, part of the vibrant worship of the living God. Our God is alive, and we are alive in him. Alive with rich, bright, brilliant colour.

***

Assorted Tweets (from October 21, and 22):

Everyday radical discipleship is firmly at the heart of the agenda for #gafcon2013- walking in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Singing “Revive Us Again” with 1,300+ Anglicans from all over the world at #GAFCON2013 in Nairobi. Such a powerful moment.

Being challenged and refreshed by African bishops passionately exhorting #gafcon2013 to say “not I but Christ” what ever the cost.

#GAFCON2013 now discussing the importance of the East African Revival. We pray for such a revival in the #Anglican Communion

@gafcon heart of the East African Revival= preaching Christ crucified, real repentance and gospel belief. The old old gospel!

But #GAFCON2013 exists because there are people around the world who believe Anglicanism is a tradition worth preserving. And I like that.

What encourages me most about #GAFCON2013 is that there are 1400 people there who care deeply about being faithful *Anglicans*

As we hear from one another of the challenges facing the Communion let us not forget that darkness does not overcome our Light

A worldly church will always oppose a church that takes Gods word to the world.

If the church is sent into the world, what a tragedy when the church is infected by the world – Paul Perkins

[a parody ala Screwtape] Gafcon getting dangerous. Too many calls for solid gospel teaching and solid training. Bad for business. Love, Satan X

Amazing testimonies of godly Anglicans standing for Jesus in horrendous situations around the world. Praise God for them

Biblical repentance is about being horrified at ourselves and hoping in Christ. The Western church is teaching the opposite.

Revival does not begin with a church. Revival begins with submission and repentance to Christ. “Revival begins with you!”

Who is here. People from: Argentina, Bermuda, brazil, Burundi, Canada, chile, Congo DR, Fiji, France, Gambia, India, Iran, Ireland … Israel, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Namibia, NZ, Nigeria, USA, Pakistan, Paraguay, PNG, Rwanda, Seychelles, … Singapore, South Africa, Sth Sudan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, Uk, Zambia, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Sierra Leone


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