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


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


Praying for GAFCON II in Nairobi this week

October 22, 2013

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We’re excited about the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) taking place in Nairobi this week.  1350 Anglicans from nearly 40 countries.  Wish I was there!  But blogging is the next best thing!  😉

Please join us in praying for this special event this week!

All our GAFCON-related entries can be found here.

Here is the Program Schedule for the GAFCON conference

A full index is below

Read the rest of this entry »


Update on Bp. Duncan’s health – Bp. Duncan is hospitalized

October 22, 2013

From the ACNA website:

During the last week, Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America has been fighting an infection that has come as a result of an abscessed tooth.

This morning (October 22nd, 2013), after the current prescription antibiotics were deemed to be insufficient, the Archbishop was attended to by the head of dental surgery at The Nairobi Hospital. Thankfully, The Nairobi Hospital is blessed with an excellent medical facility and staff, treating patients both from Kenya, and the larger East Africa region.

The doctor recommended a round of intravenous antibiotics, and Archbishop Duncan is resting comfortably in a private room with his wife Nara at his side.

Archbishop Duncan thanks you for your prayers, and asks for your continued prayer for the Global Anglican Future Conference.

h/t Locusts & Wild Honey blog


GAFCON: Prayer points

October 22, 2013

Last night a kind friend who is attending GAFCON in Nairobi emailed me a “prayer bookmark” that had been prepared for GAFCON with a number of prayer points. I had not seen this before. I like the prayer requests that the GAFCON leaders have shared!

Pray for GAFCON 2013

Overall vision:  That the Lord will bless the gathering of the hundreds of Anglican leaders who desire to be faithful to the bible in their witness and ministry, to give renewal and direction in mission and service.

That the programme being prepared will connect clearly with the mission vision and needs of participants and provinces represented.

For the Anglican Church of Kenya as hosts of the conference, that the Lord will grant them rich gifts of hospitality and much patience with their visitors.

That all the occasions and opportunities of meeting and getting to know fellow Anglicans from around the world will bear rich fruit in friendships and partnerships in mutually supportive ministry.

That GAFCON2013 will lead to concrete action to ensure continued faithful biblical witness in Anglican churches around the world.

That by the end of our time together we shall have resourced our movement to exercise clear, biblical and stableleadership for the Communion with Provinces and Dioceses in fellowship with one another – self-empowering, missionally active, and globally aware.


Why should we care about, and pray for, GAFCON? – Part 1: By the Numbers

October 22, 2013

In an email yesterday, a friend challenged me, asking (I’m paraphrasing): “Why does GAFCON matter? Why should I care about it? I’m not in ACNA, it’s nice that some ACNA people get to go to an international conference, and they will enjoy good preaching, fellowship and worship, but how is this relevant?”

Those questions got me thinking… and also researching a bit. Let’s look first at the numbers:

GAFCON 2013:   Yesterday’s press release gives these attendance figures for this week’s GAFCON conference in Nairobi: “Although initially expecting 1100, the final total is 1,352 Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and lay people, men and women, from almost 40 countries. [I’ve seen the figure of 36 or 38 countries reported in other articles.] The number of bishops attending is 331, of whom 30 are Archbishops.”  Other reports mention that 27 of the 38 Anglican Provinces are represented.

Without any context, it’s hard to appreciate those numbers, so let’s compare GAFCON 2013 with some prior Anglican gatherings:

GAFCON 2008:  According to Wikipedia the first GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem in 2008 had 1148 delegates, including 291 Anglican Bishops, from 29 countries and 19 provinces.   GAFCON2 is 20% larger overall, with a 30% increase in countries and a 40% increase in number of Anglican Provinces represented.  (GAFCON2 includes delegates from 70% of the Provinces, while at GAFCON 1 there were 50% of the Provinces represented).

The Global South Encounter Gatherings:  the 4th Global South Encounter in Singapore in 2010 brought together 130 Anglicans from 20 countries.  The 3rd Global South Encounter in Egypt in 2005 brought together 103 delegates from 20 Provinces.  GAFCON2 is 10 times larger than any of the Global South encounters, and brings together participants from nearly twice as many countries.

Lambeth 1998:  749 bishops present.  Lambeth 2008: “Over 650 bishops present.”  [Per a recent article by George Conger at Get Religion, 214 bishops were absent at Lambeth 2008.]  While all Provinces are represented at Lambeth, the representation is very unequal.  In 2008, more than 20% of the attending bishops were from the United States, while the US Episcopal Church makes up less than 3% of the total Anglican Communion membership.

The Anglican Consultative Council Gatherings, while including laity, clergy and bishops from the entire Communion, are much smaller, with less than 100 participants.  It is particularly important to note that, like Lambeth, this gathering is completely disproportional to the membership of the Communion.  The Episcopal Church in the US with about 1.2 million members, sends the same number of delegates as the Province of Nigeria with 18 million members (3 delegates each).

By contrast, GAFCON 2013 seems to have taken extreme care to be VERY representative of the membership of the Anglican Communion.   There are over 400 Nigerians attending GAFCON – approximately 34% of the attendees.  With approx. 19 million members, Nigerians make up about 25% of the Anglican Communion.  So, for once, there is a global Anglican gathering in which Nigeria and most of the large African provinces are represented fairly accurately according to their membership!

So, in terms of size and the make up of the participants alone, it’s clear that GAFCON 2013 matters!  I believe it is the largest truly GLOBAL and REPRESENTATIVE Anglican gathering in modern history.  GAFCON 2013 gives us a glimpse of what the Anglican Communion REALLY looks like.

The faces of GAFCON

An article by Andrew Symes at Anglican Mainstream last night highlighted Abp. Peter Jensen’s reading off the roll call of countries during yesterday’s GAFCON plenary session:

Recently retired Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen, the secretary for GAFCON 2, had to briefly fight back tears as was overwhelmed by the reality of the fulfillment of months of hard work and preparation. A list of countries represented was read out, which included Bermuda, Burundi, Fiji, Argentina, Gambia, India, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Singapore, South Sudan, Uganda, Germany, Sierra Leone and many others. Why are we here? Jensen asked, and said that the structures of the old communion could not contain the new wine of today’s confessing Anglicans.

So GAFCON is a step towards helping towards creating new wineskins for the shape of today’s Anglican Communion.  One look at the picture above makes clear the “new wine” is a reality that demands a response!

In the same article, Abp. Wabukala of Kenya, the chariman of GAFCON 2013 is quoted as follows:

According to Archbishop Eliud, this is a movement of global Anglicans for worship, fellowship, growing together in Christ, and mission, with the intention of “modelling how the Anglican Communion should operate

So in light of all of the above, my prayer request for GAFCON today flows from the Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:

For through [Christ] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22, ESV)

May this week in Nairobi be a time of building friendships, love and trust, strengthening the bonds of unity in Christ. May each individual present, and the delegates corporately, re-center themselves on the foundation of Scriptural truth, and with that foundation strong and solid, may the Holy Spirit do a wonderful work of knitting together and rebuilding a temple for the praise of His glory.

We who only know the current brokenness and destruction of the Anglican Communion can hardly imagine what new wineskins might look like…, what wholeness and health is.  May GAFCON 2013 be an occasion for God to impart His vision for the future.  May God help us glimpse the promise of new wine and new fruitfulness that’s ahead if we allow Him to reshape us.

Karen B.

UPDATE:  I just came across a lovely blog entry by a GAFCON delegate from Sydney Austrailia.  GAFCON Day 1 in Living Colour.  It echoes a lot of what I’ve just written in terms of GAFCON being a visible symbol of the true vibrancy and life of the Anglican Communion in Africa.


From our archives and reposted for GAFCON – Walking in the Light, the East African revival

October 22, 2013

Back in January 2009, in conjunction with a prayer campaign we were running here at L&B for the Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria Egypt, my colleague Jill W. wrote a post about the East African Revival.  With all the talk of the East African Revival today at GAFCON, there were some folks searching on Anglican East African Revival, and so the following post got a number of hits and caught my eye tonight.  It seemed very apt to reblog this tonight and adapt it for use in praying for GAFCON.

The East African Revival–Walking in the Light

One of the great themes of the East African Revival was the view that true Christian conversion must be accompanied by a contrite confession of sin. After being convicted of their wrongs by the preaching of the cross, believers should be willing to give public testimony to what Christ has done in their lives and be willing to make restitution to anyone who has been harmed by their sins. There is a plethora of stories in East Africa of new believers returning things that had been stolen, or confessing past ethnic hatred or sexual misconduct. Such a confession must be accompanied by a willingness to lead a new life of honesty and openess, a lifestyle described as ‘walking in the light.’

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.1 John 1:6-7

This revival, which began in 1929, spread from Rwanda to Uganda and Kenya. Also, Burundi and Tanzania were affected. It shaped the Protestant church in eastern Africa, and it has also helped shape the current Anglican crisis. The primate of Rwanda, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, moved by what he coined “spiritual genocide” in the Episcopal Church, was involved in the establishment of the Anglican Mission in America. After the consecration of Gene Robinson, the primate of Uganda, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, with his bishops broke communion with TEC and refused to accept any official monies from her, and Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya said, “Repentance must begin with the leadership. The church leadership must repent. Are the bishops role models? And the theological seminaries? . . . ECUSA has kicked itself out of the Anglican Communion. You can act in such a way to kick yourself out. It pains us because we want to have everyone in the communion. It is the leaders that are responsible.”

Lord God Almighty,
Unbound by time, You set a light on a hill for this present darkness. We thank You for the East African Revival. We thank You for the light that shines from Mt. Kilimanjaro, across the Serengeti, to the headwaters of the Nile, and down the East African Rift. […] may there break out in [GAFCON] a revival that will spread throughout the Anglican Communion.

Bright Morning Star, may a new day dawn in the Communion–a day of contrition and restitution, a day of repentance and testimony. We cry out, May [the GAFCON attendees and Anglicans throughout the world] revere Your name! Sun of Righteousness, rise with healing in Your wings.


Bright Morning Star, we honor Your name. Heal the Anglican Communion! Lead Your angel-armies and free us from this bondage. May the [GAFCON delegates] leave the meeting, leaping with joy and bursting with energy, like calves released from the stall.


Bright Morning Star, we want to walk in Your light. Amen.


The faces of GAFCON

October 21, 2013

I came across this wonderful photo from the GAFCON conference in Nairobi tonight.

The faces of GAFCON

What a great photo!!  Tomorrow I’ll have a post on “Why GAFCON matters” and some suggestions on how to be praying for the Conference.  But this picture actually speaks volumes – GAFCON matters because it may be the largest and most representative gathering of the modern Anglican Communion. (The vast majority of Anglicans are laity in the Global South!)

Stay tuned for more thoughts and prayer suggestions for GAFCON tomorrow…

For tonight, pray for restful sleep for all the 1300+ delegates, for personal refreshment and even revival in their lives from this gathering (revival was a major theme today), and for God to orchestrate connections, friendships, networks, partnerships for His glory and the spread of the Gospel through the fellowship that occurs at this conference.

photo source   (also on the ACNA facebook page, so I assume ACNA is the original source.)

UPDATE:  this prayer is posted on the ACNA facebook page, and it beautifully expresses what I want to pray when I see the photo above:

O’ Father God, make us as beautiful in Holy Passion, in Righteousness, in Unity, in Repentance and in True Fellowship as we are in tribe, and race, and color, and nation! May we truly fulfill Your Word; that we are “A Royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation!” Amen! Make It So Jesus, Messiah and Lord!

Amen & Amen!


Please pray for Abp. Bob Duncan who had emergency dental surgery in Nairobi today

October 21, 2013

Fr. George Conger at AnglicanInk is reporting tonight that Abp, Bob Duncan, the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has had emergency dental surgery in Nairobi today.  He was on the verge of leaving the conference to return to the U.S., but apparently the surgery in Nairobi has gone well and he is now hoping to stay at the conference.

Please lift up Bishop Duncan in prayer for a speedy recovery and protection from any infection or complication, that he could fully participate in and enjoy GAFCON.

 


Praying for the GAFCON Conference – praying for the Primates who are attending

October 21, 2013

According to the press release from the GAFCON conference yesterday, these Primates are attending this week’s GAFCON conference in Nairobi:

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and chairman of GAFCON

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Primate of Sudan

Archbishop Robert Duncan, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America*

Archbishop Henri Isingoma, Primate of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria

Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala, Primate of the Southern Cone

[UPDATEthis article from a Ugandan paper states that Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda will be attending.  ]

It is possible that other Primates are attending, but not named in the article, we will update the list as we become aware of any other Primates who are present in Nairobi.

In reviewing the list of the Anglican Communion Primates last night, it struck me that only two of the 38 Primates were serving as Primates in 2003 when the Communion was torn apart by the actions of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the United States.  Ten of the Primates have been serving two years or less, including many of the Primates from the strongest Global South provinces.   So there has been a sea change in leadership since the events of 2003, and even since the first GAFCON conference in Jerusalem in 2008.

I think this fact may be hugely significant – virtually none of the Primates can even conceive of what the Communion was like (especially in regards to the Instruments of Unity) before the Communion was torn apart.  All they know is the “new normal,” which is actually the “new broken!”

These facts suggest two prayer topics.  I encourage us to pray:

1) For God to help orthodox Primates and leaders to forge truly deep bonds of trust and understanding and partnership during the GAFCON conference. This is a pretty new cast of characters without a lot of history of working together.

2) For God to give fresh vision of what a fruitful and healthy Anglican Communion (or at least a healthy and strong “sub-communion grouping” of the Global South and orthodox Provinces) could look like.  When all you know and see is brokenness, it can be very hard to imagine that good health and wholeness is really possible.

The Scripture passage I find coming to mind this morning as I think about and pray for GAFCON is this wonderful passage from Ephesians 3:6-12 – especially verse 10:

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so 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.

It’s sometimes hard to wonder what good can come from a conference.  Lots of talk, more “words” …, more documents or statements.  But I’m reminded this morning of how God reveals His power and wisdom through the Church – even as weak and broken and divided as we are on this side of heaven.  May God cause the unsearchable riches of Christ and His glorious light to shine forth more brightly and be known more widely because of this gathering, and may the Lord strengthen orthodox Primates and leaders in attendance by His authority.  May God’s wisdom triumph over all the forces and powers of hell this week as Christ’s name is lifted up!

—-

*of course Apb. Duncan is not officially recognized as an Anglican Primate by the Anglican Communion Office, but he is treated equally as a Primate by the Global South leaders, and I believe he serves on the GAFCON Primates Council.


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