Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to report to you about GAFCON 2018 in Jerusalem. FCA Australia sent 216 delegates to the conference who participated in many different ways, from speaking, MC-ing, leading seminars and networks, volunteering and some even letting out their inner African beats in leading the singing on the last day! I hope you caught some of it on the livestream, and many sessions and interviews are online to view here.
The conference theme was “Proclaiming Christ to the Nations”. Each day we were taught from the Bible reading Luke’s gospel tracing the trial, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and his commission to send us into the world. Plenaries helped us consider the church, the world and our mission. Seminars provided detailed input on many areas of the mission of the church.
We also heard stories of people are doing it tough in the Anglican Communion, either through persecution from external pressures, or by the actions of those who have walked away from both the Anglican faith and previously agreed positions. Some have passed through the difficult days of being persecuted by errant Anglican leaders to new and more vital expressions of mission. Others are currently in difficult circumstances. We were particularly struck by the situation of our near neighbours in New Zealand, whose General Synod has decided to embrace two teachings on marriage and allow bishops to authorize the blessing of same-sex unions. Many faithful Anglicans will be forced out of existing structures by this, to find a new Anglican home.
One of the great things that GAFCON 2018 did was launch nine strategic networks to bring people together from around the globe to advance our church’s mission: Theological education, Church planting, Global mission partnerships, Youth and children’s ministry, Women’s ministry, Sustainable development, Bishops training institute, Lawyers task force, and the Intercessors fellowship. Each of these will have a life across the GAFCON provinces and between GAFCON conferences.
The conference committed itself afresh to the mission of the church: to preach Christ faithfully to the nations. The conference statement was a highlight of the program. A genuinely consultative process led to a unanimous adoption of the statement about the GAFCON movement and its intentions. I encourage you to read it very carefully.
Some say that GAFCON is a breakaway movement, but it is increasingly clear that it is pursuing the mission of the Anglican Church that has been in place since the very beginning. We are trying to implement the decisions made by the Anglican Communion, and continue to be committed to its world-wide growth.
Some like to pretend that GAFCON is a side-show and not the “main Anglican game”. However, the conference just held in Jerusalem was the largest global gathering of Anglicans for 50 years, with 1,950 delegates from 50 countries, including 316 Bishops, 669 other clergy and 965 laity, and representing over 2/3rds of the world’s Anglicans.
FCA Australia was well represented at the conference with many of our members and all of our Board in attendance. We are committed to proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations. We invite you to join us, and the members of EFAC, at the second Anglican Future Conference for Australia in September 2018 in Melbourne. We’d love to see you there as we tackle the mission challenges before us in our nation.
With warm wishes in Christ,
Chair – FCA Australia