Gafcon Kigali begins

Apr 17, 2023 by

from American Anglican Council:

Gafcon Kigali has begun, bringing 1300 delegates from 53 countries together in order to worship God, celebrate who they are and where they’ve come from, and pray for the future of the Anglican Communion. There are three main events leading up to a new Anglican future: Lambeth 2022, Gafcon 2023, and the Global South Conference in 2024. Each of these conferences has and will steer the Communion in a certain direction, and it is our hope that the road after the theological debacle of Lambeth 2022 will be one of determined faith, clarity in the midst of confusion, and solidarity among brothers.

Today, Monday April 17, will bring the delegates together in an opening session marked by worship, prayer and exhortation, all bringing light to the road ahead. The American Anglican Council (AAC) is here to support Gafcon with a certain hope that together with the Global South Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GSFA), more can be done to ensure a biblically-faithful legacy for the Anglican Communion going forward.

But will Gafcon and the Global South partner together?

This week will determine much of how they might do that. As Archbishop Foley Beach, Chairman of Gafcon, said at the press conference today, “If you notice the kinds of statements that the Global South puts out, they’re very similar to ours. We have the same goals.” It’s this reality that should make moving forward together much easier, not that they must merge but that they would partner, with each using the gifts God has given them for such a time as this.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi, the Gafcon Global Secretary, stated at the press conference that it was his hope that “a new Pentecost is here, as it was at the Reformation for our founders.” At Pentecost, many different nations came together through the power of the Holy Spirit at the proclamation of the truth. This is what must happen now. The challenges would certainly be there. Moving forward together and decisively means saying “No” to the Church of England as head of the Anglican Communion. It means saying “Yes” to the gifts of Christ in one another and sharing resources in a spirit of humility and brotherly love. And it also means “Yes” to standing firm, no matter what temptations may come their way.

The press release today, which can be read here, gives a good sign that standing firm is what Gafcon is here to do. The language of “alternative episcopal oversight” is Gafcon getting back to its original charism, which is to authenticate and recognize biblically faithful Anglicans in the same way St. Paul authenticated and recognized Gentile Christians who were not a part of the Jewish Church led by Sts. Peter and James. Providing this kind of oversight has been and is a strong response to the strong delusions coming from the West and especially, most recently, from Canterbury. At the end of this week, Gafcon and Global South primates will release a joint statement laying out a road map for its next steps. We can hope that it will reflect a partnership and shared vision. Primates have prayed together and were in consultation with one another before Gafcon even began. We want to see how both groups will partner and with what resources. Will they address the proper Anglican and Gospel-centered way of reading the Bible and studying it? Will they address what it means to be a human being in light of the Western World and the heretical teachings infiltrating the Church?

Our position at the AAC is the one we continue to suggest: Gafcon is the ideal mission sodality, like St. Paul, bringing oversight and helping to form communities of believers. The authenticity that Gafcon brings to Brazil, the ACNA, the Anglican Network in Europe, the Church of Confessing Anglicans in New Zealand, and others reflects Paul’s mission to bring believers who were on “the outside” of the existing ecclesiastical structures and bring them into the Church, uniting them with the apostolic leadership of Peter, James, and others.

The GSFA, with its government structure, like Sts. Peter and James, is the modality. It provides existing ecclesiastical structures and, with the Cairo Covenant, a way to move forward as a Synod. In 2024, the Global South will meet in Cairo to also begin envisioning the path forward towards a revitalized and biblically-faithful Anglican Communion. What would it look like if Gafcon primates caucused before the Cairo meeting next year the way that the Global South caucused before Gafcon this year and they then began to plan a join missions conference and synod for 2028? And greater still, what would it look like if five years from this Gafcon conference in Kigali, another Assembly would form, with a missions conference that reflected the work of both Gafcon and the GSFA? It is our hope that a pan-Anglican Global Conference will emerge, with binding resolutions on members that are not dependent on Canterbury’s involvement. We want to see such a council combine Gafcon and Global South leaders and resources reflecting this partnership.

These are our hopes, and hope springs eternal as long as believers come together to pray. Please join us this week in prayer. We will send you regular updates each day which will include articles, podcasts and other resources. Please see our list below of other resources from partner ministries that you can find online. And keep us in your prayers as well as we join with Gafcon in Kigali, Rwanda!

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