Canon Phil Ashey reports from London
Posted on October 29, 2011
Filed under Anglican Communion
“GAFCON was not just a moment; it is a movement. The purpose of the 2012 leadership conference will be to gather existing and emerging FCA leaders… to promote the ongoing renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion.”
“Dear Friends in Christ,
I have been working this week from London in meetings of the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), which has just opened an office here under the able leadership of Bishop Martyn Minns. Next year, there will be a conference of about 200 leaders from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans held in London in the spring.
The theme of the gathering will be “Jesus Christ: Unique and Supreme,” based on Colossians 1:15-20 –
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Colossians 1:15, 18
The structures of the Anglican Communion have continued to deteriorate since the 2008 Lambeth Conference. That same year, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) took place in Jerusalem, which gave birth to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, a global movement committed to the renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion around a common confession (The Jerusalem Declaration). GAFCON was not just a moment; it is a movement. The purpose of the 2012 leadership conference will be to gather existing and emerging FCA leaders – laity, clergy, theologians, youth, bishops, women and men – to promote the ongoing renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion. These leaders will truly represent this global movement of Anglicans all over the world. We hope and pray this will set the stage for a larger “GAFCON II” meeting to be held in 2013.
The American Anglican Council will be helping the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans develop this conference. We are committed to supporting this global movement of biblical Anglicans and to the renewal and reformation of the Anglican Communion around a common confession. Be sure to monitor our website and emails for more news on these exciting events.
Last night, there was a reception for supporters and those interested in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairmen of the FCA, Eliud Wabukala, was present, along with the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, Peter Jensen, the retired Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, as well as the former Bishop of Rochester, England, Michael Nazir-Ali.
Each of these men are exceptional Christian leaders who truly seek God’s will for the Anglican Communion.
While at the reception, two comments in particular stood out to me. The first was from Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who described an article that a London newspaper published. It pointedly told the bishop three things: (1) Do not tell us what to do or not do in our bedrooms; (2) do not say that Jesus is unique for everyone as that offends people of other faiths; and (3) do not say that the Christian faith has anything to do with public policy.
This article illustrates the kind of hostility and discrimination that Christians are facing in the UK. It also heralds the same kind of hostility and discrimination many of us are beginning to face in North America. Even though the newspaper printed a letter from an Anglican priest the next day which stated that those three things are exactly what we expect of faithful bishops like Michael Nazir-Ali, the structures and leadership of the Church of England did very little at all to stand up against such hostility and discrimination.
This is one reason why the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans exists- to provide mutual support, encouragement and structures that enable Anglicans to be faithful to Jesus Christ and to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:16-20).
The second comment came from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala. In response to the question, “Is it worth continuing the battle within the present structures of the Church of England and the Anglican communion?,” Archbishop Wabukala reminded us of the East-African revival. Like GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, it, too, was a movement and not just a moment. The East African Revival was a Holy Spirit-directed movement that cut across tribes and races from Rwanda to Tanzania. It was a revival within the Anglican church where the people involved in it spoke out against sin in the church, stood up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and influenced each other. The East-African revival gave birth to a new generation of leaders who ultimately renewed those Anglican Churches so that millions of people could come to faith in Jesus Christ.
This is another reason why the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans exists – to faithfully point out sin in the Church, stand firm for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and renew the Anglican Communion. Like that great revival, we are part of a Holy Spirit movement, empowering existing and emerging Anglican leaders who will renew and reform the Anglican Communion.
Please pray for the leadership of FCA and for Bishop Minns and his family as they take up their new assignment in London. Please pray for the 2012 conference and that it will fulfill everything God is calling it to do. And please pray for the American Anglican Council as we support this vital work throughout the world!
Yours in Christ,