Standing with the Suffering

“At the end of February, Gafcon held a conference hosted by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali and Bishop Azad Marshall of Pakistan which, though much smaller than last year’s Jerusalem Conference, will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on all those who attended and the wider Anglican Communion.

From 25th February to 1st March, 138 delegates, including four Primates and 31 bishops and archbishops, gathered in Dubai for ‘G19’. The conference was designed for those who had been unable to attend Gafcon 2018 in Jerusalem for political reasons and many came from contexts where there are severe restrictions on Christian witness.

In his opening address, Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria set the tone of the conference…”

– GAFCON’s Membership Development Secretary, Canon Charles Raven, wrote this article for Evangelicals Now.

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand calls for Nominations for their first Bishop

“The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand is a new Diocese in New Zealand.

Because of the rejection of the authority of Scripture by the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia at the 2018 General Synod, a number of parishes and individuals have chosen to disaffiliate from ACANZP and gather together in 12 parishes to form a new expression of Anglicanism.

As a Christ-centred church in the historic Anglican faith and order, we are calling for nominations for our first Bishop. We are seeking a person who has a desire to serve as our Bishop…”

– News from The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Gafcon Networks mobilise after Cyclone hits Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe

“Following the massive destruction brought to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe by Cyclone Idai, Rev Dennis Tongoi who leads the Gafcon Sustainable Development Network put Gafcon leaders in touch with one another and contact was made with Mozambican Bishop Vicente Msosa, who was present at Gafcon 2018 in Jerusalem.

Mozambique is one of the areas hardest hit and Bishop Vicente shared with us the traumatic impact of this disaster on his Diocese of Niassa. …”

– GAFCON’s Membership Development Secretary, Canon Charles Raven, shares about the disaster unfolding in Africa.

See also:

Anglican Aid in Sydney has set up an emergency appeal. (Donation link at the bottom of that page. Photo via Anglican Aid.)

“Anglican Aid is providing much-needed assistance to Zimbabwe through FOCUS Zimbabwe and Honeyworld and to affected parts of Mozambique through local bishops known to us through GAFCON.”

Islands and inland seas as Southern Africa hit by flooding – SydneyAnglicans.net

“An entire community was submerged when people woke up on Saturday morning. Many have been left homeless and numerous others have either been confirmed dead or are still missing” said the urgent call to Anglican Aid from Tawanda Masango, newly returned to Zimbabwe from Sydney.

GAFCON Chairman’s March 2019 Letter

In his March 2019 Pastoral Letter, GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas D. Okoh highlights the confusion surrounding the 2020 Lambeth Conference:

“A recent blog by Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, had confirmed that the Archbishop of Canterbury would be inviting bishops in same sex unions to Lambeth 2020, but not their partners. The exclusion of the spouses was a break with the convention, and with Archbishop Welby’s own previous statement that all bishops’ spouses would be included.

The reason given was that their presence would not be appropriate because Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, which affirmed the biblical and historic understanding of marriage, remains the position of the Anglican Communion.

But how can the same sex spouses be excluded if their partners are still invited as bishops in good standing? Both are equally committed to a sexual relationship described by Lambeth Resolution I.10 as ‘incompatible with Scripture’.

The inconsistency is obvious to all. …”

– Read it all at the GAFCON website.

Ben Kwashi: Pray for the work of Gafcon each day during Lent

Archbishop Ben Kwashi writes:

Will you pray with me for the work of Gafcon each day during Lent?  

While I was in Dubai for the G19 conference last week, I was moved by the resilience of brothers and sisters who face severe suffering for the sake of Christ. These are praying people and their example reminds us that we are called to be a spiritual movement, determined not only to put the Bible but also unceasing prayer at the forefront of all we do.

During our conference, I was so pleased to witness the tremendous progress the Gafcon Prayer Network has made since it launched in Jerusalem last June.

One of the network’s projects has been to develop a Lent prayer diary which can be accessed via the website, received through daily social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or through the recently launched page on the PrayerMate App.

It will provide subscribers with a topic each day… through to Easter Day and beyond to fuel our prayers as we stand together in gospel partnership.”

– Even if Lent is not necessarily ‘your thing’, it is good to heed this call for unceasing prayer. (Screenshot: the GAFCON feed on PrayerMate.)

G19 Conference Statement

The GAFCON G19 Conference in Dubai released their Conference Statement: Streams in the Desert: A Letter from Churches in Restricted Situations.

Read it at the GAFCON website.

On The Road in Dubai — Closing Reflections on GAFCON 2019

“In a few hours I will fly home from this extraordinary gathering of Anglicans who live, witness and worship in restricted circumstances where they are often the religious minority.

Four primates, 31 bishops and “internal provincial” archbishops, 44 clergy and 59 lay leaders from twelve countries shared their humbling testimonies. Unlike the trials I have faced, these dear Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ face ongoing violence and unrest, severe restrictions on how they may share their faith, and even death over a single, false accusation. Yet they still witness in word and deed to the transforming love of Jesus Christ with whomever they can.

It was an honor to be in the presence of the suffering Church within the Anglican Communion. …”

– The American Anglican Council’s Phil Ashey writes from Dubai.

Also from The American Anglican Council: “I’m Gay, Can I Come To Your Church?”.

Lambeth 2020 Descends into Confusion

“When the boundary markers of biblical and apostolic faith are set aside, confusion enters the Church.  …

The Archbishop of Canterbury has changed the long-established convention that spouses are invited to Lambeth Conferences and contradicted the blanket statement he made in a recent video when he affirmed “of course, bishops’ spouses will be invited as well as bishops”.

The reason for this change in policy follows from another, which was to include for the first time at Lambeth 2020 same-sex partnered bishops in contrast to the policy of his predecessor, Archbishop Rowan Williams, who did not invite Bishop Gene Robinson and his same-sex partner to Lambeth 2008…”

– The latest from GAFCON on the latest Lambeth confusion.

Screenshot above from this video produced to promote the Lambeth Conference (cued to the statement about bishops’ spouses):

Key Anglican reading this weekend

Here are two articles worth reading this weekend:

Two weeks ago, Dr. Stephen Noll published “TAKING SWEET COUNSEL TOGETHER”: Lambeth Edition.

“On 28 December 2018 [the Feast of the Holy Innocents], the Anglican Diocese of Toronto announced, with attached photo (Bishop Robertson [left], Bishop Susan Bell [center] and Mr. Sharma [right]):

‘The Diocese of Toronto congratulates Bishop Kevin Robertson and Mr. Mohan Sharma, who were married today at St. James Cathedral in the presence of their two children, their families and many friends, including Archbishop Colin Johnson and Bishop Andrew Asbil. …

(Bishop Kevin and Mohan, who have been a couple since 2009, had their relationship blessed in 2016 according to the Pastoral Guidelines of the Diocese of Toronto and are now married under the marriage provision of the same guidelines.)

We wish them much joy in their marriage.’ [END]

This event could be a deal-breaker for the upcoming Lambeth Conference in 2020. And should be! Here’s why. …”

And the American Anglican Council’s Canon Phil Ashey writes “The Apostle Paul and Lambeth 2020”, where he quotes from Dr. Noll, but adds his own observations –

“I believe that there may yet be some Biblically faithful Bishops in the Anglican Communion who intend to go to the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in 2020 to object to false teaching and make a witness to the truth of the Gospel. I have listened to Bishops – especially those newly consecrated who have not attended these Communion wide meetings – who sincerely believe that they can make a difference by taking a stand at these gatherings which are organized and directed by Canterbury, with ‘minders’ from the Anglican Communion Office already assigned to these faithful bishops who intend to come, and with generous funding by The Episcopal Church and others who promote the very teaching contrary to the Gospel that we see pictured above.

Based on what I have observed at such official Communion wide meetings, there’s more I could say. …”

Related:

From the Anglican Communion News Service, 7th February 2019 – New Anglican Communion bishops receive induction in Canterbury, Lambeth and the ACO. (Bishop Kevin Robertson at left in this photo from ACNS.)

A Crisis in Koinonia: Biblical Perspectives for Anglicans – Canon David Short (published here 2004).

Keep Up or Die?: A Church that Won’t Hold a Heresy Trial isn’t Really a Church – Dr. Albert Mohler (on the United Church of Canada).

GAFCON Chairman’s February 2019 Pastoral Letter

“My dear people of God,

Later this month I shall be travelling to Dubai for Gafcon 2019 to share fellowship with faithful brothers and sisters, many of whom will be coming from contexts where restrictions are imposed on Christian witness and faithful discipleship can be costly in many ways.

But I know that despite these hardships, our time together will be joyful because the gospel of God, the good news of our salvation and eternal life in Jesus Christ, will be at the centre of all that we do. …”

Read the full letter here.

Related:

Toronto Bishop Kevin Robertson invited to CanterburyAnglican Samizdat.

“On February 7th 2019, Justin Welby welcomed [Bishop Kevin Robertson] and 29 other bishops to Lambeth Palace.”

And a note in an e-mail from the GAFCON Secretariat: “Please remember Archbishop Okoh and his family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of his younger brother John to cancer.”

“Transgender Baptism” – How should we Respond? — GAFCON UK

Gafcon UK has published a briefing for Parochial Church Councils in the Church of England –

“Just before Christmas, the House of Bishops published pastoral guidance which ‘welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people’ – and encourages clergy to use existing liturgy (of Baptism, Confirmation or the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith) if a transgender adult wishes to reaffirm their Christian faith and mark their transition.

This has caused considerable concern amongst lay and ordained members of the Church of England for a variety of theological and pastoral reasons. This briefing seeks to summarise some of those concerns and suggest ideas for further reading.”

Read the briefing, and related documents, here.

See also:

2,000 clergy sign letter saying new Church of England service for trans people may ‘harm’ childrenTelegraph.

“Some 2,155 bishops, priests and lay members of the church have added their names to the letter which condemns new guidance released last month on gender transition.”

GAFCON’s new General Secretary

GAFCON’s new General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, introduces himself and pledges that he will not deviate from the saving message of the gospel in his new role.

Watch, be encouraged, and Pray.

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