An Anglican Conference focussed on the Future

Posted on May 29, 2012 
Filed under Anglican Communion, Opinion

Gav Poole was among the attendees at the FCA Conference in London –

“The crisis has happened, there is impairment within the communion and now we look forward to the renewal of the Anglican communion.”

“The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) leaders conference was held in London, 23 to 27 April. It was made up of 200 delegates within the Anglican communion from 30 countries. The theme of the conference was ‘Jesus the Christ: Unique and Supreme’.

The conference was designed to critique the current state of the Anglican communion and under teaching from the Scriptures move the delegates to a common commitment as to the direction of the FCA and its role within the Anglican communion. The program included Bible studies, services, seminars and networking. It culminated in the adoption of a conference commitment at the end of the week. 

The secular media formed its understanding of what the conference was about. A BBC headline read, ‘Leaders of a dissident Anglican movement meet in London’ (, 23 April 2012). The Telegraph read, ‘Traditionalist Anglican leaders meet over homosexual bishops ‘crisis’’ (, 2 May 2012). Despite these headlines the feel of the conference was positive and the focus was on the future rather than the past. The crisis has happened, there is impairment within the communion and now we look forward to the renewal of the Anglican communion.

The conference commitment is a three page document that sums up where the FCA movement has come from, the discussions during the week and a common commitment to move forward (you can read the commitment at The document looks forward to a second GAFCON in May 2013 and gives a commitment to form Network groups.

The original document draft was changed on the floor. The delegates wanted more language about unity in the gospel and relating to each other as a family of believers. The commitment has the sense that there is more to come. It leaves me anticipating the future. The final form was passed unanimously by the delegates.

There was a notable absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the document. Given the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent retirement announcement, you might have thought that it would warrant some mention. There was however no mention in the statement. Is this a sign that a new era has dawned for the Anglican communion? The traditional Anglican instruments of communion proved ineffective in adverting crisis. The failure of the Anglican Covenant is a point in case. Canterbury is now only one province among many. Anglicans are looking toward the leadership of the FCA that represents the majority of Anglicans from around the world and upholds Biblical authority.

The week was characterised by the people who attended. Events that happened off the program added to the flavour of the conference as much as those that were programmed. For example, Bishop Nathan Gasatura arrived unannounced a day early from Rwanda. He met a group from the church who were heading into the streets to evangelise and pray for people. With brimming enthusiasm he joined the group, met a stranger from Uganda and led him to the Lord in Swahili … in the streets of London! These sort of events were some of the most memorable and reminded us of what the conference was about.

I was personally affected by the testimonies of those from different parts of the communion who suffer hardship. Bishop Timothy Yahaya told of the hardship faced by Christians in Northern Nigeria where churches are torched and people killed for no justifiable reason. People there attend church in fear for their lives. He highlighted the importance of grace during times like these and the need for sacrificial leadership—‘You have to pay the price’. After the conference Dr Paul Htet, Myanmar, reflected ‘the conference made us realise we are not alone’.

Indeed we are not alone. We have the Lord and we have each other. It is incumbent on those of us who live in relative peace to support our brothers and sisters who suffer for their faith. There is so much we can learn from them.”

– Source: The Australian Church Record, June 2012.