Thursday, September 25, 2014
September pastoral letter from GAFCON chairman
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council
23rd September 2014
‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who if of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the heart of the contrite.’ Isaiah 57:15
My dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings in the precious name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
Here in Nairobi, we have just concluded our Divine Conference. We have enjoyed four wonderful days of fellowship, worship and teaching as hundreds of people have been drawn daily to hear God’s Word at All Saints Cathedral. We have come to the Lord in repentance and we have experienced the truth of the great promise we have in Isaiah 57:15, that the God who dwells in the splendour of holiness also dwells with the contrite and lowly. God has indeed drawn near. He has saved the lost, brought back the wanderers, lifted our burdens and given us a new joy in Jesus the Son of God, in whom all His promises are fulfilled.
Many of us were also present last October for GAFCON 2013 and I have encouraged people to think of the Divine Conference as ‘Continuing GAFCON’. In the Nairobi Commitment and Communiqué, we stated our intention to become much more than a big conference every five years. As long as the Great Commission is at risk through the promotion and toleration of false teaching and immorality in the Anglican Communion, we must have ‘Continuing GAFCON’.
Our Divine Conference reflected the partnership we have with other Confessing Anglicans as we welcomed international guests and speakers from other nations, including Uganda, the UK and the Anglican Church of North America. My brother Archbishop Stanley Ntagali reminded us that true unity comes when Christ is at the centre of the Church and urged us to see that ‘GAFCON is a revival movement to revive the Anglican Communion’.
We were also delighted to receive greetings from Archbishop Foley Beach through his special representative, Canon Alan Hawkins, and a mission team of church planters from the Anglican Church of North America’s Greenhouse Movement came alongside parishes in Nairobi and joined us for the conference. All Saints Cathedral and Greenhouse have now committed to reciprocal mission visits and I rejoice to see the GAFCON vision for faithful global mission being put into practice in this very practical way between the great cities of Nairobi and Chicago. I hope this will be the first of many similar initiatives.
In the twenty first century, it is becoming clear that we must see the once missionary nations of the West as now themselves mission fields. The fact that the United Kingdom came close to breaking up last week is a symptom of the disintegration that follows when a once common Christian faith has been lost and I want to appreciate the work of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) who are sharing with other mission minded Anglicans in England as they meet for the ‘ReNew’ Conference this week.
AMiE is authorised by the GAFCON Primates to work within and, where necessary, outside the structures of the Church of England as a missionary society. In my message of greeting to the conference I said ‘We understand the challenges that faithful Anglicans face in England. At GAFCON 2013 here in Nairobi we recognised that the focus of the struggle for biblical faithfulness has shifted from North America to England. The temptation to dilute the message of Jesus Christ and compromise with the surrounding culture is strong, so it is vital for the gospel in England, and also for the world, that you continue as a beacon to the revealed truth of the Scriptures. The salvation of people from hell is at stake. So nothing could be more important.’
As Chairman of GAFCON I give thanks to God as I see brothers an sisters in Christ round the world standing firm and partnering together to make known the good news of our Lord Jesus in season and out of season.
Finally, let us not forget those who are suffering. The terrible barbarities of ISIL have focussed our minds on the evil that has befallen many believers in the Middle East and those facing similar threats in other parts of the world. Let us be steadfast in prayer for them and trust God that the ancient Churches of their lands will, by God’s grace and power, rise from the ashes. And may their suffering strengthen our resolve to be faithful soldiers and servants of Jesus Christ wherever we are, knowing that nothing can separate is from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council