Chairman's April Letter
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Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Times of crisis such as we are now living through are revealing. They force us to focus on what is really important to us and it has been so encouraging to see Gafcon churches around the world quickly adapting to new ways of being church and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ using the tools the internet gives us.
Our churches are also making it a priority to care for the most vulnerable. Here in North America, our Matthew 25 Initiative network is serving some of the most poor and under-resourced people in North America from some 100 centers, while globally, the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (see https://ardf.org/apply-for-covid19-funds) is seeking to provide on the ground relief. Our General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, is serving on Barnabas Fund’s Africa Coronavirus Relief Committee to channel relief to the most vulnerable and enable the Churches to continue their ministries.
Please be aware that the people and churches of Africa are suffering not only from the impact of the coronavirus economic lockdown, but in East Africa also from recurrent and massive locust plagues which are devasting crops. And in addition to the pandemic, Christians in northern Nigeria are suffering intensified and barbaric attacks from Fulani Jihadist tribesmen who are deliberately targeting women and children. All of this is a matter of much prayer, and I call on our intercessors to join us in beseeching our Lord to provide for His people in the midst of their needs.
While for many, lockdown has slowed the pace of life, the paradox of this pandemic is that there is actually a speeding up of social change; for example, the rapid embrace of new communications technology and the turn from globalisation. Who would have thought two months ago that most of our churches would be using technology to gather people for worship, Bible studies, and prayer meetings??!! Online attendance in most cases has been larger than regular attendance.
My brother Gafcon Primate, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, has encouraged Nigerians to turn wholeheartedly to Christ in this time of crisis, saying
‘The worst death is one that is done in sin; death in iniquity. I believe that God is giving us the opportunity to repent as individuals and as families, as a people and as a nation; to turn away from our wickedness and sins and turn to the living God, who can give us hope and life, especially in times like this when no one knows what comes next and anybody can die.’
My brother Gafcon Primate, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit encouraged Kenyans to remember their faith at this time, saying,
Faith is tested when we are in time of crisis. As believers, when you are sinking, the best question to ask yourself is “where is your faith?” This COVID-19 pandemic has tested our faith uniquely. The world is in a major crisis never witnessed before. This pandemic reminds us that ultimately the world is not our home. Ultimately, we are not in charge, but we can boldly and gladly say that God is.
Death is an all too present reality as this pandemic reminds us. Jesus came into the world that human beings might have life, and have life to the fullest (John 10:10). He said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). He went further saying that he was the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in him, although they die, they shall live (John 11:25). For those of us who have put our faith and belief in Jesus, and been born anew by the Holy Spirit, we do not have to fear and we do not have to be anxious about what tomorrow will bring. As the Apostle Paul wrote so powerfully:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!! (Romans 8:38,39).
As you read this letter, I invite you to bow the knee of your heart (or actually get on your knees) and repent of your ungodly ways; that is, change your mind about living for yourself and begin anew to follow in God’s ways. I invite you to take “self” off the throne of your life and allow Jesus his rightful place – as your Lord of lords and King of kings. Remember, like Jesus said to the Church in Laodicea, he says to you and me:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, he with me. (Revelation 3:20). Whatever your situation in this time of crisis, I invite you to turn your heart toward our loving and faithful God.
Your brother in the hope and faith of Christ,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council
P.S. You can subscribe to Archbishop Beach’s daily audio one-minute devotional (comes to your email) at www.awordfromthelord.org