Chairman's May Letter
Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the name of the crucified, risen, and ascended King, our Lord Jesus Christ!
As I write this, my first letter to you all as Chairman of the Gafcon Primates Council, I want to begin by giving my heartfelt thanks to God for the work of my friend and predecessor, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. His courage, clarity of vision, godly wisdom and love for the Lord have been so essential to the growth of Gafcon in recent years.
I am very aware of the weight of responsibility entrusted to me, but I am also excited about the adventure of faith ahead as we continue to step out together in obedience to Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. The Church is his, bought by the price of his shed blood, and we dare not compromise it by sin, neglect, or false teaching. The Church is also commissioned by Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations, and the desire of my heart is to see the Anglican Communion become a mighty instrument of God for reaching the lost.
It is estimated that there are 2.1 billion people on the earth who have no contact with any Christian witness, and therefore, above all else, I want to see Gafcon uniting and equipping Anglicans around the world to be a missionary movement. As the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration affirms, the reason we first gathered in Jerusalem in 2008 was ‘to free our Communion for a clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ’ and this remains our great purpose.
Earlier this month I was in Sydney for the Gafcon Primates Council meeting and afterwards Archbishop Ben Kwashi, our General Secretary, and I were able visit a number of Australian cities where we were much encouraged by the warm welcome we received and strong attendances. Our time in Australia was marked by wonderful fellowship, unity of purpose and solid progress on many areas as set out in the Primates Council Communique, but I would like to highlight four especially significant outcomes.
Firstly, we elected the Most Rev. Laurent Mbanda, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Rwanda as the deputy chairman. Archbishop Mbanda is a tremendous man of God who has a proven track record of leadership in the cause of Jesus Christ. He replaces Archbishop Stanley Ntagali who has served with humility and grace; a powerful example of Christian leadership to us all.
Secondly, we recognised a new extra provincial diocese for faithful Anglicans in New Zealand. I was privileged to meet many of their leaders on a trip there just before the Primates Council meeting, and I thank God for their courage and vision in taking this historic step to secure the future of Anglican witness in New Zealand. Just this past week, these leaders held their first Synod that approved their Constitution and Canons, and elected the Rev. Jay Behan, vicar of St. Stephen’s, Christchurch, as their first bishop. His consecration is scheduled for October. Pray for him as he continues to lead!
Thirdly, we endorsed the formation of a tenth network to help us share the burdens of the Suffering Church, a reality brought home to us recently by the terrible loss of life caused by the Easter Sunday attacks on three churches in Sri Lanka. Coming out of our G19 Gathering in Dubai, this network will help us all serve the Lord with these sisters and brothers living in challenging contexts.
Fourthly, we announced a Global Bishops Conference to run from 8th-14th June 2020. This gathering, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, has been made necessary by the fact that the 2020 Lambeth Conference is being conducted in violation of its own previous resolutions, especially Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Conference, which reaffirmed the biblical teaching on marriage and human sexuality. We will gather for excellent Bible teaching, worship, training, fellowship and counsel together regarding the challenges facing our sheep.
The Global Anglican Future Conference remains committed, as members of the Anglican Communion, to proclaiming Jesus Christ faithfully to the nations. Let us, as followers of Jesus, conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ: daily remaining filled with the Holy Spirit, with repentant hearts and wills obeying His Holy Word, serving as His ambassadors to the rest of the world, and earnestly praying for revival and spiritual awakening in all nations of the earth!
Your brother in Jesus Christ,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council