Chairman’s October Pastoral Letter 2015
To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”
My dear brothers and sisters,
Receive Christian greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Speaking at a mission conference in Chicago earlier this month I was delighted by the strength and fruitfulness of the global relationships being formed through GAFCON. We met at the Anglican Church of North America’s (ACNA) Church of the Resurrection, which has bought a huge disused factory and built it into a beautiful church.
Despite many challenges, this congregation is truly a church of the resurrection! It is a wonderful demonstration of the joy, vision and spiritual vitality so typical of the ACNA. I praise God that the ACNA, birthed at our first Jerusalem Conference in 2008, is now recognised as a full Province of the Anglican Communion by Primates representing the majority of the Communion’s active membership.
My experience of this new wineskin in North America brought home to me just how much is at stake when the Primates of the Communion meet in Canterbury at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury next January. I believe this will be an historic meeting unlike anything that has gone before. There is now a shared realisation that the time for dialogue is over and there must be a decision that will settle the future direction of the Communion and free us from being dragged down by controversy and confusion.
Last week it was a joy and privilege to share in a meeting of Global South Primates in Cairo which enabled the GAFCON Primates to consider how to respond to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation. Noting the unique nature of this proposed meeting, we are agreed to go and I am confident that in doing so we will not compromise the biblical principles for which we stand.
In recent days the Lord has put on my heart the seriousness of the call to be a faithful watchman. In a time of crisis and confusion in ancient Israel, God appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman over his exiled people (Ezekiel 33:1-9). This is one of the set readings in the Anglican Church of Kenya’s service for the ordination of priests and for those of us who are bishops and archbishops, this responsibility to watch is even greater.
This ministry is a matter of life and death. Ezekiel is appointed as a watchman who hears the word that God speaks so that people may be saved from coming judgment. God must judge, but he also saves. The gospel is about God’s amazing grace in rescuing us from sin and the power of death in Jesus Christ. It brings great joy, but it is not a worldly message about how to achieve prosperity or self-fulfilment. Without the hope of the glory to come, the gospel is not the biblical gospel.
Our GAFCON movement stands together as a global family to restore the Bible and this gospel of grace to the heart of the Anglican Communion. We are approaching a critical moment and we all have a part to play. So let us stand together in fervent prayer and courageous witness with an unshakeable confidence in the Bible as what it really is, the Word of God.