Gafcon Ireland lay delegates reflect on their experience of Gafcon III
This artlcle draws together the reflections of lay people from Ireland who attended the recent Jerusalem 2018 conference (Gafcon III) and shows how the truths of the Jerusalem Declaration were being lived out in experience during that wonderful time of fellowship. It was originally published by Gafcon Ireland here and gives an inspiring snapshot of laity standing alongside bishops and clergy to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations
“Nowhere before had I experienced Bishops eating packed lunches seated on steps with young adults, or women - ordained and lay-so highly regarded for their input, and welcomed with appreciation and affection that crossed cultural boundaries.”
More than half of those of the Gafcon Ireland delegation who attended the Gafcon Jerusalem 2018 were lay people. Quite appropriate too – as this reflected the overall attendance of this largest gathering of Anglicans in
50 years! Lay delegates attended and participated all aspects of the conference. They contributed equally to the formation of the Letter to the Churches that the conference received with loud acclaim and accepted by vote
without a voice raised in opposition.
Lay involvement is also foundational to Gafcon Ireland!
The vast majority of the enthusiastic attendees at Gafcon Ireland’s launch in April were members of congregations, and our first initiative – TheologyIreland – delivered an intensive Biblical Theology course to around 300 lay people in January 2018, and we’ll be doing the same next year.
As we read through their reflections we were struck by some recurring themes. They were Christian, Anglican, global, united and growing. Each of these resonated with themes found in the historic Jerusalem Declaration that emerged from the first Gafcon in 2008. It seems fitting to present this selection of quotes using those titles and prefaced by a relevant portion of the Jerusalem Declaration.
We rejoice in the gospel of God, through which we have been saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 1)
“[Gafcon 2018] was, for me an inspirational revelation of the zeal, commitment and determination of men and women of the Anglican Church to obey the command of Christ to bring the gospel to the world and to make disciples of all nations,”
“Throughout the conference, I was struck that… our sin is serious, but when we grasp this, we see that the news of a saviour really is good news.”
"As a layperson whose hunger and desire it is to see Jesus Christ glorified and the truth of the gospel proclaimed in its entirety I was truly humbled by the welcome, hospitality and the inclusion both of myself and others at the conference."
“We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel.”
(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 6)
“During the week of GAFCON, I was delighted to be reinforced in my Anglican roots and beliefs”
“The liturgy of morning prayer came alive with meaning each day as it was led meaningfully by a number of Bishops/Archbishops from around the globe.”
“This event was a testament to Anglicanism in the true sense of the word.”
“At Gafcon Jerusalem 2018 the gospel was unashamedly proclaimed without compromise, and standing firm [on] the traditional Anglican beliefs.”
We Celebrate the God given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship
(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 12)
“It was a true privilege to share with sisters and brothers from across the global Anglican family, as together we encouraged one another to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.”
“The fact that so many delegates were from the global south changed the focus and emphasis in so many ways.”
“The times of worship as I stood in the gallery looking around at all the different nationalities gathered and singing praises to our great God was special and unique. It felt like a little glimpse into how amazing heaven will be when people from every nation will gather [to] praise God.”
We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships.
(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 11)
“It was for me, a real and remarkable example of the power of brothers and sisters ‘who dwell together in unity’ and who are determined to obey the commands and teachings of Christ in their lives. This event was a testament to Anglicanism in the true sense of the word.”
“To learn of the incoming General Secretary Ben Kwashi, his wife Gloria, and their 50 adopted orphaned children; the stories of pastors jailed for preaching the gospel; or losing entire congregations as martyrs, shows how precious Jesus really is to those who were there.”
“I’m encouraged from GAFCON of the unity and community that we have with fellow believers all around the world to encourage and spur one another on.”
“I personally prayed and spent time with Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy and other Laity wondering at times who was who, without their clerical garb there was no way of distinguishing! They were simply a group of born again believers who were in love with Jesus,”
We gladly accept the great commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations.
(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 9)
“That’s what the world needs and if some of the Anglican Communion have lost the plot on that it is incredibly kind of the Lord to bring GAFCON into being so that people can hear the good news of Jesus Christ.”
“There were opportunities to pray with believers from all round the world and hear something of their own situation and tell them ours. It was also a great opportunity to get to know members of our own delegation better”
“I long that Ireland, north and south, would be flooded with a new generation of bible believing clergy who will proclaim Christ and stand firm against the pressure of the world around.”
“It’s very exciting that GAFCON have started the new 9 Networks! I am really impressed with the way GAFCON is being proactive and outward looking”
“As I reflect upon the week I realise the need for wise, biblical, Christ-centred leadership over both Gafcon Ireland and elsewhere.”