Gafcon - Uniting and Reforming: Part 4
Bishop Héctor Zavala has been a Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Church of Chile for 20 years. Between 2010 and 2016, he was the Primate of the Anglican Province of South America. Chile aspires to become an Anglican Province in 2018.
In the Anglican Church of Chile, we are very expectant for GAFCON 2018. This event is much more than just a conference, it is the manifestation of a living movement of Anglicans, led by God, which seeks to change the world through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. We return to Jerusalem together this year, but what does this mean for us?
I have very fond memories of the first conference held in Jerusalem in 2008 where Anglicans from different countries and contexts, bishops, clergy and laity, gathered under one faith and purpose; worshipping our Lord together and enjoying his fresh and renewing presence. In Jerusalem, as well as in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, we experienced sneak peeks of what heaven will be like, when we will all be together contemplating the face of Jesus Christ.
We, a group of 15 people from Chile, will go to GAFCON 2018 in a year which is quite symbolic to us. The GAFCON movement was born in Jerusalem, but it is also the place where Jesus called, ministered and trained his disciples; and from where he sent them to carry his message to every corner of the earth. It is the place where we remember our foundations as Christians and Anglicans and, at the same time, the mission entrusted to us.
GAFCON, as its name indicates (Global Anglican Future Conference), is a conference in which we discuss the future of Anglicanism; but if we do not understand where we come from, it is impossible to know where we are going. That is why we are excited about this upcoming conference; Our hope is that, with each plenary, meeting and times of fellowship and prayer that this year's program will have, we will be renewed as Anglicans by the grace that saved us and in the truth that transformed us and set us free.
In a time of crisis, when some sectors of the Anglican Communion are distracted and far from the apostolic Gospel, it is no coincidence that we return to Jerusalem, the place where everything began.
We ask those who cannot be with us in Jerusalem to join us in prayer for everything that will take place. We also ask that those not present help us in spreading each communiqué, so that, just as it was in Jerusalem two millennia ago, the message imparted will spread to the rest of the Anglican Communion and to all of those who have not heard of Jesus Christ.