January Pastoral Letter
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
‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ Romans 12:2
My dear brothers and sisters,
As I send this first pastoral letter of 2015, receive greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever!
As we begin a new year, we thank God that through Christ he has rescued us from futile ways and taken us up into his eternal purposes. Our new life in Christ brings a fresh dimension to even the most ordinary work because it is now done for God and his glory. What marks out a disciple of Jesus Christ is that this is a person who has not just had a conversion experience, but a person whose whole way of thinking has been radically changed.
One of the great challenges for African Christianity is for the many who identify as ‘born again’ to become mature disciples of Christ. This is especially necessary given the challenge of what Pope Francis last week described as ‘ideological colonisation’, which is the practice of tying aid and development resources to the promotion of alien understandings of gender, the family and sexual behaviour.
Money is a very powerful tool and manipulation can happen with varying degrees of subtlety. Such practices must be challenged, but the best defence is for ordinary Christians to have renewed minds that are profoundly shaped by the Bible. When each local church is able to see itself as a colony of heaven, its members will be much more resistant to being colonised by non-Christian ideologies.
In this respect, the Churches of Africa need the GAFCON movement’s emphasis on restoring the Communion’s commitment to biblical truth just as much as the Churches of the West. We are committed to equipping the Anglican Communion as a whole to survive and thrive in the face of many twenty-first century challenges, of which ‘ideological colonisation’ is just one, and to do this we are building global partnerships and support networks.
So I am very encouraged that connections made at GAFCON 2013 continue to bear fruit. For instance, a few weeks ago, a team from Australia participated in a youth convention in the Church of Uganda’s West Ankole Diocese with over 10,000 attending and next month a mission team from All Saints Cathedral here in Nairobi will be flying to Chicago as part of a reciprocal mission partnership with the Anglican Church in North America’s ‘Greenhouse’ church planting initiative.
We shall also be strengthening the work of our global fellowship with the launch of the Australian Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in March and an expanded GAFCON Primates Meeting in London the following month.
In a world where image is often preferred to substance and where minds are more often changed by money than by conviction, I want to appeal to all of you to help us build a movement which has depth and spiritual strength.
Jesus said ‘the truth shall set you free’ (John 8:32) and there is a particular urgency for confessing Anglicans around the world to encourage one another in the continual renewal of the mind that comes as we humbly hear and accept God’s Word. So in the year ahead, let us be wholehearted in faithful prayer and in financial support (to set up a regular payment please go to the website) as we share together in this great calling from God to the work of renewing his Church.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council