Largest International Gathering of Anglicans in 50 Years Celebrates 10 Years of Growth
The Jerusalem 2018 Conference ended with a passionate call to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations. Representing the majority of the world’s Anglicans, 1,950 delegates from 50 countries, equally represented by clergy and laity, gathered in the Holy Land for worship, prayer, Bible study, teaching, and fellowship. The conference’s impact was amplified as over 730,000 people from 64 different countries engaged with the conference online.
Growing Roots Wide
Nine new ministry networks launched this week and began spreading wide roots by building teams dedicated to the work of:
- Theological Education (The Rev. Dr. Andrew Shead, Australia)
- Church Planting (Canon Alan Hawkins, United States)
- Global Mission Partnerships (Canon William Beasley, United States)
- Youth and Children’s Ministry (The Rev. Craig Roberts, Australia)
- Mothers Union and Women Senior Leaders (Mrs. Gloria Kwashi, Nigeria)
- Sustainable Development (The Rev. Dr. Dennis Tongoi, Kenya)
- Bishops’ Training Institute (Bishop Samson Mwaluda, Kenya)
- Lawyers Task Force (Canon Phil Ashey, United States)
- Intercessors Fellowship (Canon Catherine Shimanya, Uganda)
Led by individuals with an already-established passion in the particular mission area, each network is identifying projects and developing collaborative tools to help reach the nations for Christ.
Sending Roots Deep
The inaugural meeting of the Synodical Council deepened the roots of the movement providing further stability. Based upon a model of conciliar government, The Primates Council and the Panel of Advisors came together to form Gafcon’s first Synodical Council. The conference gladly endorsed their recommendation that Gafcon members decline all future invitations to attend meetings of the Instruments of Communion, unless
- representatives of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, the Province of the Anglican Church in Brazil and subsequent Gafcon-established Provinces are invited as full members and,
- representatives of Provinces, who have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices which are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, are only invited if they have repented of their actions.
Gafcon has insisted from the beginning that: “We are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the majority of the Anglican Communion seeking to remain faithful to our Anglican heritage.” As Archbishop Nicholas Okoh stated: “We are merely doing what the Communion leadership should have done to uphold its own resolution in 1998.”
Leadership Transitions and Growth
The conference gave thanks for the extraordinary leadership of Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria), Gafcon Primates Council Chairman, and Archbishop Peter Jensen (Australia), Gafcon General Secretary. At the close of the conference, the beginning of a leadership transition was announced as both will be retiring in 2019. Archbishop Okoh will be succeeded by Archbishop Foley Beach (North America) in April of 2019, and Archbishop Peter Jensen will be succeeded by Archbishop Ben Kwashi (Nigeria) in January of 2019. The four leaders will serve together during the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.
During the conference, the Primates Council grew to include Archbishop Miguel Uchoa (Brazil) and Archbishop Stephen Than (Myanmar). Near the end of the conference, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit (Kenya) expressed his desire to join the Primates Council and will be welcomed at the next meeting.