United Adoration - Gafcon has a Song to Sing!
United Adoration seeks to bring artists together for the glory of God, the healing of His Church and the empowerment of local congregations to sing their song, tell their story and move forward in their mission.
I was honored to be a part of the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem this year. It marked an important time for thousands of brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers from every corner of the globe, to affirm our commitment to “Proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.”
One of the many highlights for me happened during evening prayer. We were being led in a familiar hymn, and all of a sudden, there was this swell of sound where the voices of the thousands in the seats drowned out those singing on stage. It was so powerful and unexpected that I simply closed my eyes, sat in silence, and listened. I heard a swirling diversity of accents, voices, and tones; and yet I heard the simple unity that praising our Lord brings. In that moment, I felt like I was home amidst my tribe, my family in Christ. And in that moment, I felt like I had a small glimpse of heaven.
That’s the power of musical worship to unite us, change us, and reach deep into our souls.
In 2012, Rev. Dave Frincke and I started something called United Adoration. It began with a pretty small vision: to write new music that fits into the liturgy of our local congregation. We soon realized that there were a great many people around our nation, and beyond, that desired to write fresh, home grown music too. And so we began hosting songwriting retreats and training leaders in North and South America, Africa, and Europe to release the Spirit-inspired song and sounds of local congregations.
As the United Adoration community grew, so did our vision.
A couple weeks ago, we had our first UA Global Retreat where over 70 of us from 4 continents spent the better part of three days worshipping, writing dozens of new songs, building partnerships, and casting the global vision.
Our vision is to train native leaders in every corner of GAFCON to bring artists together for the glory of God, the healing of his church, and the empowerment of local congregations to sing their song, tell their story, and move forward in their mission.
It’s a global vision for a global church.
United Adoration is apart of the Greenhouse Movement under Missioner General William Beasley. We are also partners in GAFCON’s Global Mission Partnerships Network, formed this June. As part of this network, I believe there are two ways UA can strengthen GAFCON’s mission of "Defending and Proclaiming the Gospel."
GAFCON HAS A SONG TO SING
The Anglican Church has one of the richest histories of any denomination in musical worship, but currently, most of the songs sung in our congregations come from very few sources.
Before our first UA retreat in Nairobi, Kenya, a dear friend of mine asked everyone a simple question: "90% of the songs we sing on a Sunday morning come from the west. Africa has a strong voice. When did someone tell us to stop writing and singing our own songs?”
I would say that we, as Global Confessing Anglicans, have a strong voice and song. Right now, the Anglican communion (and beyond) needs to hear those songs. Why? Because the songs we write will showcase not only our diversity in musical style but our unity around the faithful preaching of the biblical Gospel.
Our songs will tell the story of GAFCON and everything that God is doing in our midst around the globe.
EVERY REVIVAL HAS A SOUND
When God moves on earth, he gives his people a song. During the Welsh revival, "Here is Love" could be heard echoing across the valleys. During the East African revival, “Tukutendereza" was sung across the nations. They weren’t written to spark revival, but were birthed from the Gospel transforming people, cities, and nations.
United Adoration isn’t about writing “the next hit song”, but about capturing the songs and sounds of revival in cities and nations across GAFCON. And songs travel. They remind us to pray for our Anglican family. They inspire mission. They engage our hearts with God.
What would it look like if a church in Australia sang passionate praise from a church in Nigeria? Or a church in the U.S. worships to a song from Brazil? I imagine it may be like a little piece of heaven.
Someday we will join the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven around the throne of God as one family. And we won’t see our hurts, our sorrows, our differences, our preferences. We will only see the glorious majesty of our God, and the His beautiful tapestry called the Church.
Then we will sing a new, never-ending, glorious song.
Until then, we’re doing more than just making music and singing songs. We’re practicing for eternity.
I am excited to see how the partnership of United Adoration and GAFCON will bear fruit.
United Adoration can partner by hosting songwriting retreats, training leaders to encourage ongoing songwriting in your community, and by being a resource to connect GAFCON artists and music.
To find out more about UA, read more about what happened at the Global Retreat, discover fresh songs, or partner with us by hosting songwriting retreat in your area, visit our website www.unitedadoration.com.
Rev Justin Clifton
Rector, St. Luke the Healer
Co-Founder, United Adoration