A wonderful start to GAFCON—your prayers are effective!
I am overwhelmed by the number of old friends I have seen and the new friends I’ve made (in just one day). Moreover, I am so glad to experience such a gospel-centered gathering, and an Anglican one at that. This is the largest gathering of Anglicans in the past 50 years with nearly 2,000 delegates in attendance. There are 53 countries represented and those here represent over 70% of the Anglican Communion. If you add press, observers, and ministry vendors, there are more, of course. Sad to say, it won’t make much news, but I am very glad to be here.
The service was followed by a strong exposition of Luke 22:66-23:25 by Bishop Alfred Owa, bishop of Lango diocese in Uganda. It’s well worth watching when it comes available on the GAFCON website (warning: I will probably say this about all of them).
We had some time in small groups to talk about the passage as well as get to know those in the group. Very glad to have Bishop Nathan and his lovely wife Florence (friends from Rwanda) as a part of my group.
Greetings were brought from Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Jerusalem diocese, Anglican Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The meeting is taking place in his diocese and so it is fitting he should welcome us. He spoke about the Christian witness in the region. Most memorable was his statistic that in 1948, 27% of the population of then Palestine was Christian. Today it is less than 1%. Please do pray for the Christian witness in Jerusalem and in the entire province, the birthplace of Christianity.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, gave the plenary address on ‘God’s Gospel.’ It was a faithful message from Romans 1:1 and was blessed to hear it. One thing to know about the Church of Nigeria: there are more Anglicans in worship on Sunday morning in Nigeria than continental Europe, the U.K., Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand combined.
Archbishop Okoh is the chair of GAFCON:
The theme of the conference is ‘Faithfully Proclaiming Christ to the Nations.’ So, much of the time is spent on conversation on how me might do that. I took advantage of one of the afternoon seminars: ‘What use is the authority of Scripture if the Bible is just not clear?’ This was led by Mark Thompson (principal of Moore College, Sydney) and Jane Tooher (also of Moore College).
Jane did a very good job of helping with the practical side of things, especially in seeing lay people handle the word of God. Jane teaches at Moore College, but also runs the Priscilla and Aquila Centre there. This ministry is a real encouragement for women’s ministry (https://paa.moore.edu.au).
At lunch, I was able to enjoy a conversation with Jonathan Fletcher, retired rector of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon (yes, that Wimbledon, they have a great outreach during the tournament).
Later, a great dinner with my friend David Roseberry, former rector of Christ Church, Plano, and now a rest from a very busy day.