In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
About 2,000 Anglican representatives gather in Jerusalem under the theme “Proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations”. The movement has grown exponentially due to its commitment to the authority of the Bible.
Around two thousand delegates, including archbishops, pastors and ministry leaders from around the world, have gathered in Jerusalem, to participate in the third 2018 Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).
Each day opens with a worship time, followed by Bible studies and plenary sessions. In the afternoons, the delegates take part in a range of seminars.
GAFCON, a movement that has had an exponential growth in recent years within the Anglican Communion, began in 2008.
At that time, “moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican Communion had reached such a level, that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth”, GAFCON explains on the movement’s website.
THE JERUSALEM DECLARATION
In the first congress, also held in Jerusalem, the members signed the Jerusalem Declaration which focuses on the Bible and its teachings regarding the mission of Christ and his church, as well as marriage and sexuality.
The Declaration talked specifically about marriage in its point 8:
“We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married”.
That statement also denounced that “the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada”, proclaim “a false gospel”, and “no effective action” was taken.
Ten years later, GAFCON meets again in Jerusalem with remarkable growth. In that first gathering they were a little over a thousand; this third congress has almost 2,000 representatives from 50 countries.
The topics chosen for this year conference are grouped into three blocks: Gospel, Family and Mission, all under the theme: “Proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations”.
The movement is defined as “reform and renewal” and it represents “more than 40 million Anglicans in the world, from different contexts, countries, cultures and languages, with different backgrounds, but united in the same vision and mission, sharing the same gospel of God to the nations”, they explain in a statement.
During the Congress, the representatives work in nine different networks that cover aspects such as: Theological education, Laws, Church Planting, Global Mission Partnerships , Youth and Children’s Ministry, Mothers’ Union and Women Senior Leaders, Sustainable Development, Bishops Training Institute, and Intercessors Fellowship.
Joining a network is “a commitment to working with co-members for five years. These networks will function largely virtually, which serves to remove many of the differences that arise from geography, resources and perceived status”.
“Anyone in any network is free to call upon its services or offer whatever degree assistance they are able to render to others: a youth worker in Kinshasa can offer ideas to a youth worker in Kansas”, GAFCON explains.
Equally, “networks can access other networks- a needy church plant can seek the ministry of the intercessors. No hierarchy, no exclusivity, all in the service of all, for the renewal of the Anglican Communion”.
FINAL DECLARATION AND STREAMING
The conference will conclude this weekend with a final statement that has been prepared during the development of the Congress.
The conference can be followed live here.