Meeting at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the Gafcon Primates experienced a welcome of lavish hospitality from the Anglican Church of Kenya.
In a hybrid in-person and online meeting, the Gafcon Primates spent two days in prayer, fellowship, discussion and discernment about many challenging issues in today’s world. Discussions included conversations about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on worship, ministry, discipleship and outreach; the challenge of the “other virus” of departures from biblical authority; and the great hope that is seen as the gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed and embraced even in the midst of difficult circumstances and terrible persecution.
Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda said, “Even when our church buildings are closed in the pandemic, the gospel is being proclaimed and embraced. God is being glorified as lives are being changed and enriched by Christ.”
Noting that the Anglican Church of Kenya had consecrated the first woman as a Diocesan Bishop, the Primates passed the following resolution:
The Jerusalem Declaration affirms that the Bible makes a distinction between salvation issues and other secondary issues. In our discussion, the Primates acknowledged that while there is disagreement and ongoing discussion on the issues of the ordination of women as deacons or priests, and the consecration of women as Bishops, we are agreed that these are not salvation issues and are not issues that will disrupt our mission: to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.
Gafcon General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, updated current programs, and introduced a new initiative to establish a Doctor of Ministry program for Bishops that have attended the Gafcon Bishops Training Initiative (BTI). This new doctoral program will be based at the Alexandria School of Theology and will incorporate studies that are faithful to upholding biblical truths and capitalize on the rich heritage of North African Christianity. In addition, a list of Gafcon-accredited theological schools will be published allowing Bishops to readily identify institutions where they can confidently send ordination candidates for theological training.
Faithful Christians in Wales who are heartbroken over their Province’s formal decision to bless same-sex marriages reached out to the Primates Council following the unanimous decision of the Bench of Bishops in Wales to proceed with blessing same-sex marriages. The Gafcon Primates responded with encouragement and solidarity for the sake of the gospel. Speaking for the entire Council, Chairman Foley Beach said, “To the faithful in Wales, we understand the decision to implement the blessing of same-sex marriages in your Province has been a significant disruption to the faith. It is important to say that you are not alone. As you discern your responses to the situation, you can be sure that we will stand with you in solidarity as you bear witness to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Remember the words of Joshua: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9) – and we are with you as well.”
In Australia, circumstances have arisen that require the establishment of an extra-provincial Diocese to provide a home and oversight for those congregations who are committed to maintaining the historic, biblical faith, as expressed in the Jerusalem Declaration. The Gafcon Primates remain committed to our core values to maintain and proclaim the faith. That includes establishing Dioceses or even Provinces where needed. We recognize the establishment of such an extra-provincial Diocese as being authentically Anglican.
The Primates noted with concern the rise of severe persecution of Christians, especially in Nigeria, and the tragic circumstances in Afghanistan. Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria said: “Persecution will never stop the gospel, it only fuels revival. To those who are suffering, we want to assure you of our love and support. When they kill you, they think they are doing a good work. Stand strong, the God of Jacob is our refuge. He will never leave you or forsake you. Gafcon is standing with you!”
There was great enthusiasm at the decision to hold our next assembly, GAFCON IV, in Rwanda in May of 2023.
Archbishop Ben Kwashi, General Secretary