Over 1300 people from 53 nations have gathered together for GAFCON IV in Kigali, Rwanda. This conference draws together Anglicans from around the world who are seeking to guard the unchanging, transforming gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world.
The conference is taking place at a unique time in the history of the Anglican Church. In February the Church of England decided to create and implement prayers of blessing for same-sex marriages. In response, the Primates of The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (who represent the majority of the world’s worshipping Anglicans) declared that they are in impaired communion with the Church of England and said that they do not recognise the present Archbishop of Canterbury as the “first among equals” leader of the global Anglican Communion.
On 20 February 2023 the Gafcon Primates endorsed the statement released by the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans pointing to Paragraph 13 of the Jerusalem Declaration (2008) which says: ‘We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed’.
“The Bible stands at the heart of the faith that all Anglican Churches have inherited from the Church of England,” says The Most Reverend Benjamin Kwashi, the General Secretary of GAFCON and an Archbishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria. “That the Church of England has now decided to depart from the Bible’s teaching is troubling for many Anglicans.”
“Some have accused GAFCON of creating division in the Anglican Church, but I must disagree. There have been deep disagreements over the authority of the Bible among members of the Anglican Communion for quite some time. We do not seek division, but rather we want to move with the mission of God in the world. The gospel of our Lord Jesus calls us to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world.”
“I am praying that as we meet together in Kigali, we will be encouraged to continue to walk as disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter what challenges are set before us,” says Archbishop Kwashi.
It is expected that some of the meetings at GAFCON IV will be discussing the recent developments in the Church of England and what they mean for the majority of the 85 million Anglicans worldwide.
“Again and again, when Anglican dioceses have moved away from the clear teaching of Scripture it has led to the establishment of alternative episcopal oversight. It happened first in Canada and the United States, and for over 20 years now it has continued to be needed in Australia, Brazil, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and throughout the world,” says The Most Reverend Dr Foley Beach, Chairman of GAFCON and Primate and Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.
“Now that the Church of England has decided to create and implement prayers of blessing for same-sex marriages, GAFCON expects that the numbers of those seeking alternative episcopal oversight will only increase,” says Archbishop Beach
Delegates at the conference will hear Bible Studies by Bishop Jay Behan (Church of Confessing Anglicans in New Zealand), Archbishop James Wong (Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean), Archbishop Kanishka Raffel (Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia) and Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba (Anglican Church of Uganda). There will be Plenary Sessions each day as well as a number of seminars. The conference program can be viewed here: https://gafcon23.org/schedule/.
GAFCON stands for the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference and they gather together for a conference every 5 years. The last conference was held in Jerusalem in 2018.
Leading the Nigerian delegation is the Primate of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion The Most Revd Henry Ndukuba with his wife, Mrs Angela Ndukuba.
This is the fourth edition of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and it is taking place at the Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda, from 17 to 21 April 2023.
CoN GAFCON IV Media Officer (+234-8032321280)