Press Statement at the close of Gafcon
The Most Rev. Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu
Archbishop of Church of Uganda
21st April 2023
Thank you our Media Evangelists for joining us for this virtual press conference.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
We decided it would be best to give you an immediate update on the Gafcon conference. Since we are still in Kigali, we opted for this virtual press conference. We trust our friends in broadcast media will be able to pick the live feed for your purposes.
First, I want to thank all our Bishops for mobilizing their Christians so well to attend the conference in such big numbers. Everyone had to fund their own participation in the conference, so it was a big sacrifice and a very big sign of their commitment to the Lord and his Church.
More than 1300 people gathered at the Kigali Convention Centre from 52 countries. Uganda had 207 delegates registered and was the third largest delegation at the conference, after the United States and Nigeria. The Church of Uganda represented 16% of the delegates. I am so proud of our Bishops, clergy, and Christians for this commitment to their Lord and his Church.
The conference theme was taken from John 6.68 – “To Whom shall we go?” We heard that we first go to Jesus who has the words of eternal life and then we go to the world with the message of Salvation through Jesus.
There was inspirational worship, excellent Bible teaching, helpful background information on the current challenges in the Anglican Communion, and practical equipping to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a world searching for answers to life’s challenges.
A communique was issued at the end of the Conference entitled the Kigali Commitment. We will make copies available to you.
We are very pleased with the Kigali Commitment because we believe it charts a way forward for global Anglicanism to reclaim its historic and Biblical faith.
There are two complementary groups that are joining forces to reset global Anglicanism on the foundations of the Bible.
1. Gafcon is a mission movement calling the church to proclaim the unchanging truth in a changing world. It authenticates Anglican church-planting movements in revisionist provinces as well as in places where there are very few or no churches.
2. The Global South Fellowship of Anglicans has developed a Covenant that provides good governance structures that reset the Anglican Communion around a shared, common confession of faith and mutual accountability to prevent future doctrinal crises.
Both groups are necessary to reclaim global Anglicanism for its Biblically-based missional heritage. The effort to reset global Anglicanism is a massive one because of the theological decline in most of the Western world. This conference has helped us understand each group’s unique role and contribution and why we need both in this cause.
As Church of Uganda, we are delighted in the clarity the conference has given to Gafcon as a mission movement and Global South as the church structure where all current and newly authenticated Anglican church-planting networks can find a global home that honours Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and the authority of the Bible. The Church of Uganda fully supports both groups and their calling.
We have recognized that the Archbishop of Canterbury has abdicated his historic place as the “First among Equals” among the Primates and Churches of the Anglican Communion, and we no longer recognize him as our leader. The Church of England’s General Synod decision to provide prayers of blessing for same-sex unions and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s enthusiastic support for it are decisions we can’t recognize and have resulted in breaking fellowship with him and the Church of England.
We believe the Cairo Covenant, developed by the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, provides a much needed and ready-made alternative church structure for such a time as this. The Church of Uganda has adopted the Cairo Covenant and encourages all Bible-believing Provinces to study it and do the same.
We will continue to support Gafcon because of its commitment to mission. In fact, we will adopt Gafcon’s proposal to declare the next ten years as a Decade of Discipleship, Evangelism, and Mission. This commitment fits with our strategic plan and we will continue to give this priority great emphasis.
As a conference, we reaffirmed our commitment to Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth conference that declared “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,’ and advised against the ‘legitimising or blessing of same sex unions.” All 1300 delegates from 52 countries supported this historic position of global Anglicanism.
While this conference has been going on, we are aware that the President has been considering the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that Parliament sent to him at the end of last month. The bill has been returned to Parliament for “improvements.”
The Church of Uganda appreciates the President’s consideration of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and his desire to improve it. We are praying that its return to Parliament will produce an even better Bill that serves and protects all Ugandans.
We appeal to Parliament and the President to re-draft the Bill to create legislation that provides greater protection for children and youth from grooming and trafficking, and provides restrictions on promotion of LGBTQ+ relationships, and restrictions of those convicted of sexual offenses to be employed in organizations that work directly with children.
In the meantime, we are grateful that the existing laws remain in place. They are good laws, and they are strong laws. They only need to be enforced.
As I’ve said before, for those who have been caught up in the lies of homosexuality, fornication, and adultery, God wants to set you free from the bondage of those lies. Know that this Easter season – and the Easter season lasts for 50 days – Jesus is risen to empower you to be free from those lies and from those sins. It is possible to have that freedom because Jesus has given us the victory.
The Most Rev. Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.