Christians meet in Jerusalem to ‘renew the Anglican Communion’
Nearly 2000 Anglican delegates from over 50 countries met in Jerusalem this week under the theme, ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations, in what is claimed to be the largest international gathering of Anglicans in 50 years. The meeting is marking the 10th anniversary of Gafcon – a renewal movement launched in resistance to revisionist and pro-gay movements in the Anglican Communion.
GAFCON Jerusalem 2018 is the movement’s conference launching 9 new ministry networks. The Gafcon movement fosters cross-cultural ministry, evangelism, and development in between meetings. It also establishes new Anglican provinces and branches in areas where it argues that theological revisionism has distorted the Gospel. One of the highlights of the conference has been the enthusiastic welcome that delegates from the newly formed province in Brazil and the Irish branch of GAFCON have received.
As one attendee said, “When I became an Anglican, I was told that there was this global fellowship of believers from every tribe, tongue, and nation, but it was a concept, an idea. Now I have witnessed the nations gathered.”
The grassroots movement is evenly represented at the conference by clergy and laity. Each day opens with worship led by a choir made up of members drawn from across Nigeria. The morning includes Bible studies and plenary sessions, while in the afternoon the delegates are learning and sharing from 24 different seminars ranging from topics such as personal discipleship to sustainable development.
Through the livestream and social media channels, the conference is aiming to encourage an audience far beyond just the local delegates. In the first 48 hours, over 163,000 people have viewed content from the conference through social media and over 31,000 have watched the live stream videos.
The South American primate, Gregory Venables, quickly moved to dispel the notion that GAFCON was ‘schismatic. He said: “We are not leaving the Anglican Communion, we are the Anglican Communion.”
GAFCON says that it is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.