October 18, 2013

Traditionalist Anglicans Prepare to Convene in Nairobi

This week Faith McDonnell and I will travel to Nairobi, Kenya for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). In 2008, orthodox Anglicans from the U.S., Australia, the U.K., and across the Global South met in Jerusalem. The meeting launched a new movement within the worldwide Anglican Communion calling for a return to a vibrant Anglicanism centered upon Christ’s Great Commission to “go forth and make disciples of all nations.”

Recent years have been both the best and worst of times for the family of churches descended from the missionary activities of the Church of England. The Anglican Communion has been deeply divided between groups who believe differently about the role of Holy Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Anglicans in places like Nigeria, Sudan and Pakistan are increasingly facing the challenge of Islam, with deadly persecution often the consequence of faithfulness to Christ.

At the same time, there have never been more Anglican Christians, with churches in the Global South witnessing incredible growth. New churches are being planted and lives are being changed.

Amidst this turbulent but hopeful time, over 1,200 Anglican bishops, clergy and lay leaders will gather once again on October 21 to study scripture, worship, pray, and discern the Holy Spirit’s call to the churches. During GAFCON, I will be reporting on a series of mini-conferences focused on topics such as “how do we re-evangelize the West?” You will be able to see my reporting here on IRD’s blog, Juicy Ecumenism.

After the conference concludes on October 26, Faith will depart for South Sudan in order to meet with refugees and learn firsthand from Christians who struggle in an environment of persecution and insecurity.

I will fly on to Kampala, Uganda for a weeklong visit to Uganda Christian University (UCU), the Anglican Church’s leading educational institution in East Africa. A decade ago, UCU was a small theological college. Now it educates 15,000 students from across East Africa, also drawing study abroad students from the West.

My trip also promises the opportunity to visit the site of the Ugandan Martyrs who were instrumental in rooting Christianity in that nation. I will be joined by IRD Board Member Dr. Graham Walker of Patrick Henry College, Anglican Bishop John Guernsey and over two dozen others.

We request your prayers for safety and a spirit of flexibility and humility for everyone making the journey to Nairobi. Thank you for remembering IRD and the participants of GAFCON in your prayers over the coming week.

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