Part One: An Anglican Movement for Persecuted Christians around the World
The new Anglican Persecuted Church Network was launched last month at New Wineskins 2019. The New Wineskins Missionary Network’s triennial gathering for mission-minded Anglicans and others with a heart for reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus highlighted the persecuted church at the September event.
The evening prior to New Wineskins 2019, we screened Christians in the Mirror, a new film about global persecution. The film, focusing on Egypt, India, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan, was produced by Joshuacord and filmmaker Jordan Allott’s InAltum productions. Among the powerful encounters are the testimonies of a wife, a daughter, and a mother of Coptic Christians martyred on the Libyan seashore by ISIS.
In addition, Patricia Streeter, who leads ministry for persecuted Christians at St. James Anglican Church, Costa Mesa, CA, and I led a pre-conference on The Persecuted Church before New Wineskins 2019 began. At that pre-conference we made the plans for the Anglican Persecuted Church Network.
Since the Anglican Church in North America’s 2009 birth, global mission partners have exhorted American Anglicans to ensure that “global mission is in the DNA of the province.” But it’s just as important that Western Christians – Anglican and otherwise! – ensure that obedience to the Biblical mandate to support our persecuted brothers and sisters is part of our DNA.
Thus, the New Wineskins Missionary Network welcomed sponsoring a network mobilizing Anglicans to pray and advocate for the global persecuted church. The new Anglican Persecuted Church Network’s (APCN) vision is to live in the reality that we are one Body in Christ. We will encourage fellow Anglicans to solidarity, making a unified stand for all persecuted Christians around the world.
The APCN is a great step in itself, but compelling people to join such a network amidst other activities and concerns is not easy. The APCN provides a page on the New Wineskins website, a Facebook group, and other resources to inform people about the persecuted church around the world through such means as . . . well, the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s International Religious Liberty Program, for one!
But what can move people so much that they say to themselves, “I must do this! I must care about my persecuted brothers and sisters! I must find a way to pray for them, advocate for them, and support them!”?
We had the movement in place with the APCN’s creation, but for the movement to catch fire, it needed a moment – a moment in which the Holy Spirit could touch people’s hearts, convict them, and give them passion for the persecuted.
(Frankly, it needs a succession of moments like that because the enemy does everything he can to stop us from focusing on our persecuted brothers and sisters.) But we entered the first such moment in New Wineskins’ Saturday night session.
More about that experience in “Anglicans Moved for The Persecuted Church, Part Two: An Anglican Moment for Persecuted Christians around the World” coming soon!