Some moments in time are hinge points in history. There’s a before and an after as a door closes in one direction and opens in another. GAFCON IV in Kigali, Rwanda, was this kind of moment.
I had the privilege to serve as a delegate representing the Diocese of the Carolinas, joining 1300 clergy and lay leaders from around the globe to prayerfully seek God’s will for Anglican Christians who believe in the supremacy of Christ and the authority of the Bible at a time when establishment figures in the Anglican Communion have turned away from these truths.
The question “To Whom Shall We Go?” anchored our Bible studies and worship. Again and again, we joyfully responded together “We go to Christ, who alone has the words of eternal life (John 6:68) and then we go with Christ to the whole world. Amen”
The global nature of Biblical Anglicanism is a gift to us and helps fulfill God’s mandate to proclaim Jesus faithfully to the nations. This mandate is likely not the thing that drew you to Holy Trinity as your church home. It’s not the thing that drew me in. I yearned for a community where I might consistently hear Gospel truth and grow in community with others who desire to look more like Jesus as we look more at Him. But over the last decade as an Anglican Relief and Development Fund trustee, a member of the American Anglican Council and a delegate to GAFCON II in Nairobi and to Global South 2016 in Cairo, I’ve come face to face and heart to heart with believers whose lives are in real danger because they follow Jesus. More than 100 million people in the world are displaced, vulnerable and homeless, and many of them are our Christian brothers and sisters.
Two men in my small prayer group in Kigali brought this reality up close. A bishop from Myanmar where hundreds of Christians are killed each day, and a bishop from South Sudan who now ministers in refugee camps because so many of his people have fled violence and famine, became dear to me. The Spirit of Christ knit our hearts together in prayer and in worship. It was apparent that the joy of the Lord is their strength. These men stand strong for the truth of the Gospel against threats and material enticements, believing that “a Christianity that costs us nothing is not Biblical”.
A PhD student at East Africa Christian University shared her story of abuse during the Rwandan genocide. She is separated from her husband and sons while she pursues her dream to give back to the country she loves. Her past is painful, but her future is bright because the joy of the Lord is her strength, as well.
Archbishop Laurent Mbanda of Rwanda and his beautiful wife, Chantal, hosted 15 of us for lunch at their home after church on Sunday before GAFCON IV. Just two days later, they received the devastating news that their 33 year-old son, living in the US, had died in his sleep. Their grief is deep but their resolve to serve their Lord Jesus Christ is clear. Archbishop Mbanda is the next Chairman of the GAFCON movement and he is already at work, walking through the door that is open to a renewed Anglican future.
What is that future? It is a future grounded in the truth of God’s word from ages past that is living and active today, the word that proclaims Christ’s supremacy and Scripture’s authority. It is a future led by leaders of GAFCON and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans in the urgent resetting and reordering of Anglican structures apart from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England, who have failed to contend for the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
The goal is that orthodox Anglicans worldwide will have a clear identity, a global ‘spiritual home’ of which they can be proud, and a strong leadership structure that gives them stability and direction as Global Anglicans. We therefore commit to pray that God will guide this process of resetting, and that GAFCON and GSFA will keep in step with the Spirit.
Most importantly of all, we commit ourselves afresh to the gospel mission of proclaiming the crucified, risen and ascended Christ, calling on all to acknowledge him as Lord in repentance and faith, and living out a joyful, faithful obedience to his Word in all areas of our lives.
(The Kigali Commitment)
Please join me in prayer for our leaders as they develop structures for a renewed Communion to be adopted in Cairo, Egypt next May. Please stay informed through resources we can make available to you so we at Holy Trinity can play the role our good God has for us, for the good of His Kingdom.
This hinge point in history is our reformation moment.
As stated in the Kigali Commitment,
We commit ourselves into the hands of our almighty and loving heavenly Father with confidence that he will fulfill all his promises and, even through a time of pruning, Christ will build his church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!
Written by Willa Kane