Dear Friends, As Mim and I return from a week or so in Israel, wonderfully paid for by Mim’s family, my heart is full of the encouragements and challenges that GAFCON has provided for us all. Those on email will have received a copy of the GAFCON statement. Those not on email can pick up copies at the back of church. This statement is both an encouragement and a challenge:
1. Encouragement – Those of us who are committed to the teaching of Jesus Christ as recorded for us in the pages of the Bible will have been encouraged by the boldness and clarity with which the vast majority of Anglicans have expressed their desire to “Proclaim Christ faithfully to the Nations” – the theme of the conference. This renews our courage to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus Christ. The example of Anglican believers being persecuted for their faith, in Nigeria, Myanmar, Uganda, Kenya and New York, was humbling and inspiring. I had the privilege of meeting with believers, both lay and ordained, from Kenya who face the challenge of refusing money from the west, which comes with strings attached to accept unbiblical teaching on sexuality. This means that often clergy go without any pay, and for many, this is in the context where they face desertification and associated poverty, the abduction of their children or arranged marriages with Al Shabab militants and government corruption. This should encourage us, that fellow Anglican believers are willing to sacrifice a great deal to remain faithful to the clear teaching of the Bible and so renew our courage to do so also.
2. Challenge – In our situation we are considering the sacrifices of remaining faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Church of England. It was noticeable that the clarity and boldness of global Anglicanism, has made a clear public statement of faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, potentially at great cost to themselves, to support us and encourage us to stand faithfully with them. Although we may differ on strategy, what was left in no doubt was that to stand in unity with the majority of Anglicans globally, in our context, as in many, will be costly. You may be aware that already Rico Tice has stood firmly against the direction in which the Archbishop of Canterbury is leading the Church of England and been criticized for it. If we are to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ it will involve sacrifice. Following Jesus does! Yet there were many testimonies of the joy and freedom of taking such a path out of compromise. Many sacrifices have been faced by our brothers and sisters in the USA, Canada and Scotland, yet they testify also of renewed power and joy in the Holy Spirit. If we follow their example, it will involve sacrifice for us, but also great joy. My heart is with the GAFCON statement and I hope and pray that all of our hearts are!
With much love in Christ, John Parker.

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