GAFCON vice-chairman’s September letter

Some want us to accept that it is essential to being Anglican that you are recognised by Canterbury, but we find our identity first and foremost through our Biblical and Anglican doctrinal inheritance in Christ.

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Laurent Mbanda reading the GAFCON III Communique - 1.jpg

Greetings from Kigali, Rwanda!

This month, Archbishop Foley Beach has kindly invited me to write the monthly Chairman’s letter and it is a great joy to have this opportunity to write to you.  I am full of thankfulness for God’s goodness and favour to the Gafcon movement as ordinary Anglicans around the world work together to make Christ known and encourage each other in faithful discipleship. As former Gafcon Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has recently commented, the church should be a colony of heaven. It is our great calling to serve the Kingdom of God, and to strive to ensure that the world does not colonise the Church.

Gafcon is committed to strategic ministry as we proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations. This week, our Church Planting Network is holding its first annual conference in North Carolina with church planters from across the Communion in attendance and early next month there will be another Bishops Training Institute Conference, this time in Brazil and our first in South America.

Here in Rwanda there are also exciting developments. On 6th September, all eleven of our dioceses began a project coordinated by the Gafcon Church Planting network in partnership with mission agencies including CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) and the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA). Each diocese has received a new motorcycle and a Jesus Film backpack for evangelism and church planting. This pilot project will enable us to reach more men, women and children all over Rwanda. It will be carefully monitored over the next ten months and I hope it can be developed to reach many more with the gospel around the world.

This is just one way in which Gafcon is reaching Anglicans at the grassroots and equipping for mission. However, we do need to ensure that we have global Anglican Communion structures which are fit for purpose and I am very much looking forward to welcoming bishops and their spouses from around the world to our Kigali 2020 Conference from 9th-14th June. The program is taking shape and I am very excited by all I believe the Lord will do among us as we meet together.

As part of the continuing biblical realignment of our Anglican Communion, I am pleased to announce that the Synod of the Anglican Church of Rwanda has passed a resolution to change our name from ‘Province de l’ Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda’ to simply ‘Eglise Anglicane du Rwanda’. 

Removing the word ‘Province’ is a significant change. We are not subjects. Some want us to accept that it is essential to being Anglican that you are recognised by Canterbury, but we find our identity first and foremost through our Biblical and Anglican doctrinal inheritance in Christ. The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008 concluded ‘We can only come to the devastating conclusion that ‘we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’’. We seek only to be a colony of heaven!

Finally, on behalf of the whole Gafcon movement I would like to congratulate Bishop Stephen Kaziimba and Archbishop Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba following their recent election as the next Primates of the Church of Uganda and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) respectively. They are courageous and gifted men of God, and I very much look forward to our partnership in the gospel through the Gafcon movement.

The Lord be with you!

The Most Rev. Dr. Laurent Mbanda 
Vice-Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council