GAFCON bishops group photo - 1.jpg

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”(Isaiah 43:19). The first Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008 proclaimed that it was  “not just a moment in time but a movement in the Spirit.” Fifteen years later, Global Anglicans are being called to assume leadership of a revived, reformed, and reordered Anglican Communion worldwide.


And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only…. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying,  “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:3-4,12)

These Fourteen Theses represent an attempt to sketch a providential history of global Anglicanism over the past twenty-five years. There is biblical precedent for this attempt in the prophetic history that runs from Deuteronomy through Kings, which details God’s judgement on the persistent idolatry of Israel that led to the overthrow of David’s kingdom, the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the exile of the people, to be followed by the dawn of a new age and a new covenant.

These Theses describe an  “Ebenezer moment” for the Anglican Communion and propose a critical next step: a costly but necessary separation from the Church of England as the mother church and from the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a focus of Anglican unity. In truth, this separation has been happening since 1998, as Global Anglicans have begun charting their own way forward.

Any genuine reform of the Church involves a threefold cord: renewal of faith and mission; reform of doctrine, discipline, and worship; and reordering of church polity at the local, regional and international levels. This pattern was true in ancient Israel, in the early church, and at the Protestant Reformation in Europe and England. The challenge for contemporary Anglicanism is to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches in the context of Global Anglicanism.

This proposal is offered to Global Anglicans as they assemble in Kigali in April 2023. It reflects my own focus on the  “movement in the Spirit” that took place in Jerusalem in 2008. It is offered as well to the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches,  which will meet in 2024. The Global South Fellowship is a sister movement with Gafcon, with overlapping memberships and visions. Gafcon has contributed the movement’s best formulary in the Jerusalem Declaration; the Global South Fellowship has approved a Covenant, which can serve as a first step in constituting a new Communion.


I write today from the long shadows of Lent and the “darkling plain” of contemporary Western nihilism.

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;  and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders… (Joel 2:12-16a)

GAFCON IV will meet in one month’s time in the dawn of the Easter season, looking toward Pentecost. May the spirit of Samuel, the spirit of Joel, the spirit of Isaiah, the Spirit of the Incarnate and Risen Lord invade that gathering. For without repentance nothing is possible, but with God all things are possible.

Stephen Noll
23 March 2023

NOTE: I am publishing a collation of Commentary on Theses 11-14 here. I shall soon be publishing the entire Commentary online and in a downloadable PDF.