Global Encouragement for Welsh Anglicans

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Bishop Stuart Bell writes: Archbishop Ben was the guest of the Evangelical Fellowship of the Church in Wales meeting with Anglican leaders for 24 hours (28-29 September) at the Hookses, the retreat of the late John Stott in Dale, Pembrokeshire.  In one session he spoke of what God is doing more widely in the Anglican communion and in another he gave encouragement from the Scriptures and from his own experience that we should stand firm.  “We have nothing in Nigeria”, he said, “so if we give up Christ then we would have less than nothing; whereas if you in the west were to give up Christ you still would have your comfortable lifestyle.”

“The church has delegated the care of persecuted Christians to other organisations.” It seems so wrong that the church should pass motions about climate change and human sexuality but at the same time seem to ignore the suffering of fellow Christians who are being persecuted around the world.

During the following 24 hours (29-20 September) he spoke at the Wales Leadership forum.  On the Friday evening he was interviewed about his own Christian experience and then he responded to questions from the floor.  On the Saturday morning he spoke on the theme of hope in a bruised and broken world.  He based his address on the concluding words of Habakkuk inviting us to rejoice however difficult our circumstances might be.  Those comments come from a man who has lived through the killings of more than 50,000 Christians in Nigeria and the burnings of hundreds of churches in his own diocese.  ‘If we embrace homosexuality,’ he said, ‘then that would give the Muslims one more reason to kill us’.  

Not only has Archbishop Ben faced death by the hands of murderous opponents, but more recently he has faced death from stage four cancer on two separate occasions.  He retired from his ministry in Jos on 30th September whilst he was with us, only to continue his ministry as General Secretary of Gafcon but now moving to a new compound where his wife will be caring for 400 orphans.  That’s fruitful living!