The Gafcon Primates Council met in Uxbridge, UK from 6-9 November 2023 under the chairmanship of the Most Rev. Laurent Mbanda, Archbishop of Rwanda.
We commenced each day with prayer, praise and reflection on Holy Scripture, encouraged by the teaching of Paul, reminding Timothy of the importance of discipleship, the faithfulness of God and that the servant of God should not be ashamed as a workman who correctly handles the word of truth, and to his letter to the Corinthians regarding the importance of preaching Christ Crucified and nothing less.
Conscious of the forthcoming meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England, the Primates reaffirmed their commitment to the Jerusalem Statement of 2008, which describes Gafcon as ‘a spiritual movement to preserve and promote the truth and power of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ as we Anglicans have received it.’ The Jerusalem Statement rejects the proposition that authentic Anglicans are only those recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the contrary, the criteria of Anglican identity are outlined in the fourteen points of the Jerusalem Declaration which continue to define authentic Anglicanism, despite the abandonment of many of these features by those who purport to be Anglicans. We have witnessed over the past twenty-five years the slow, but relentless, moral decay in parts of the Anglican Communion where the world’s values have been endorsed and embraced, replacing the clear teaching of God’s word written.
We continue to affirm that we are not leaving the Anglican Communion. We are delighted to work with the Global South (GSFA) in the task of resetting the Communion, which was foreshadowed in the 2008 Jerusalem Statement, and explicitly declared in the Kigali Commitment of 2023. Given the failure of the so-called Instruments of Communion, we shall not be attending the 2024 Primates Meeting in Rome, convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and encourage all orthodox Primates to join us in this stand against those who support a revisionist agenda.
Furthermore, we encourage Gafcon Provinces to consider withdrawing all links with any English diocese whose bishop supports the proposals, currently before the General Synod, to sanction the blessing of same-sex couples. We also extend the right hand of fellowship to and support all bishops, clergy and laity who oppose these revisionist doctrines and courageously uphold the teaching of Christ on the sanctity of marriage as God has ordained it (Matthew 19:4-6). We especially commend those English bishops who have distanced themselves from the egregious recommendations of the House of Bishops.
We likewise commend the ministry and witness of the Anglican Network in Europe as the appropriate and necessary provision of Gafcon for those who cannot in good conscience remain in a Church which flagrantly abandons the teaching of Scripture.
We rejoiced in hearing reports of gospel growth in various extra-provincial dioceses authenticated by the Gafcon Primates. Both the Anglican Mission in England and the Anglican Convocation in Europe, which comprise the Anglican Network in Europe, have been blessed with a growth in number of congregations and members. Likewise, the Church of Confessing Anglicans in Aotearoa New Zealand and the recently formed Diocese of the Southern Cross in Australia have also seen gospel growth as Christ is faithfully proclaimed.
We welcomed Presiding Bishop Glenn Lyons to take his seat on the Primates Council, having endorsed the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of Southern Africa (REACH-SA) as an authentic Anglican Province, after a 150-year history of successive Archbishops of Canterbury, who refused to endorse, let alone acknowledge, what Archbishop Cranmer would have clearly seen as an authentic Anglican Church (Article XIX, On the Church).
As our movement grows, we agreed to refocus our attention on strengthening the nine Networks established in 2018. These networks covered a range of Christian ministries, for the health of the Church.
- Prayer – providing resources for the Church
- Women’s Ministry – promoting their ministry in family church and society
- Youth and Children Ministry – our mission to the current generation
- Church Planting – promoting a global strategy for evangelisation and re-
- Theological Education – enabling access to sound theological education
- Global Mission Partnerships – promoting cross-cultural mission
- Lawyers’ Taskforce – sharing resources for Chancellors.
- Sustainable Development – global partnerships for transformative development
- Suffering Church – bearing the burden of those who suffer for their faith
We have reactivated the Bishops Training Institute (BTI) under the guidance of Bishop Henry Orombi. While the BTI has been in abeyance since the onset of COVID-19, we pledged to work with the GSFA in the education and formation of those elected as bishops in the church of God.
We received the resignation of the Most Reverend Ben Kwashi, former Bishop of Jos, as the General Secretary, a position he has held for five and a half years. We acknowledged the extraordinary gifts of this servant of Christ, his global promotion of Gafcon and his passion for evangelism and equipping the saints. Archbishop Kwashi will continue to be involved in various programs of the Gafcon Movement. We appointed the Very Reverend Paul Donison, Rector and Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Plano, Texas, as the next General Secretary and pray that God will bless him as he takes up this significant and strategic role in the Gafcon Movement.
Faithfulness to Christ is costly. We grieved over a report from the Province of Myanmar, whose church and people face significant challenges. We also received news from the Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, that on All Saints’ Day, one of his churches in Omdurman had been destroyed by warring factions in the area. We commended both of our episcopal brothers and their provinces to the gracious care of our Sovereign God. We also prayed for those suffering in South Sudan, in Gaza and Israel and in Ukraine.
Without the gospel, we are lost. Without the fellowship of like-minded Anglicans, we are impoverished. Without prayer, we are powerless. We therefore commend the following Gafcon Prayer to all members of our Gafcon family for regular petition before our gracious God.
Eternal God and gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ died for our redemption; commissioned His disciples to preach the good news; and sent the indwelling Holy Spirit in every generation to embrace and proclaim salvation in Christ alone: Arise and defend your Church, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Shine the light of your Holy Word upon hearts darkened by error and strengthen the work of Gafcon so that the Anglican Communion throughout the world proclaims Christ faithfully to the nations, that captives may be set free, the straying rescued, and the confused restored.
Bind your children together in truth, love, unity and courage, that we, with all your saints, may inherit your eternal kingdom, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
The Gafcon Primates Council
The Most Reverend Laurent Mbanda – Rwanda
The Most Reverend Miguel Uchoa – Brazil
The Most Reverend Foley Beach – North America
The Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba – Church of All Nigeria
The Most Reverend Stepehen Kaziimba – Uganda
Presiding Bishop Glenn Lyons – The Provence of REACH Southern Africa
The Most Reverend Tito Zavala – Chile
The Most Reverend Stephen Than Myint Oo – Myanmar
The Most Reverend Ezekiel Kondo – Sudan
The Most Reverend Samy Shehata – Alexandria
The Most Reverend James Wong – Indian Ocean
The Rt Reverend Malcolm Richards – representing the Archbishop of Sydney
9 November 2023