Global Anglican Conference reaffirms need for Bible conformity
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/06/global-anglican-conference-reaffirms-need-for-bible-conformity/
By Irene Best Nyapendi
The fourth Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) brought together 1,302 delegates representing 52 countries, including 315 bishops, 456 other clergy and 531 laity. The April 17-21 conference was held in Rwanda under the theme: “To whom shall we go?”
Delegates at GAFCON seek to guard the unchanging, transforming gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world.
Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop Church of Uganda (COU) who also doubles as the Chancellor of Uganda Christian University (UCU), said Uganda made up 16% of the delegates.
Kaziimba commended COU bishops for attending the conference in such a big number, saying it was a sign of their commitment to the Lord and His Church. The Archbishop said the three-day conference was full of inspirational worship, excellent Bible teaching and helpful background information on the current challenges in the Anglican Communion.
“We also had practical equiping to share the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a world searching for answers to life’s challenges,” Kaziimba said.
Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the UCU Vice Chancellor, said the conference offered a wonderful time of fellowship and repentance.
“It was a very good time of worship, reflection and prayer, both individually and as country groups,” he said. “We also had time to repent on behalf of our church – the Anglican Communion.”
In an interactive session, delegates expressed their views on the challenges facing the Church globally and the direction they would like to see it take.
On the last day of the conference, the Archbishops of all the provinces present issued the “Kigali Commitment.” In groups, the delegates went through the draft statement and gave their input in a formal statement that represents the position of the Anglican Communion.
The Kigali commitment statement, which Mushengyezi urged believers to read, recognizes the importance of confession, repenting and remaining faithful to the teachings of the Bible. It speaks against being swayed by teachings that are not in conformity with the Bible and with the orthodox doctrine of the church.
“We were pleased with the Kigali commitment because we believe it charts a way forward for global Anglicanism to reclaim its historic and Biblical faith,” Kaziimba said.
At the conference, the church leaders resolved to officially cut ties with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England.
“The view was that unless they repent and return to the faith and salvation, we can no longer walk together with the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, given their Synod resolution which allows clergy to bless same-sex unions, approved supplemental prayers and liturgies for such occasions,” Mushengyezi said.
GAFCON promised to offer support to churches including those in the Church of England that are willing to remain faithful to what God teaches.
The GAFCON and Global South Primates are expected to offer further guidance on a new structure that will give hope and a home to Anglican Christians worldwide.
Aligned with the conference resolutions, the Vice Chancellor said UCU’s Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology needs to refocus its training.
“We need to be more careful now with where we send our clergy and ordinands for training, where we send our priests for teaching and what kind of teaching they go through,” Mushengyezi said. “It’s important that we train faithful church leaders who will lead us on the right path of salvation and doctrine.”
Rev. Canon Paul Wasswa Ssembiro, UCU’s Chaplain, said UCU participated so that they experience first-hand the developments in the church and thereafter, advise and guide the COU.
“It was important for us to be part of this because UCU trains clergy for the COU and also gives counsel to the house of bishops in matters of theology,” Ssembiro said.
Canon Ssembiro said while at GAFCON, he felt great joy to witness that the Anglican Church has many Christians who still uphold the authority of the Bible.
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