From 25th February to 1st March, 138 delegates, including four Primates and 31 bishops and archbishops, gathered in Dubai for ‘G19’. The conference was designed for those who had been unable to attend Gafcon 2018 in Jerusalem for political reasons and many came from contexts where there are severe restrictions on Christian witness.
Gafcon Chairman, Archbishop Okoh, set the tone in his opening address, reminding delegates of the wonder of the gospel, while Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali gave Bible Readings from Philippians, noting the appropriateness of this prison epistle because Paul’s restriction (his chains) actually became an opportunity for the gospel. And Archbishop Ben Kwashi, Gafcon’s General Secretary, spoke powerfully out of his own experience, including three attempts on his life, about the need to be gospel centred in every way, clearing our minds of all thoughts of vengeance and living with simplicity and humility.
Difficult facts about the Anglican Communion in the West were also faced with a powerful presentation from Archbishop Foley Beach, Gafcon Chairman-elect, showing how what is often called revisionism is more accurately the Trojan horse of a new paganism which the so called ‘instruments of communion’, the Canterbury based global institutions of the Communion, have failed to recognize or resist.
The enduring legacy of G19 will be not only the work of the Holy Spirit in individual lives, but also the relationships which have been formed and deepened. Delegates were able to participate in seminars led by the nine Gafcon network leaders and have recommended that the Gafcon Primates develop a new network ‘to provide fellowship, advocacy and intentional prayer’ for those in restricted situations so that the gifts of those who suffer ‘can be used throughout our Communion.’