Partnering and Planting–A Very Anglican Activity of Gafcon Ireland!





“I urge you to be encouraged and strengthened in the Lord that together we will bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and finally attain everlasting life.”
-Archbishop Ben Kwashi





What a wonderful visit and encouragement to receive from incoming Secretary General of the global Gafcon movement! Gafcon Ireland was privileged to receive him at the annual two-day residential attended by over 50 church leaders in his first visit to a Gafcon branch since his election. His encouragement fit with the message of our other guests:


“Of Gafcon Ireland’s four ‘P’s’, Partnering and Planting

will be the most difficult to do”

Canon Alan Hawkins, Leader of Gafcon’s Church Planting Network


The four P’s of Gafcon Ireland are to PROCLAIM, PARTNER, PLANT and PREPARE, and Alan Hawkins is quite right to notice the significance of placing PARTNER and PLANT in the middle. They are central to the future of Anglican ministry in Ireland!


Gafcon Ireland is already PROCLAIMING the message of the gospel through parish ministry. We are already PREPARING people for gospel ministry through theologyIreland (www.theologyireland.com), but PLANTING new congregations and PARTNERING with like-minded organisations to do so are not so easy. Yet Gafcon Ireland has committed to plant 50 churches in the next 50 years!


But our guests shocked us by sharing their opinion: “this is too small a vision!”


Our guests come with experience from new Anglican movements in the USA and England. Our American brothers were thrown out of The Episcopal Church because they would not turn from scripture. The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) did not turn inwards in self-protection after this painful experience. Quite the reverse! ACNA looked to the desperate need to multiply faithful Anglican churches that would evangelise. They began to plant new churches—and 488 authentic Anglican churches were planted and remain after just 5 years.(1)


Our guests from England, Rev. Lee McMunn of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) and Bishop Andy Lines, gave the same encouragement through teaching from John’s third letter, interviews, and in gospel-driven personal conversations during breaks and over meals.


But does this fit with being authentically Anglican?


Dr. Ashley Null – the great scholar of Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation– provided a masterclass in foundational Anglican theology. The Anglican Book of Homilies, the Book of Common Prayer – the ‘Title Deeds’ of Anglicanism – demonstrate that Anglicanism is movement founded on Scripture, concerned with sin, justification by faith, and the love of God!


This love that begins with God calls in our Anglican communion service:


Presbyter: “Lift up your hearts”

Congregation: “We lift them up to the Lord”


“For Cranmer, the whole point of the reformation was restoring God’s glory, and restoring Christian lives motivated by a new ruling love for God that comes through the proclamation of the gospel”

Dr Ashley Null


The Book of Common Prayer drives the gathered people of God to recognise that their hearts – the centre of their being – must be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit by the word of God in Scripture about Jesus’ death, to love of the God who saves!


On the island of Ireland there are so many who do not know of this love for which they were made. They do not know of the love that is initiated by God alone and turns our hearts to right love of our creator who bought us back by the blood of Jesus the Son. They do not know the God of all comfort. They have not heard and believed “the comfortable words”.


"Hear these words of assurance for those who truly turn to Christ.

Jesus said: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’. Matthew 11:28

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ John 3:16

The apostle Paul said: ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’. 1 Timothy 1:15

The apostle John said: ‘If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ 1 John 2:1–2” (2)


To take the message of Christ with cultural sensitivity is the work of authentic Anglicans! (3) So Gafcon Ireland will devote itself to PARTNER and to PLANT. Whether it is Belfast or Dublin, Galway or Cork, there are not sufficient Anglican congregations devoted to Cranmer’s project for the English-speakers of the world (and of all tongues) to reach all those who do not lift up their hearts to the Lord.


“[Cranmer wrote] a liturgy that promoted the alluring power of the gospel in a culturally relevant manner”

Dr Ashley Null


The good news is that we are not alone, and that we have already started.


We have the Gafcon church planting network who PARTNER with us in this work – lending expertise, financial networks, advice and prayer. We have local partners who have experience in church planting and share Anglican convictions as well as historic connections within the Church of Ireland and a remit for mission on this island which contains the least evangelized people group of English-speaking world.


Will you join us as we plan to PARTNER and PLANT?

• Pray for urgency – for the time is short.

• Pray for patience – for it is the Lord’s work.

• Pray for and give financial support – for that is what gospel fellowship means.

• Pray for church planters who are PREPARED and able for the work.

• Pray for (or provide) accommodation for church planters.

• Pray for churches whose affections and hearts, are lifted up to the Lord in love for God by his word PROCLAIMED.


(1) A similar number were attempted and have not kept going... but those who tried continue to receive support and many plan to try again.

(2) Excerpt From: Archbishop of Sydney's Liturgical Panel. “Common Prayer”. Apple Books. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/common-prayer/id635153045?mt=11

(3) see Article XXXIV of the thirty-nine articles



Gafcon Ireland responds after the event in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford where a senior Arab Muslim gave an address.


Gafcon Ireland welcomes the recent statement by the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship, New Wine Ireland and the Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy which gives a clear summary of the Church of Ireland’s teaching on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as ‘the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to God the Father except through him’ (John 14.6-7).


It is right to express deep concern about a senior Arab Muslim politician giving an address from the pulpit of a Christian Church in Ireland on the 23 June 2018. In particular it is right to “regret that a misleading impression was given at this event that the Bible and the Quran are different books by the same author”. The teaching of the Church of Ireland is that eternal salvation is only through the name of Christ (Article 18), that the Bible contains all things necessary to salvation (Articles 6), and that Christ is the only mediator between God and Man (Article 7).


The ‘Letter to the Churches’, the Conference Statement from Gafcon III in Jerusalem (June 2018), states that “some religions deny the unique person and work of Christ on the cross and others are innately syncretistic”. It also states that theological revisionism recasts “God’s gospel to accommodate the surrounding culture, resulting in a seductive syncretism that denies the uniqueness of Christ, the seriousness of sin, the need for repentance and the final authority of the Bible”. Gafcon Ireland agrees with these clear statements of historic, traditional Christian belief.


Gafcon Ireland also stands and partners with all Christian believers worldwide who are being persecuted on account of their faithfulness to the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ and their courageous proclamation of his gospel. We deeply regret the offence that is caused when this gospel is threatened, compromised and ignored, as happened in Waterford. However we also, in the words of the Jerusalem Declaration (Clause 5), “gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ”.



Gafcon Ireland recently came together in Belfast for an evening to remember GAFCON III in Jerusalem and to share with others what happened during that memorable week.


There were 85 of us and if there was one prominent theme throughout the evening it was that Jesus Christ is Lord.


There was a live video interview with Archbishop Foley Beach. He spoke movingly of his own conversion. As a 17 year he heard a talk about the Lordship of Christ and he explained how this led to him receiving Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour. This was such a great reminder of what Gafcon is about – proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations that many will come to repentance and faith in Him.


Four of the 31 delegates from Ireland who went to Jerusalem gave their own reflections. It was a week rooted in bible teaching that was engaging and applied. There was daily, meaningful and prayerful fellowship with fellow Anglican believers from many other parts of the world. There were archbishops and bishops mixing and mingling everyday with all of the delegates. There were many stories and testimonies about the cost of being faithful to the Lord and His word. There was a challenge to the whole conference to be ready and prepared for difficult times ahead within the Anglican Communion. There was encouragement from knowing that Gafcon is maturing, growing, and taking practical steps (e.g. the 9 Strategic Networks) to engage in effective, biblical mission.


The conference statement, the Letter to the Churches, was mentioned throughout the evening. Archbishop Foley commended the Letter because at the heart of it is the gospel of Christ. We saw how the Letter reflected some of the gospel themes in Romans 1.1-7. Proclaiming God’s gospel, reforming God’s church and reaching God’s world are constantly shaping the structure, the governance and the vision of Gafcon, and it’s witness to Anglicans worldwide.


Theological education and church planting are two priorities of Gafcon Ireland. With these in mind the evening closed with an explanation of Theology Ireland and an invitation to attend in early 2019. Also, all were invited to come to the third Gafcon Ireland Residential in December. The Revd. Dr. Ashley Null will be the keynote speaker and the leaders of Gafcon’s Church Planting Strategic Network will also be contributing.


The evening was informative, encouraging and forward looking and we are grateful to God that in response 12 people asked to become Supporters of Gafcon Ireland. Please pray that we will move forward together with Jesus Christ, and Him alone, as our Lord and King.


Revd. Tim Anderson



Gafcon III in Jerusalem was a significant moment in the history of Anglicanism



One of the 31 delegates that attended from Ireland said it was:

“an inspirational revelation of the zeal, commitment and determination of men and women of the Anglican Church to obey the command of Christ to bring the gospel to the world and to make disciples of all nations”.


So come on Monday 15 October at 7.30pm at Knockbreda Parish Church where Gafcon Ireland will delight in sharing with you


What happened in Jerusalem!

The evening will include:

• accounts of Gafcon 2018 from Gafcon Ireland delegates

• an introduction to the extraordinary ‘Letter to the Churches’ (the Conference Statement)

• an exclusive update outlining the future plans for Gafcon Ireland


We also plan a live video interview with

Archbishop Foley Beach incoming chair of Gafcon Global

&

Andy Lines Gafcon Missionary Bishop for Europe


So please join us!


*Read on below for more of a taste of some delegates experiences.



Gafcon Ireland lay delegates
reflect on their experience of Gafcon III





“As a layperson whose hunger and desire it is to see Jesus Christ glorified and the truth of the gospel proclaimed in its entirety, I was truly humbled by the welcome, hospitality and the inclusion both of myself and others at the conference.”





More than half of those of the Gafcon Ireland delegation who attended the Gafcon Jerusalem 2018 were lay
people. Quite appropriate too – as this reflected the overall attendance of this largest gathering of Anglicans in
50 years! Lay delegates attended and participated all aspects of the conference. They contributed equally to the
formation of the Letter to the Churches that the conference received with loud acclaim and accepted by vote
without a voice raised in opposition.


Lay involvement is also foundational to Gafcon Ireland!​


The vast majority of the enthusiastic attendees at Gafcon Ireland’s launch in April were members of congregations, and our first initiative – TheologyIreland – delivered an intensive Biblical Theology course to around 300 lay people in January 2018, and we’ll be doing the same next year.


As we read through their reflections we were struck by some recurring themes. They were Christian, Anglican, global, united and growing. Each of these resonated with themes found in the historic Jerusalem Declaration that emerged from the first Gafcon in 2008. It seems fitting to present this selection of quotes using those titles and prefaced by a relevant portion of the Jerusalem Declaration.




Christian

We rejoice in the gospel of God, through which we have been saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 1)


  • “[Gafcon 2018] was, for me an inspirational revelation of the zeal, commitment and determination of men and women of the Anglican Church to obey the command of Christ to bring the gospel to the world and to make disciples of all nations,”

“Throughout the conference, I was struck that… our sin is serious, but when we grasp this, we see that the news of a saviour really is good news.”

  • "As a layperson whose hunger and desire it is to see Jesus Christ glorified and the truth of the gospel proclaimed in its entirety I was truly humbled by the welcome, hospitality and the inclusion both of myself and others at the conference."




Anglican

“We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel.”

(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 6)


“During the week of GAFCON, I was delighted to be reinforced in my Anglican roots and beliefs”

  • “The liturgy of morning prayer came alive with meaning each day as it was led meaningfully by a number of Bishops/Archbishops from around the globe.”

“This event was a testament to Anglicanism in the true sense of the word.”

  • “At Gafcon Jerusalem 2018 the gospel was unashamedly proclaimed without compromise, and standing firm [on] the traditional Anglican beliefs.”




Global

We Celebrate the God given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship

(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 12)


“It was a true privilege to share with sisters and brothers from across the global Anglican family, as together we encouraged one another to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.”

  • “The fact that so many delegates were from the global south changed the focus and emphasis in so many ways.”

“The times of worship as I stood in the gallery looking around at all the different nationalities gathered and singing praises to our great God was special and unique. It felt like a little glimpse into how amazing heaven will be when people from every nation will gather [to] praise God.”




Unity

We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships.

(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 11)


“It was for me, a real and remarkable example of the power of brothers and sisters ‘who dwell together in unity’ and who are determined to obey the commands and teachings of Christ in their lives. This event was a testament to Anglicanism in the true sense of the word.”

  • “To learn of the incoming General Secretary Ben Kwashi, his wife Gloria, and their 50 adopted orphaned children; the stories of pastors jailed for preaching the gospel; or losing entire congregations as martyrs, shows how precious Jesus really is to those who were there.”

“I’m encouraged from GAFCON of the unity and community that we have with fellow believers all around the world to encourage and spur one another on.”

  • “I personally prayed and spent time with Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy and other Laity wondering at times who was who, without their clerical garb there was no way of distinguishing! They were simply a group of born again believers who were in love with Jesus,”




Growing

We gladly accept the great commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations.

(Jerusalem Declaration Clause 9)


“That’s what the world needs and if some of the Anglican Communion have lost the plot on that it is incredibly kind of the Lord to bring GAFCON into being so that people can hear the good news of Jesus Christ.”

  • “There were opportunities to pray with believers from all round the world and hear something of their own situation and tell them ours. It was also a great opportunity to get to know members of our own delegation better”

“I long that Ireland, north and south, would be flooded with a new generation of bible believing clergy who will proclaim Christ and stand firm against the pressure of the world around.”

  • “It’s very exciting that GAFCON have started the new 9 Networks! I am really impressed with the way GAFCON is being proactive and outward looking”

“As I reflect upon the week I realise the need for wise, biblical, Christ-centred leadership over both Gafcon Ireland and elsewhere.”