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American Anglican Council
June 11, 2024

"God says 'It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.'" Isaiah 49:6 NIV

I am writing from the St. Mark's Coptic Monastery in Khataba, Egypt, where almost 200 delegates from 11 Anglican Provinces, three "provinces-in-formation" duly constituted by Gafcon and recognized as such by the GSFA, and numerous mission agencies from over 40 countries are gathering for the first Global Assembly of the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA). This Global Assembly marks an historic "reset" of the Anglican Communion with regards to:

1. What Anglicans believe (a common confession of faith based on biblical faith, apostolic tradition, and the Anglican formularies);
2. A true and genuine Communion of Anglican Churches based upon covenantal structures that provide clear and fair criteria for membership-- with mutual accountability and discipline within the boundaries of Reformational Anglicanism; and
3. A passionate commitment to Christ's Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:16-20)-- undeterred by false teaching--through mission partnerships that will enable Anglicans to proclaim Christ faithfully to all nations.
4. The theme of this first GSFA Global Assembly is Isaiah 49:6, above. This verse captures the heart of this great reset. In God's eyes, it is not enough that we should restore and bring together those biblically faithful Anglicans who have kept the faith once delivered and whom God has kept through the trials and tribulations of visibly differentiating ourselves from the false teaching of the Canterbury-TEC led communion. We have a greater purpose than gathering together and reaffirming the "faith once delivered" (Jude 3). God has called us "to be a light to the nations" by sharing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of all to ALL peoples, near and far.

Last night our GSFA Assembly Group received from Bishop Rennis Ponniah (Singapore, ret.) the following prayer points. Please pray along with us:

For Spiritual formation in the desert: From Moses to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the Apostle Paul, the Bible proclaims how often God forms his people in desert "wilderness" places. God knows we need such times and places, free of distractions, to hear his voice, his call, and to receive his transforming grace. The Monastery of St Mark's Khataba is hours away from any shopping malls or tourist attractions. It is an oasis in the middle of the desert, with lush vineyards, a cattle farm, and educational and spiritual gatherings for the 8,000 children it serves annually who would not otherwise have such resources. Here we will begin each day with worship, Bible studies in Ephesians, led by Archbishops Samy Shehata, Titus Chung, and Stephen Kaziimba, plenary sessions on "Our Missionary God: Taking the Gospel to the Nations" (Archbishop Tito Zavala), and "Biblical Anthropology and Human Sexuality" (Rev. Dr Sam Ferguson) punctuated by times of prayer in small groups for what we hear God saying to us as a covenanted communion of confessing Anglicans, and individually as his servants.

For Unity among the people of God: In God's great restoration of all things, in the Book of Revelation, John has a vision of a great multitude "from every nation, tribe, people and language" standing before the throne and before the Lamb worshipping him alone. (Rev. 7:9) In our working group that has been preparing for this GSFA Assembly for over two years, we have brothers and sisters in Christ serving at all levels of Anglican churches from Singapore, Egypt, Brazil, Mauritius, South Sudan, Myanmar, West Malaysia, Uganda, the UK, Canada and the US. Our team is a microcosm of the 3/4 majority multicultural, largely African, Asian, and South American churches of the Anglican Communion that will be represented in this Global Assembly! We are aware of Canterbury's attempts to co-opt the GSFA through other means, of differences among our own members on some issues within the Church, and the open question of how GSFA and Gafcon can collaborate for the purpose of being "a light to the nations" together.

But as Archbishop Kaziimba will remind us from our Friday bible study on Ephesians 6, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12). We know the enemy would love for us to get bogged down in any of these potential areas of difference and division. Please pray that we will all clothe ourselves with the full armor of God (Eph.6: 13-17) so that we may continue to stand firm on the authority and power of His word, so that neither our hearts nor our minds will be distracted from fulfilling the purposes for which God has called and anointed this Global Assembly.

For Leadership for the future: One of the objectives of this GSFA Global Assembly is to prayerfully choose office-bearers according to the Covenantal Structure to lead the work of the GSFA in this new "reset" communion. Among the GSFA Primates, those office bearers to be chosen include the Chair of the Primates Council, the Steering Committee, and the Secretary who will oversee the work of the GSFA Secretariat (the Administration). The GSFA House of Bishops will choose, from among themselves, a Pro-Tem Faith and Order Commission that will assist the GSFA Primates in determining issues of doctrine, discipline, order, membership and discipline within the GSFA. The GSFA Clergy and Lay Delegates will elect from among themselves the members of the Board (Standing Committee) of the GSFA Assembly who will meet annually to carry on the work of the Assembly between its 8-10-year sessions. In his magisterial work on the history of church councils, Paul Valliere observed that the miraculous consensus that we see in those councils must have been the result of bishops, itinerant evangelists, prophets, and theologians submitting themselves as Paul exhorts us to do in Philippians 2:
"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who being in very nature God
Did not consider equality with God
Something to be used for his own advantage
Rather, he made himself nothing...."
(Phil. 2:5-11 NIV)

Please pray that in all of these elections the delegates to this GSFA Global Assembly--primates bishops, clergy and laity--will have this very mindset in the office bearers they elect for the future of the GSFA, and that those office bearers will also have that same mindset, so that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:11)

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