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GSFA Chairman's Letter: 'I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH'

GSFA Chairman's Letter: 'I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH'

September 2023

These words of our Lord bring us tremendous strength and encouragement at this time of tumult and confusion, both in the wider Church & in the world. When Jesus said, "Upon this rock, I will build my church" (Mt 16:18), the 'rock' he is referring to is not Peter per se but the true confession of faith Peter had just made. A church built on the truth of God's word can never be shaken or toppled, not even when she is assailed by aggressive and insidious false teaching. The words of the hymn so often sung in our churches declares the truth beautifully: 'The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is his new creation by water and the word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride. With his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.' Therefore, we do not lose heart as we offer ourselves to be 'living stones' (1 Pet 2:4-5) in God's church, whose mission is to extend the kingdom of his transforming love in the world.

Being 'a holy remnant' in a Compromised Communion

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) is a covenantal fellowship of orthodox Anglican provinces, dioceses and network of churches. We praise God for our history since Limuru, Kenya in 1994 which led to our re-formation under a new Covenantal is Structure in October 2019. To date, eleven provinces 1 have already joined GSFA as full members, with others considering to do so. Our Fellowship is world-wide in composition while remaining rooted in the traditional Global South provinces.

GSFA is committed to guarding , living out and propagating the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, so we are deeply saddened by the growing revisionism in our Communion, and appalled by the recent decision of the Church of England's General Synod to pursue the designing of liturgies for the blessing of same sex unions. This is clearly contrary to the biblical and historic teaching of God's one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We call for a genuine repentance of the trajectory set by their Synod.

GSFA is not forming a parallel Communion. Rather, we are a locus within the historic Communion for orthodox Anglican churches who want to be faithful to 'the faith once delivered' (Jude 3). Our calling is to fulfil in our generation the role of 'the holy remnant' in Scripture. The holy remnant sought to be faithful to the Lord and his word when national Israel went astray and broke covenantal faithfulness with the God who established her. Likewise, we will maintain visible differentiation from those in our Communion whom we believe have departed from the historic faith. In this respect, we are very encouraged to see orthodox groupings within the Church of England beginning to do this collectively.

Anglican Orthodox Leaders Meeting (17-19 Oct 2023)

In its Ash Wednesday Statement of 20th Feb 2023 (see here), GSFA committed itself to "expeditiously meet, consult and work with other orthodox Primates in the Anglican Church across the nations to re-set the Communion on its biblical foundation." The GSFA is calling for such a meeting in Cairo from 17th - 19th October this year. Our objective is to consult together on how we can shape our common life, as orthodox provinces, dioceses and networks, as a 're-set' Communion, marked by reform and renewal.

In addition to the Primates, we have invited leaders representing orthodox Anglican groupings to attend as observers. Please pray fervently for this meeting. Its outcome has the potential to powerfully spur the life, witness and mission of faithful Anglicans across the globe. It will also shape the substance of the first GSFA Assembly under the Covenantal Structure scheduled for 11th - 15th June 2024.

Special needs among our member and associated Provinces

Please pray especially for the situation of conflict, political unrest and human suffering in Myanmar, Pakistan, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Let us cry out to God to bring about peace and social justice in these lands, to stop the outbreak of violence and armed conflict, and to ensure the displaced and the poor have access to daily necessities. Pray for the protection of God's people as well as their witness through resilient faith and good works.

We are also remembering in our prayers the witness of the Church of Uganda following the government's recent amendment of the colonial era penal code regarding homosexual activity to include curbs on the promotion of homosexual lifestyles. Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba welcomed the new legislation in his Statement of May 29th 2023, noting that the purpose of the newly-expanded law is not criminalisation, but to increase the protection of children through strong anti-grooming measures and restrictions on the promotion of homosexuality as an accepted lifestyle, notably by well-funded Western agencies. Archbishop Kaziimba also The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) clarified that the Church of Uganda does not support the application of the death penalty for homosexual violations. GSFA supports Archbishop Kaziimba's response and recognises that GSFA members are committed to helping each other abide by the whole of Lambeth 1.10 including its call for pastoral care for those who are same sex attracted.2 (see here)

Important Developments in GSFA

The GSFA Primates Steering Committee together with the Protem Board have approved three categories of GSFA membership: Ordinary Membership by duly constituted & formed provinces and dioceses; Associate Membership by dioceses and networks of orthodox Anglican churches; and Mission Partners comprising largely of non-ecclesial Anglican bodies such as Mission agencies, Bible Colleges and other Fellowship groupings. (see here).

We rejoice that the Secretariat team has been augmented by the addition of a physical office in Cairo with Mrs Miranda Mounir appointed from 1st August as the Cairo Operations Manager. This is through the kindness of Archbishop Samy Shehata and the leadership of the Province of Alexandria, facilitated by the generosity of one of GSFA's Mission Partners.

We are truly thankful and we shall mark this exciting new development with a Service of Dedication for the leaders and staff of GSFA as well as the office during the Anglican Orthodox Leaders meeting in October.


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