31st Annual Diocesan Conventio
Amendments & Resolutions
November 16, 2013

Report on GAFCON 2

by the Very Rev. Ryan Reed

Right Reverend Sir, members of the clergy, and delegates to convention, it is my honor to offer you a report from GAFCON.

I want to begin by thanking the diocese for the opportunity to represent you all at the second Global Anglican Fellowship Conference (GAFCON,) which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in October and hosted by All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi. Our delegation consisted of Bishop Iker, myself, Fr Christopher Culpepper, and Debbie Petta. Fr. Michael Heidt attended as a member of the press and Glen Petta was there to represent SOMA. 

At the first GAFCON in Jerusalem in 2008, we adopted the Jerusalem Declaration (below), which affirms the Apostolic Faith and Order as lived out in the Anglican tradition. At that time 1100 people from some 2- plus provinces of the Anglican Communion attended, including 7 primates of the Communion.

At GAFCON 2, 1400 delegates from 40 nations and nearly 30 provinces of the Anglican Communion – including 10 primates and 331 bishops – gathered in Nairobi. On a personal note, I want to say the Kenyan Anglicans and the Kenyan people for that matter offered all the guests real Christian hospitality. The highlight of the week socially was probably the group Safari, where we saw just about every animal Africa has to offer. 

Putting on a conference for nearly 1500 people and the logistics of housing, transporting and feeding that many people for a week could have been a nightmare, but our Kenyan brothers and sisters truly pulled it off.  

Every day began with worship led by a different province and included Bible study. We had daily working sessions and presentations, and then a number of mini conferences ran throughout the week. Topics for these conferences included the challenge of Islam, marriage and family, Gospel and culture, being women of God, aid and development, theological education, etc. 

What is GAFCON? GAFCON is simply a conference or an event of orthodox Anglicans from around the world who consider themselves part of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. While GAFCON is an event, the FCA is movement of orthodox Anglicans from around the world who are willing to stand up and defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

To be a member of GFCA, one must simply subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration. The FCA has become a network of Bible-believing orthodox Anglicans from across the world who are trying to hold fast to the Gospel. It includes provinces, dioceses, churches, para-church organizations, and individuals who share one common goal: to help reform, heal, and revitalize the Anglican Communion and expand its mission to the world. 

Even the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most. Rev. Justin, Welby, recognizes that the structures of the Anglican Communion are no longer working. He made this point in his sermon in Nairobi on the day before GAFCON began. From my perspective, the structures of the Anglican Communion have utterly failed to protect the integrity of the Gospel, they have failed to promote Apostolic faith and practice, and the have failed to hold accountable those who preach a different Gospel. 

GAFCON and the FCA intend to shape the future of the Anglican Communion for generations to come.  This will be accomplished by three objectives:

  1. Proclaiming and contending for the gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. Building fellowship with all faithful Anglicans for mission and discipleship
  3. Authorizing and affirming faithful Anglican who are excluded by their diocese or province. 

In order to do this work, GAFCON intends to organize around a Primates’ Council, a board of trustees, an executive committee, and regional officers. To accomplish this, GAFCON will begin seeking financial support from its members.

The priorities of GAFCON are the Great Commission, a deepening of discipleship, a witness to the transforming power of the Gospel in society, standing up for the marginalized – especially women and children, and standing along side the persecuted church.

Two of the more significant developments that came out of GAFCON I will give to you by way of the quoting Bishop Iker’s report to the Diocese.

First, “the Anglican Church in North America has been identified by the GAFCON primates council as the orthodox province for Anglicans in the United States and Canada.  Second, by unanimous vote of the Bishops meeting in Nairobi, the Primates council will expand its role in supporting and recognizing Anglicans in places where Biblical faith has been compromised.  This will include not only recognition of provinces and dioceses standing against revisionism and secularism, but, where necessary, will also entail consecrating new bishops.”

On a personal note, and this brought me a great sense of hope, Fr. Culpepper and I were part of a small group of about 50 Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals who came together to discuss our differences and our identities. While nothing official was released from this group, we came together in a spirit of repentance for the way in which we speak about one another and left with a commitment to work together for the sake of Gospel. 

We, as the Diocese of Fort Worth, have a seat at the GAFCON table.  At this point in the life of the Anglican Communion, there is no other game in town. 

GAFCON is committed to Jesus Christ as head of the Church, to the authority of his Word, and the power of the Gospel to save lives.  Granted, we must work through the old churchmanship issues here in the West, and we will be challenged by the different expressions of Anglicanism in the many different cultures that it exists; however, GAFCON in my opinion is where the future of Anglican Christianity exists. 

GAFCON is calling all Anglicans – whether Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, or Charismatic – who are committed to biblical faithfulness to answer the call in our time of defending the Faith and making disciples of all nations. I am proud that our diocese is willing to answer that call.

GAFCON is proving to be an instrument of unity for all flavors of Anglicans at a time when the Anglican instruments of unity have utterly failed. It gives me great hope that we, here in the Diocese of Fort Worth, can stand with tens of millions of Anglicans across the globe in proclaiming the Gospel and making Jesus Christ known in every part of the globe. 

Rt Rev. Sir, respectfully submitted. 


The Jerusalem Declaration

1. 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. Because God first loved us, we love him and as believers bring forth fruits of love, ongoing repentance, lively hope and thanksgiving to God in all things.
2. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written and to contain all things necessary for salvation. The Bible is to be translated, read, preached, taught and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading.
3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
4. We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.
5. We gladly proclaim and submit to the unique and universal Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humanity’s only Saviour from sin, judgement and hell, who lived the life we could not live and died the death that we deserve. By his atoning death and glorious resurrection, he secured the redemption of all who come to him in repentance and faith.
6. We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.
7. We recognise that God has called and gifted bishops, priests and deacons in historic succession to equip all the people of God for their ministry in the world. We uphold the classic Anglican Ordinal as an authoritative standard of clerical orders.
8. We acknowledge God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family. We repent of our failures to maintain this standard and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.
9. We gladly accept the Great Commission of the risen Lord to make disciples of all nations, to seek those who do not know Christ and to baptise, teach and bring new believers to maturity.
10. We are mindful of our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, to uphold and advocate justice in society, and to seek relief and empowerment of the poor and needy.
11. We are committed to the unity of all those who know and love Christ and to building authentic ecumenical relationships. We recognise the orders and jurisdiction of those Anglicans who uphold orthodox faith and practice, and we encourage them to join us in this declaration.
12. We celebrate the God-given diversity among us which enriches our global fellowship, and we acknowledge freedom in secondary matters. We pledge to work together to seek the mind of Christ on issues that divide us.
13. We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
14. We rejoice at the prospect of Jesus’ coming again in glory, and while we await this final event of history, we praise him for the way he builds up his church through his Spirit by miraculously changing lives.