Vicar's letter for November Fowey News

Dear Friends

Rudyard Kipling’s  ‘Recessional’ is a summons to remember: ‘Lest we forget, lest we forget.’ 

This year we mark the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the Great War. US President Woodrow Wilson, borrowing a phrase from the novelist HG Wells called it ‘the war to end all wars.’ Sadly that was not the case. Even at the time, politician David Lloyd George is reputed to have responded to Wilson, ‘This war, like the next war, is a war to end war.’ The scale of lost and destruction it inflicted on the lives of so many people is difficult to grasp:

  • 65 million troops were mobilised during World War 1

  • 6 million British men fought

  • 65,000 of them suffered shell shock (1%)

  • 170,000 of them became prisoners of war (3%)

  • 1.7 million of them were wounded (28%)

  • 772,000 of them died (13%)

  • On the first day of the battle of the Somme, 20,000 British soldiers were killed and 38,000 wounded

  • The average life expectancy of the WW1 fighter pilot was just a few weeks

  • Over 6000 allied and neutral ships were sunk by German U-boats

  • More than 15 million people lost their lives as a direct result of the conflict

So called ‘Pals battalions’ were recruited so that men could fight alongside their friends, work colleagues and neighbours. The impact of heavy losses from these battalions can still be seen on memorials today: whole communities lost their sons and fathers.

The Armistice agreement was signed in Marshall Ferdinand Foch’s private train in the forest near Compiegne in France. One year later King George V dedicated the 11th day of the 11th month as a memorial to all those who had died in the line of duty and ever since our nation has remembered those who gave their lives for the peace and security we enjoy.  On Remembrance Sunday we shall once again stand as an act of simple, silent, eloquent remembrance. ‘Lest we forget, lest we forget’. 

Yet Kipling calls us to remember more still. There were two even more fundamental matters which he wanted us to remember and which we are in constant danger of forgetting. 

First, he wanted us to remember what we owe to God. It was tempting then, as it is tempting now, for us to exult in our own wisdom, strength, wealth as individuals and as a nation. Despite all the power and glory of what was then a mighty empire, Kipling says to us, success in war is owed to God, and we had better remember it: ‘Beneath whose awful hand we hold Dominion’. A nation (or a person) that glories in its own strength; a nation which declares itself independent of God; a nation that believes that it is always in the right – this is a nation which has forgotten that it is accountable to God. 

Then second, in our remembrance we rightly and thankfully speak of sacrifice - a sacrifice that only some have paid, but from which all of us have benefited. But Kipling uses the words of the Bible itself to remind us that there is an even more fundamental sacrifice which is demanded of us all. ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise’ (Psalm 51). Most sacrifices involve giving up something very precious. The sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart is the recognition that our failures leave us without anything to bring to God. It is the sacrifice of pride, in which we determine to trust not in self but in God. 

Lest we forget? We should - and will - never forget the sacrifices of those who fought for our nation, and the pain of those who waited for them. But we ought not to forget what we owe to God - ultimately that unique sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, and the way in which only that meets our deep needs. 

with every blessing, Philip de Grey-Warter

Recessional

God of our fathers, known of old--
   Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
   On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
   Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
   In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Rudyard Kipling, June 22 1897


Vicar's letter for October Fowey News

Dear Friends

Some years ago a survey asked people who were aged 95 or older what they'd do differently if they could live their lives over again. Here were people who’d had a good innings - Been there, seen it, done it, bought the t-shirt. And here’s the top 3 things they listed: They said they'd reflect more. They said they'd risk more. And they said they'd do more things that would outlive them. That is, they’d do more things that would make and leave their mark, more things that would count. In other words they'd live more fruitful or productive lives, lives with something to show for it. An appropriate idea, perhaps, for this ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’

I am sure we’ve all had one of those days where you get to the end of it and think: Well, what have I got to show for that? It’s very frustrating, isn’t it? Productivity is important. But Jesus didn't use jargon words like productivity. He talked simply about bearing fruit and the tremendously vivid picture of a vine and its branches.  In fact the idea of bearing fruit is so central to the Christian life that there is a evident link between simply being a Christian and bearing fruit. There can be no such thing as simply professing the Christian faith, of merely ticking the box to say ‘Christian’ or ‘C of E’, yet in our daily lives showing no fruit of it. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15v5) 

Our culture has two influential and widespread lies. The first lie concerns who we are. Promoting the ideal of self-expression, it says in seductive tones, ‘Just be who you want to be’ and implicitly you won’t have to change anything about yourself.  The second lie concerns what we are to want. Promoting the ideal of self-fulfilment, it says with equal persuasiveness, ‘Just want whatever you want’  and don’t be constrained by convention or tradition: the world is for your taking.

However western society seems to be suffering from an epidemic of dissatisfaction and depression which may suggest that these lies about who we are and what we desire are hopelessly inadequate. In which case the biblical idea of bearing fruit may be a helpful corrective:

With regard to the first lie of self-expression, the wisdom of the Bible calls us not to be content with what we are but to seek to be changed for the better. And the New Testament offers us the challenge of imitating Jesus Christ. There is a ‘aspiration to transformation’ and it should be seen in ‘the fruit of the Spirit… love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5v22-23).

With regard to the second lie of self-fulfilment, biblical wisdom rejects this too, and encourages us instead to seek what we might call ‘public fruit’. The goal of our lives is not to seek what we want for ourselves but what others need. We are to bear fruit for others and, of course, the two types of fruit are linked: it is out of the personal fruit that the public fruit comes. Transformed lives give rise to transforming actions. 

All of which begs the question - what fruit are you bearing?

with every blessing, Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar


Vicar's letter for September Fowey News

Dear Friends

Back in January 2013 I wrote “Feel free to insult me!” about the then government’s proposal to criminalise “insulting” words in the Public Order Act and I recalled that letter as I pondered the howls of rage that have greeted Boris Johnson’s remarks about maintaining the freedom to wear certain articles of dress despite his view that they are ridiculous. 

Insults are rude. We would all like to see a lot less of them. But it seems that any discussion in the public square of ideas, beliefs, opinions and values now quickly descends into accusations of offence given. The comedian Rowan Atkinson weighed into the recent debate and defended the former Foreign Secretary’s right to poke fun at religion in a letter to The Times: "All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them.”

We rightly treasure our national heritage which enshrines the right to freedom of expression, freedom of belief and freedom of association. Such is true tolerance. That is, tolerating those with whom you disagree. And such toleration promotes dialogue and respect: “You believe something different from me. I respect your right to do that. I don’t think you’re right. I believe something else.” That’s why I welcome Rowan’s freedom to make fun of me as a clergyman if he wishes.

To stifle, limit or restrict our long cherished freedoms, either by legislation or by ‘political correctness’ is actually the route, not of ‘diversity’, but of division, disengagement and disintegration.  For, in a post-modern world where truth is viewed as relative and simply a matter of personal choice or preference, it is impossible to discuss ideas without a perceived personal attack being implied. Difference is then smothered and suppressed.

But it should be possible to say ‘I think that what you think is wrong’ with respect and without devaluing or denigrating the other person. We ought to be allowed to think and reason and debate - and joke - about all manner of things, including religious beliefs, and to change our own position as a result. There is surely a distinction to be drawn between a person’s innate value and their beliefs or behaviour. The former is to be cherished, the latter must be open to be be challenged. 

From a Christian point of view, we are made in the image of God and the extent of his love for was demonstrated by him giving his son to die in our place for our sin and guilt. Such is the value of every individual. At the same time Jesus calls us to repent of beliefs and the consequent behaviours that hold him at arm’s length or ignore him as our rightful ruler. 

In other words, we must love and respect and value others enough to argue with them about truth and to challenge one another about the views we hold and the way we live. It is when people are not allowed to discuss the truth or otherwise of political beliefs or religious claims, when some views are privileged and others proscribed that we end up with the suppression of debate and dissent, which is in short a totalitarian society.

with every blessing, Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar


Vicar's letter for August Fowey News

Dear Friends

I think many might be surprised by the headline “An Atheist Defends Religion” but that is the title of an unusual book by author Bruce Sheiman. While more militant atheism is stridently vocal in its refusal to recognise that religion might make any positive contribution to advancing the welfare of humanity, Sheiman suggests that it was Jesus of Nazareth paved the way for a brand new view of humanity and that, apart from Jesus, the world would have looked very different. 

Before Christianity Sheiman says that ‘a commitment to human dignity, personal liberty, and individual equality did not previously appear in any other culture.’ It was a distinctly Christian view of humanity that led to a radical acceptance of the place and need of others. ‘Once we see ourselves as free individuals, and to the extent that we understand that we are all creatures of one God, we understand that freedom and dignity are the right of all people.’ 

In other words Jesus’ followers were - and are - committed to seeing the world differently and especially how they chose to view and treat others, especially those in need. Not least the call to compassion, to feel and do something for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Jesus saw people as no-one had ever seen them. The great Victorian preacher C.H. Spurgeon said ‘If you would sum up the whole character of Christ in reference to ourselves, it might be gathered into this one sentence, “He was moved with compassion.” And the first Bishop of Liverpool J.C. Ryle observed ‘It is a curious and striking fact, that of all the feelings experienced by our Lord when upon the earth, there is none so often mentioned as “compassion”. 

Think of the compassion Jesus showed an ostracized leper: He not only healed him but first he touched the man no one else would come near (Mark 1:40-42). Think of his decision to delay his entrance into Jerusalem because of the cry of two blind men (Matt. 20:29-34). Or think Jesus weeping with Mary and Martha over the death of their brother Lazarus (John 11:32-36). There never was a heart like his with such concern and sympathy.

However, Bruce Sheiman isn’t the first to see something unique in the kind of love shown by Jesus and his followers.  Emperor Julian (332-363 AD) was the last Roman Ruler to persecute Christians yet even he could not fail to recognise that a love shaped by the cross of Christ is radical. He wrote of how the cause of Christianity ‘has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.’

What prompts this?  Without doubt it is a deep reflection on the message of Christ that produces and promotes such compassion within us. To the degree that the message of Jesus shapes our self-image, we will identify with those in need because once I consider that Jesus was moved to meet my need I begin to see that others share my neediness and I can choose to cultivate compassion wherever I see need. 

So what motivates you?

with every blessing, Philip de Grey-Warter, Vicar

(The idea for this letter came from Neil Powell - thanks to him)


After Gafcon

Joseph D’Souza writes:

Last week, I attended the 2018 Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem. Around 2,000 archbishops, bishops and Anglican church leaders from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia came together to pray and consider the future of the global Anglican church. Some estimate that it was the largest international gathering of Anglican leaders in over 50 years.

GAFCON rose out of the Anglican church's struggle with an issue that has become the leading cause for disagreement in Christianity: same-sex marriage. It's the reason why hundreds of Anglican bishops in the southern hemisphere — who hold on to the traditional biblical view of marriage — have strongly differed with many of their more liberal counterparts in the West.

Still, as important as it might be, the issue of same-sex marriage is only the tip of the iceberg. The real question Christians all over the world must answer today is whether or not they will hold on to the authority of Scripture and the gospel the church has historically believed in.

As an outsider, I've observed how the West – and America specifically – has been steadily inching toward secularism, which is the absence of God in life.

The meteoric rise of the religiously unaffiliated over the past few decades combined with social changes such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage across all 50 states and the emergence of forced tolerance have augured the end of a 'Christian' America. Though it might still be some time away, the American church is now facing the crude reality many Christians across the southern hemisphere know well: becoming a minority religion.

Here's the thing though – this is nothing new for Christians. From the very beginning, Christianity has been well acquainted with being a minority.

Jesus gave the first believers – about 120 disciples – the job of changing the world. This small community believed Jesus and took him at his word, which was no easy task. The cultural problems and challenges they confronted were similar, if not greater, to ours. They had to contend with the widespread breakdown of the family structure, serious moral decline, a hedonistic lifestyle and religious fundamentalism of its day. If you want to see what real moral decline looks like, open a book on first-century Rome and read about the unbridled paganism, rampant sexual immorality, infanticide and slavery of the Roman Empire.

Yet, even when facing such overwhelming odds, the early church did not lose their vision of the Kingdom of God. The early Christians painstakingly developed a counterculture within a hostile environment dominated by despotic Roman emperors such as Nero, who was bent on eradicating this start-up religious movement.

No matter who was Caesar in Rome, they honoured Jesus Christ as Lord of all. They believed in the resurrection, and in his second coming. And no matter what the culture around them said, they remained committed to the truth in the God-inspired Scriptures, especially when it pertained to issues such as the biblical definition of marriage. They believed the Kingdom of God that Jesus had inaugurated was Spirit-empowered.

So, when people accused the early Christians of turning the world upside down, it wasn't a cliché. They were living upside-down lives in a society that was putting immense pressure on them to conform to the culture. Contrary to the short-sightedness that plagues many Western churches today, the early Christians had a long view of the Kingdom of God, and a holistic understanding of Christian discipleship. Their obedience literally changed the world and the flow of history.

Coming from a region in the world where Christians face dire persecution, I am disheartened to see such a large group of Christians in the West passively accept the decline of the church and its life-changing impact on society. I find it puzzling when the concept of a post-Christian Europe or United States is stated as an inevitable reality, when history knows that by and large Christianity built the modern West and paved the way for the individual democratic rights they enjoy today.

Yes, secularism might be the new religion on the block, but we can't forget it hasn't proved it can build a civilisation or a culture capable of holding society together over generations. This is because secularism neither cares for the family unity nor the divine.

The civilisations that have survived over millennia – from China to India, the Middle East and the Judeo-Christian world – hold a strong belief in God, no matter which deity they believe in. They know meeting the need of the spiritual is a given factor of life. And these cultures by the same token believe in the traditional family unit as the foundation of society.

The tragedy of the Western world is thinking it can survive without its Judeo-Christian foundation, without a commitment to God or the traditional family unit.

So, what's the answer for Christians in the West today? It's simple: get back to your roots. Get back to your roots in the timeless gospel of Jesus. Cultural movements come and go. The Kingdom of God will continue forever. Be compassionate to those struggling with same-sex attraction and reject homophobia; Jesus loves them intensely and knows how to minister to them. But stay true to the radical, holistic calling of following Jesus.

Jesus' time-tested formula for finding life and happiness is to lose it all for him. It has delivered throughout the centuries more than any other formula, and still delivers today.

 

Most Rev Joseph D'Souza is the Archbishop of the Anglican Good Shepherd Church and Associated Ministries of India. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his work as a human rights activist.

 

Reprinted from ChrtistianToday.com

Gafcon Update 6 - Part of something bigger

Friday 22 June
Philip writes:

This morning Gafcon produced ‘a letter to the churches’ (https://www.gafcon.org/news/letter-to-the-churches-gafcon-assembly-2018) which has developed from a blank piece of paper at the start of the week and been shaped by the input and reflections on the week. An initial draft was shared with the whole conference yesterday and each national delegation submitted feedback. It was a genuine consultation and final version was much improved as a result. 
Inevitably, the letter will resonate with different people and different provinces in different ways but a number elements stand out-
➢ the absolute priority of proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations
➢ the continuing need for the reformation of the Anglican communion
➢ the establishment of permanent, Communion-wide networks to promote faithful gospel work around the globe
To be Gafcon is to be on the cutting edge of what God is doing in the Anglican Church worldwide: shaking up a system no longer able to hold the church together in the unity of the faith. It is the majority of the Communion, something brought home by the sight of over 300 bishops sitting together in convocation robes for this morning’s closing communion service. And for us in Fowey, it is where we belong, standing for historic, orthodox, biblical Anglicanism. We are not alone, It is home. 
The statement was received by universal acclamation in the auditorium and we then broke into singing “To God be the Glory”. The atmosphere in the room reflected the excitement that this is the movement for the reformation and renewal of Anglican Communion and there is nothing else like it.

with love from Jerusalem

Gafcon Update 5 - A mighty fortress

Thursday 21 June
Dan writes:

“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still”.

Martin Luther’s famous paraphrase of Psalm 46, probably written as plague approached Wittenberg, was the opening hymn at Morning Prayer on this the fourth day of GAFCON III in Jerusalem. It was the right choice for a day in which the delegates heard from those who have paid the price of “Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations”. 

Much of what was said at GAFCON this afternoon cannot be eported because their lives are at risk, and have no security except that the Lord is their mighty fortress. Their testimonies won’t easily be forgotten so an awed silence will have to speak eloquently for the sacrifices that some delegates have made for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ and have experienced real agony in taking up their cross.

As delegates heard from the living, “those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne,” were not forgotten. We sang Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” and rejoiced with the martyrs that when, “…our time has come” it is only the start of “…praise unending… forevermore.” 

Possessions, family and life itself, delegates heard of all these prices being paid for Gospel faithfulness. And the lessons were clear:

“God does not owe you anything for your faithfulness. It was an honour to suffer for him. Stand firm.” 

“Be Firm, be faithful, be strong, be courageous…and don’t be ashamed of Jesus”.

“I am suffering persecution as a Christian leader and that is part of the job”.

“If we are persecuted let us remember that Christ himself suffered and that he has promised us that as Christians we will suffer persecution”.

“If I die for Christ I know where I am going to. And that is why I am happy”.

Everything delegates heard confirmed the truth of Luther’s words, “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate…”  This is the reality for many delegates and it will become reality for more as other religions and militant secularism are used as by the devil to work woe amongst faithful believers. 

Filing out of the auditorium, subdued, we were very aware that, “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing…and he must win the battle”… as, praise God, He has!

with love from Jerusalem

Gafcon Update 4 - Let these bones live!

Wednesday 20th June
Philip writes:

By and large our news media is very parochial and includes a narrow selection of global stories. Yet it could not ignore the story of the kidnap of hundreds of young girls by the militant Islamic group, Boko Haram in Nigeria. Thankfully many have now been released, but some are still held, including a girl called Leah who has refused renounce Jesus for whom we have prayed by name here at Gafcon.

But almost completely unreported is the story of those coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ from a Muslim background, even in Nigeria and even from Boko Haram.

Sitting in front of me at Gafcon are Abraham and Dorcas Yisa. Abraham is a lawyer by training and serves as a judge in Nigeria and is clearly held in high regard by the authorities. He is also the Registrar of the Church of Nigeria. But his service is much more than simply institutional. He and Dorcas have opened their home to a number of young women who have been converted from Islam to Christianity. Abraham told me of two who came from his home community and whose families he knows so he has been able to speak to their parents. They have rejected their daughters but he and Dorcas have given them a new family who are now providing for them, caring for them and protecting them. Because he is a judge Abraham has armed police protection and wonderfully, as well as a home, these girls now also have a place of refuge and safety in the face of death threats because they now claim Jesus as their Lord. But Abraham and Dorcas are not the only ones. There is a whole network of brothers and sisters providing a new home and new family for those who have made the costly decision to follow Jesus. 

This is church in action, quietly, sacrificially demonstrating what it is to be belong and be part of Jesus’ family, our family!

Our focus today has been on God’s world and the immense need for Christ to be faithfully proclaimed to the nations. We had a superb plenary from the new director of Operation World, Jason Mandryk, a Canadian living in the UK. In a TED-talk style presentation he conveyed an immense amount of stats in an engaging and informative way with clear analysis and implications. And there were surprises, for example, not only is the global south (as opposed to the West) the largest proportion of Christians worldwide, it is also sending out more missionaries. The world is now looking to evangelise us in the UK and Europe. But the greatest need remains India and China, which if their states or provinces were considered individually they would be 32 of the top 40 most populous nations. The archbishop of Uganda, Laurent Mbanda reminded us of Romans 10v14, “How ... will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?”

I mentioned yesterday that I planned to attend a seminar on the Holy Spirit in the Church led by Dr Ashley Null - and it certainly did not disappoint. 

The gospel of grace is so easily distorted into a gospel of works, making my faith the key to unlocking God’s favour. This is a huge problem amongst many of the African churches. It is pastorally disastrous because if the blessing is not forthcoming, the fault must be mine. Elsewhere many believers are hamstrung by the awareness of their sinfulness and the endless attempt to do better, try harder and summon the will power not to let God down. Still more are locked into doing good to establish the grounds for a relationship with God. These are just a few pastoral scenarios which ministers come across day by day but which Ashley showed us are simply contemporary re-runs of medieval Christianity.

However at the heart of Anglicanism is the glorious rediscovery of the gospel which is truly liberating. Thomas Cranmer’s theology of the Holy Spirit is encapsulated in the Collect for Purity. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to love God more than sin and the fruit of which is seen in lives that give God glory and magnify him. In essence, the solution to sin is the gift of a heart transplant by the Spirit (Eze 34, Jer 31).

Ashley also showed us how the reformers were clear that it is the scriptures through which the Holy Spirit speaks and works as opposed to the institutional operation of so-called ‘apostolic succession’ or the mystical influence of relics: “The words of Holy Scripture be called words of everlasting life: for they be God’s instrument ordained for the same purpose.  They have power to convert through God’s promise, and they be effectual through God’s assistance; and, being received in a faithful heart, they have ever a heavenly spiritual working in them.” (Cranmer’s Homily on Scripture)

“As I speak, with my words, go my breath.” Using this simple illustration, Dr Null was expressing why Gafcon is so unswerving in its commitment to the Bible, for without God’s word, we will not see the Holy Spirit at work in the world in transformed lives. And if the church abandons the Bible, we will simply be left with Ezekiel’s vision of dry, dead and lifeless bones.

In that vein, Dan writes:

The theme of GAFCON III is ‘Proclaiming Christ faithfully to the Nations’. Amidst all the differences between the fifty nations represented at GAFCON there is a universal recognition that in every place there can always be a drift away from faithfulness, departing from the faith once for all delivered to the saints. 

Delegates have been reminded repeatedly that there can be no effectiveness in reaching the nations if it is not the Christ of the Bible who is proclaimed. It is foundational to GAFCON that all:

“…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.”

“…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.”

A great gift of God to the present and future generations from GAFCON I in 2008 was the Jerusalem Declaration (https://www.gafcon.org/resources/the-jerusalem-declaration) which the Fowey PCC warmly welcomed that year and which is displayed at the back of church. It is the basis of the unity in diversity which is GAFCON and is also constant reminder of the components of Anglicanism that will keep all faithful.

Alongside rejoicing in and gladly proclaiming the gospel the declaration is clearly: 

➢ biblical - upholding the sufficiency & authority of scripture (para 2).

➢ historical - in upholding the four Ecumenical Councils &three Creeds (para 3).

➢ doctrinal - in upholding the Thirty-nine Articles (para 4).

➢ sacramental & liturgical - upholding the standard of the1662 BCP (para 6).

➢ episcopal - upholding the standards of the Anglican Ordinal(para 7).

➢ moral - upholding the creation order, the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage & caring for the world (para 8 & 10).

➢ missional - upholding the Great Commission (para 9).

➢ ecumenical - upholding the unity of all those who know &love Christ (para 11).

➢ global - upholding objective truth where necessary & respecting diversity where possible (para 12). 

Anglicanism like this (as opposed to dry bones) ought to truly gladden our hearts! 

with love from Jerusalem

Gafcon Update 3 - “Forward. Always forward. Everywhere forward!”

Monday 19th June
Philip writes:

“Forward. Always forward. Everywhere forward!”

Yesterday I bumped into a very old friend who I haven’t seen for over 20 years, Dr Ashley Null who is a hugely eminent church historian and leading scholar on Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. I first met Ashley when I was a ‘vicar factory’ in Cambridge. Amongst other things he taught me how to conduct a funeral, helping me hugely with the very first I led. He is leading a seminar tomorrow on the work of the Holy Spirit in justification, faith, assurance and holy living and I’ll be there, not just for old time’s sake, but because his input usually has both depth and profound application.

Ashley introduced me to Archbishop Foley Beach who is the presiding bishop of the recently formed Anglican province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He has galvanised his province with the strap line, “Forward. Always forward. Everywhere forward!” And there is a tangible sense of that energy and drive throughout the conference.

Tonight the UK delegation heard from 4 Myanmar bishops who work against the background of civil war and the chaos of internally displaced people (like the Rohinja mulisms who have been in the news). Their dioceses are vast and resources scarce but their love for the Lord Jesus and passion to proclaim him faithfully is palpable. Likewise the vision of Ben who trains pastors in Kenya or Amos who is both radio presenter and youth worker as well as local church pastor, both working with little but totally focussed, determined and all out for Jesus and his people. That we are part of this through the worldwide Gafcon family is immensely humbling. It may be tough in the Uk because of increasing secularism, but it seems it is tough everywhere, maybe in different ways, but still tough. But that is why we need each other and the spontaneous support and appreciation of one another as stories are shared is a tremendous spur to keep on keeping on with proclaiming Christ however we can with whatever resources we have.

Why? Well as Richard Coekin from Co-mission in London reminded us this morning in a brilliant exposition of Jesus’ crucifixion from Luke 23, it is because of the amazing grace of God in the cross of Christ. Simply, it is because God loves us. If you only watch or listen to one thing from the conference, listen to Richard’s talk (https://vimeo.com/275840456) as he unpacks the wonder of that love revealed a the cross and draws out 4 key implications for our mission as we seek to proclaim Christ - and him crucified - faithfully to Fowey

with love from Jerusalem.