Sunday, June 22, 2008

GAFCON: Transcript of Archbishop Akinola’s opening address

Posted on Stand Firm, Archbishop Peter Akinola's opening address at GAFCON:

People of the living God, welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome to GAFCON. One of the marks of apostolic ministry is signs, wonders and miracle[1]. There are many in today's Church, who would lay claim to apostolic authority without holding on to apostolic faith nor do they manifest any of the marks of the apostles. In GAFCON, I have seen signs and wonders. That we are able to gather here this week is a miracle for which we must give thanks to God.

There have been many seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but as a testimony that the Lord our God is firmly in control of GAFCON, he has graciously removed them. A conference of this magnitude would normally require several years of extensive planning, consultations and fund raising. We had barely five months to put this conference together. The Lord raised men and women who gladly and willingly offered their time, skill and money to make it happen.

I am very grateful to the members of the leadership team for their selfless and sacrificial roles in helping to deliver this conference, [please stand for recognition] We are deeply grateful to all provincial, diocesan and parish local committees, the donors, the tour agents, the travel agents, the Jordanian and Israeli governments for allowing us to meet here and in Jordan. Brethren, we appreciate the labours of love of the theological resource group. I must also thank in advance all those who will provide leadership in worship, workshops and plenary. We are heavily indebted to the various sub-committees and their leaders. God bless you all.

Why are we here? What have we come to do?

The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) holding here in the holy land this week has understandably elicited both commendation and contempt in varying measures from all who claim a stake in shaping the futureidentity or in destroying the traditional identity of the global Anglican Communion.

Those who failed to admit that by the unilateral actions they took in defiance of the Communion have literally torn the very fabric of our common life at it deepest level since 2003, are grumbling that we are here to break the Communion.

Similarly, those who fail, for whatever reason to come to terms with the painful reality that the Communion is in a state of brokenness and lacked the ability to secure a genuine reconciliation, but simply carried on the work of the Communion in a manner that is business as usual are not happy with us.

And of course there are those who argue that while there may be some justification for GAFCON; why not call it after Lambeth 2008.

But thanks be to God that there are millions of people around the world including members of other denominations and those of other faiths who not only share our concerns but have chosen to partner with us and are praying for us.

For those of us gathered here in the Name of the Lord, and on behalf of the over 35 million faithful Anglicans we represent[2]GAFCON is a continuation of that quiet but consistentinitiative, a godly instrument appointed to reshape, reform, renew and reclaim a true Anglican Biblical orthodox Christianity that is firmly anchored in historic faith and ancient formularies.

Be that as it may, we must note that we cannot understand our present circumstance without locating it within the context of the controversies of the past decade. Every responsible historian knows that his task is predicated on the treasury of past events-rightly interpreted, as the compass for the present and guide for the future.For this reason, GAFCON takes its bearings from the tides of varied opinions and equivocations that have characterised our Communion in the last few years and exposed our once robust reputation as children of the Reformation to scorn. We were well-known for our stand on Scripture as the foundation stone of our tradition and reason. . .

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