Bishop Eric Menees
June 17-22 of this year, several members of the Diocese of San Joaquin and I will be participating in the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem.
We meet in Jerusalem for its spiritual and historic significance. Bethlehem - just outside of Jerusalem - is, of course, the birthplace of Jesus (Emmanuel; “God with us”) Jerusalem is the place of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection! Jerusalem also holds a special place in the hearts of the GAFCON movement, as it was the location of the very first conference back in 2008, which Bishop Schofield attended and in which he played a significant role. Jerusalem stands as a constant reminder of the birth of the Gospel and of the movement’s determination to remain true to the teachings of our Lord and his Word.
In 2008, over 1,100 delegates from among the laity, deacons, priests, and bishops from around the world attended the first gathering. At the second conference, in Nairobi in 2013, this number grew to over 1,500. And in 2018, the expectation is that the number will be closer to 2,000.
GAFCON launched as a means of uniting Anglicans from around the world in our common faith, as opposed to simply being united under a relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1867, when the bishops of the Anglican Communion first gathered for the Lambeth Conference, the concept that we might not be united by a common faith and practice was so utterly foreign to their way of thinking that it was simply assumed that, if you were Anglican, you were a biblically based Christian living under the authority of God, His Word, and His Church.
Now, 150 years later, that assumption can no longer be made. There are people who call themselves “Anglicans” and who are in relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury, but who deny the uniqueness of Christ for salvation. These people deny the authority of the Holy Scriptures and manipulate the teachings of the church so that - to a vast majority of our brothers and sisters around the world - their being Anglican is in name only, and not in word or deed.
The results born from the first Global Anglican Future Conference have been historic. Anglican Christians from around the world have begun recapturing the command of our Lord to: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) A movement of the Spirit has been born, and the most tangible result of GAFCON 2008 was the Jerusalem Declaration.
Over the next several months in the Bishop’s Note and in the San Joaquin Anglican, I’d like to examine the Jerusalem Declaration in depth and explore what the Lord would have us do as Anglican Christians in the Diocese of San Joaquin.
I pray you all every blessing!