Anglicans need to 'repent and refocus on mission', says bishop

Published 12 June 2009
Anglican clergy and laity attending the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and Ireland in London on July 6 will hear the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, call for "repentance and a renewed commitment to evangelism and mission".

The launch of the Fellowship comes less than a year after the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, which led to a declaration of Orthodox beliefs.

At a time when the Anglican church in North America and Canada is facing major splits between liberals and orthodox members, the Fellowship is being launched to provide "a home, focus and support for orthodox churches in diocese and provinces which they believe they can no longer be aligned with, or have been excluded from over their beliefs".

Delegates gathering at Westminster Central Hall will hear from a wide range of international speakers, including Bishop Keith Ackerman, president of Forward in Faith (North America), Archbishop of Sydney the Most Rev Peter Jensen, and Baroness Caroline Cox.

The morning sessions will focus on the global Anglican Communion, with welcome messages from the Archbishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, before looking in detail at the key issues of unity, orthodoxy, the uniqueness of Christ and holiness of life.

The Bishops of Chichester, the Rt Rev John Hind, and Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst will also speak.

Afternoon sessions will address the challenges of mission in a society of aggressive secularism, with special input from the Rev Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, and Canon Vinay Samuel from India. Following teaching by Bishop Wallace Benn on biblical fellowship, delegates will then focus on the opportunities and challenges for mission in the British Isles, with film and interviews from around the UK.

The launch event will conclude with Bishop Nazir-Ali preaching and presiding at the service of Holy Communion. Organisers say he will call delegates, on behalf of the wider Church, to “repent of capitulating to cultures around them and to refocus on the faith of the church down the ages and on authentic mission to our nations”.

The Rev Paul Perkin, chairman of the event planning team said he was "thrilled" that clergy and laity were coming from across the UK and Ireland and from evangelical, charismatic and Anglo-Catholic traditions.

"We believe this will be a day full of vision and encouragement to witness to the Gospel and to the historic teachings of the Church," he said.

“We also want to express the public co-operation of all orthodox Anglicans to ensure the continuance of orthodox Anglican faith in the Anglican churches of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and to express publicly our support for those orthodox Anglicans who are under severe pressure and persecution in North America and Canada.

“We believe the Bishop of Rochester’s closing address to us will bring together a time of sorrow, expressed for brothers and sisters marginalised by diocese and provinces, but also joy, as together, we stand and recommit ourselves into God’s service for mission and ministry.”

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