GAFCON2 reflections, Nairobi, October 2013

By Simon Vibert

 

GAFCON2 (the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference) has just finished.

 

 

Choosing Nairobi as a venue has caused considerable anxiety over recent months. The airport was nearly destroyed by fire in the summer and the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab attacked the Westgate shopping Mall only a matter of weeks before the start. However, I am so grateful that it was held here.

 

 

Our hosts, All Saints Cathedral and Archbishop Wabukala, have done such a marvellous job, both in their welcome to us and the exemplary organisation.

 

 

I was not present in Jerusalem in 2008 for the first such global conference. I sense that the movement has gone from strength to strength since then. There were nearly 1300 delegates, 331 of whom are Bishops, and 27 Anglican Provinces. There has been a great spirit of unity among the 120+ UK delegates, although it is sobering to note that there were more Nigerian Bishops than the entire UK contingency!

 

 

The week began with a presentation of the impact of the East African Revival which swept Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and beyond, in the 1930s. I was deeply moved to hear of the key themes of brokenness, calls to repentance, Christ-centredness and visibly changed lives through the work of the Holy Spirit in individuals and communities. In the 1970s these key themes were rediscovered and a new wave of revival swept through East Africa.

 

 

It was fitting that our closing Holy Communion service incorporated an extended time of individual and corporate confession and repentance. Whilst the Jerusalem Declaration rightly makes the following point (no 13):

 

 

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