What marks a movement of the Spirit?

GAFCON day 3 has been a long one, with various aspects underlining what is making this movement something very relevant and challenging. The morning bible study on Ephesians 2, reconciling us to God and each other, was led by someone with first hand experience of uniting Christians from Tamil and Sinhalese communities, who usually were at war, as a witness to the Spirit’s presence. There was a 3 session mini conference on the person and work of the Spirit in the Anglican church, including a masterful analysis of the way evangelical, catholic and charismatics have grown in relation to each other, and how our commitment to the gospel (evangel), the spiritual unity of the church ( its catholicity) and its life transforming equipping by God are all vital together in GAFCON, but also in any healthy church.
What that then brings together are unexpected overlaps of fellowship. At lunch I was sat next to King Banakole of Nigeria, who is king of one of the southern tribes. He shared a totally new way of church planting: he left leading a church in Lagos ( of 2000!), to church plant by becoming king!!! Kings have power to decide such things, so in the last 2 years his church has grown tenfold! I’m not sure if it would work in Cheadle, but I am willing to give it a go! 😉
It was touching to find about how many people regularly pray for us in the UK. One 30-something archdeacon, Jube, ex church planter, in another one of those fast growing Nigerian dioceses, told me, one reason is that nearly every family he knows has at least one child in higher education in the UK. They are deeply concerned for what our culture is feeding them, and grieve that the Anglican church is so poor at keeping them ( which is one reason the Redeemed Church of Nigeria in UK is one of the fastest growing churches in the UK, 25% last year). For them GAFCON is needed in UK for the sake of their next generation.
And the last session was led by our old friend Miguel Uchoa, now bishop of Recife, and still Junior’s boss, although I haven’t managed a chat yet through the scrum.
However, continuing my delusions of significance, in the evening, we were guests of the Deputy High Commissioner of Nairobi, who had 100 of us over for tea! It turns out he is an evangelical Christian, and has a very nice house behind its 15 ft barbed wire and security guards!
There was a late dinner and some consultations by the UK contingent on various things, which will crop up again later this week, so more then.
However what connects these various strands is a realisation that the gospel truly unites us in fellowship and mission. And that is- experienced not by theory, but by being and working together. Who knows what God might choose to do if the gospel passion of the global south were more pro-actively resourced by and encountered by the complacent Western churches. It would only happen if we humbled ourselves before a work of God’s grace in something that might indeed look not too dissimilar to a Gafcon!

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As Rector of Cheadle I have the best boss of this and any world, the biggest extended family and the greatest of jobs- to share good news!

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One comment on “What marks a movement of the Spirit?
  1. Neale Hayward-Shott says:

    King Robert of Cheadle! I suppose it does have a sort of ring to it.

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