Marc Steele Gafcon
Reflections on GAFCON 2018
The Rev. Marc Steele - Holy Trinity Syracuse, NY
My main role at GAFCON was to serve as a liaison between the organizers and the Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy. This entailed many trips for us between the airport and convention center to transport 1,950 delegates to their lodging and other additional tasks. The team faced a rigorous first three days, working 18 hour shifts to pull everything together.
Having, the privilege of seeing how the conference came together form the backend allowed me to realize how truly global this movement is. The Sydney team led by conference chairman Rev. Canon Daniel Willis integrated leaders and volunteers from various locales in order to produce a harmonious event comprised of worship, prayer, exposition, and seminars.
In worship, this was evidenced by the exuberant Nigerian choir which led the 2,000 present in African worship songs and classical hymns. While those genres are different, the same level of energy poured out from the conference hall no matter what was sung as we sought to glorify God.
This spirit of cooperation carried over to what I considered to be the most important development of the conference, the formation of nine networks: Church Planting, Theological Education, Bishops Training, Children and Youth Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Global Missions Partnerships, Intercessors Fellowship, Lawyer’s Taskforce, and Sustainable Development. Multiple speakers spoke of the need to focus on the growth of GAFCON, not just protest. I believe that these networks are the catalyst that will allow the efforts of the movement to spill out into congregations throughout the year. It is difficult for individual parishes to develop programs and strategies in these areas. GAFCON will ensure that these are done in a way that honors Christ as Lord.
The most personally significant experience I had was attending the keynote given by Archbishop Okoh on Monday. In what served as a State of the Union for the communion, he assessed different ways that a false gospel afflicted the different regions of the Church. While we are all tempted to stray from biblical fidelity in different manners, he stated that we are all called to unify around the work of Christ and resist falsehood no matter how it manifests. His rallying cry was, “It is either God’s gospel, or no gospel.” With this as our organizing principle we will succeed in proclaiming Christ faithfully to the nations.