Over 1000 senior leaders from seventeen provinces in the Anglican Communion, representing 35 million church-going Anglicans, have registered for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem at the close of the online registration process. They include 280 bishops, almost all accompanied by their wives. Final attendance figures will depend on smooth processing of requested visas, and other factors.
GAFCON leaders have met in the period leading up to Pentecost with the leaders of Anglican, Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic churches and Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews in Jerusalem to brief them on the nature and purpose of GAFCON. GAFCON is concerned to affirm the continuing presence of the Church in the Holy Land.
Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney, the chair of the Programme Committee reports that the programme is almost complete. “Our programme will focus on the transforming love of Christ. We will be drawing from the scriptures of the Old and New Testament in our pilgrimage, and their relevance to the challenges facing the church globally today. These include secularism, other religions, poverty and HIV/Aids as well as moral and theological issues.”
Pilgrims will visit traditional sites in Jerusalem during the pilgrimage June 22 – 29, 2008 including Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Ophel Gardens and Temple steps where at the first Pentecost Peter preached and people of all nations responded. The 1000 pilgrims will travel to Bethlehem to the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field, and then to Galilee.
The goals of the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem are to:
1. Provide an opportunity for fellowship as well as to continue to experience and proclaim the transforming love of Christ.
2. Develop a renewed understanding of our identity as Anglican Christians.
3. Prepare for an Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centered mission a top priority. Pentecost 2008