Issued by the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA - Southern Africa)
For Immediate Release
3 September 2009
FELLOWSHIP OF CONFESSING ANGLICANS LAUNCHED IN SOUTH AFRICA
Seventy Anglican clergy and laity are today (September 3) attending the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (South Africa) at St John’s Church in Port Elizabeth.
FCA, which grew out of the Gafcon Conference in Jerusalem in 2008, has already seen successful national launches of Anglicans signed up to the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ across the globe, including in London in June 2009. The Port Elizabeth day gathering, called ‘Be Faithful’, will, say organisers “send out a clear message that “the Scriptures exhort us to remain faithful to the faith ‘once for all delivered to the saints’, to the Lordship of Christ and hence to Apostolic teaching and practice.”
FCA (South Africa) leaders stress that FCA is not another organization and is not seeking to create another church. They add: “It is a spiritual movement and fellowship for renewal, reformation and mission – uniquely bringing together those whose key shaping and commitment, but not exclusive identity, has been through the Anglo-Catholic, conservative evangelical, and charismatic expressions of Anglicanism. The FCA movement unites them in one fellowship defined by its centre in the Christian faith as currently expressed in the Jerusalem Declaration and Statement.”
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, commended the meeting in these terms:” The aim of all faithful evangelicals and catholics throughout the Church must be to witness to the truth in love and unity”.
Anglicans from across South Africa - from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Church of England in South Africa and the Traditional Anglican Communion - were welcomed as an example that the FCA is a body in which healing between different Anglican groups can take place, and not schism.
In his keynote address, Canon Dr Vinay Samuel from India and Oxford who spoke at the London launch challenged the participants: “Can you bring the biblical resources of faith to shape the heart of South Africa’s agenda. Will its agenda be shaped by simply an ideology of rights and use the iconic status of leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela to silence any other view? That is not a great gift to the world from South Africa. You will draw on the best of South Africa’s journey of social transformation. But you are called to the prophetic stance of the obedient disciple, rather than the stance of political people who have become messianic with the new universal of human rights which is now being imposed, claiming that these rights are self-evident –and if the Bible teaches anything different it is to be rejected. They own the Bible, and claim the Holy Spirit, for the service of this ideology. That is based on power, not on obedience.”
FCA is being launched to support those in South Africa who hold and support orthodox faith, and at least one annual meeting will be held for teaching and fellowship, to strengthen the quality of biblical teaching and preaching. Retired Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya was present representing the Primates Council of GAFCON whose chairman Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria, sent the following greeting: “ What a great blessing and tremendous joy to know that the mustard seed of GAFCON sown in the land of our LORD barely a year ago is already growing so fast and so big.
“May I remind you that issues and concerns that led to GAFCON are still very much with us. Revisionists will not come to repentance. The action of TEC at its recent General Convention have confirmed our fears that for them, there is no going back. They are intensifying their search for new disciples in Africa, using mammon to buy silence and cheap compromise of the Gospel. They claim to be theologically with us, but are in full alliance with all that we stand against.
“GAFCON and FCA people must continue to stand very firm on the word of God. We must not waver or succumb to pressures posed by finance and economics. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. We must trust him who has called us. He is faithful and will provide what is needed for his work.”
Messages of support were also read out from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, who said: “I am delighted to send fraternal greetings from those in the Church of England who are seeking to uphold the biblical faith and practice of the Anglican Communion and pray God’s blessings on your work as you seek to meet the many challenges to the faith today in the power of the Spirit and through faith in God and his Word.”
Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream (UK) also sent a greeting, adding: “We are delighted to see the development of the faithful work and witness of Father Gavin Mitchell and others in Anglican Mainstream South Africa. We rejoice that they are taking forward the concern for orthodox Anglican witness at this critical time and have ensured that those of us in the rest of the Anglican Communion are aware of the challenges you are facing and how you are addressing them. We stand in solidarity with you in this vital work.”