Standing and worshipping God in Jerusalem last week in an auditorium filled with 1950 Anglicans from around the globe, singing heartily under the leadership of an amazing Nigerian choir was one of the the most wonderful experiences I have had for quite a while!
The commitment and stories which came from around the world were challenging - and often deeply moving. People spoke of their passion for Biblical Christianity, affirmed their commitment to a global church, and told stories of persecution and of hope. The conference produced a statement you can read here.
I loved hearing solid Biblical exposition from my colleagues from Africa, South America, Asia and indeed the UK and USA! So much of our theology is taught from a western perspective, so to hear other nuances and illustrations gave me fresh insights into what following Jesus means today.
I loved visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was amazing to visit the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, the shepherd’s field in Bethlehem… the countryside completely unchanged even as, of course, the urban landscape has changed.
I loved meeting female clergy from around the world: there were 92 priests and deacons there - and it was such fun to feel like part of a large group of international, female priests from so many countries.
I loved being a part of Bishop John’s team who helped to coordinate worship every day. What a huge privilege it was to serve alongside so many other fabulous people.
I loved seeing Jeff Walton, Amy Rowe and David Hanke in the crowd and felt proud that Restoration/Incarnation had such a good turnout! Other friends - including Clay M. and Gregory Whitaker were delightful lunch companions!
I loved meeting so many other church planters, from different countries, different cultures, different expectations and the same hope: all united in working to see the gospel reaching those who have never heard the good news that they are beloved by our heavenly Father.
So if someone offers you the chance to go to GAFCON 2023 - seize the opportunity!