Gathered in Order to be Sent Out

Dear GSFA Family and Friends, 

I am writing this at the start of Holy Week. 

May our hearts be broken and captivated again by the self-giving and sacrificial love of Jesus Christ our Lord on the Cross. We know that Christ’s bodily resurrection on the third day is the seal that God the Father has accepted His death as the just penalty for the sin of all humankind. Hence, all who put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour have their sins forgiven and have the gift of the Holy Spirit for newness of life. 

This is the Gospel that we must guard, live out and proclaim; and this is at the heart of GSFA’s 1st Assembly, under its Covenantal Structure, in June 2024! We are gathering in order to be sent out as Gospel-bearers in such a time as this when we are seeing the onslaught of revisionism in the Church and the unreeling of the world on so many fronts .

1st Assembly in Egypt (11th – 15th June 2024) 

Here’s the theme verse that God has pressed upon the hearts of the GSFA leadership:

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
(Isaiah 49:6)

The restoration of Israel was too small a task for ‘the servant of the Lord’. God’s plan was to make His servant  a light to the Gentiles (the nations) and to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.  According to Simeon, Jesus is that light. He testified saying: “my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30–32). Jesus is ‘the servant of the Lord’ par excellence. He fulfils the prophecy but He does not exhaust it. For in Acts 13: 47, the apostle Paul applies the prophecy in Is 49:6 to his missionary band. The prophecy passes on from Christ to His disciples as they faithfully propagate the Gospel ‘once for all delivered’ to the ends of the earth.

  That is the key objective of the 1st Assembly: to gather in order that we may be sent out afresh by the Holy Spirit to proclaim this glorious Gospel. Yes, we will continue to vigorously defend the “good deposit of the Gospel” (2 Tim.1:14) against the tide of revisionism and false teaching. But the Lord is calling us to go beyond and to also mobilise the faithful Church to take the Gospel out to the world. More than ever, a self-destroying world needs the transforming power and solid hope that the Gospel brings. 

We are thrilled that almost 150 delegates will be present in Egypt as a conciliar body of bishops, clergy and lay people to hear from God, connect for mission and elect office-bearers and governing bodies for the GSFA in accordance with our Covenantal Structure. The delegates will come from our 11 member Provinces, 3 associate member dioceses and 12 mission partners. They will be joined by about 30 observers and special guests from the wider Church. May the Lord be pleased to pour out His Spirit so that the light of the Gospel will shine brightly through a revitalised Church that holds forth the truth with courage, authenticity and self-giving love. 

Re-setting the Communion 

We praise God for the Anglican Orthodox Leaders gathering in Cairo in October 2023 which GSFA was pleased to host. GSFA will continue to work with all other orthodox Primates and groupings in restoring the Communion to its biblical and historical doctrinal foundation, and in re-setting its common life in faith and order, with Gospel mission to the world as a clear priority. 

In collaboration with others, we will do our best to support the orthodox across the Communion in their battle with revisionism.  We are encouraged at this time by the faithful response of orthodox Anglicans in England who are having to face the departure of the Church of England’s  leadership from biblical orthodoxy. They are working together to find ways to remain robustly  faithful to God and His word in their life and witness. The unity of orthodox Anglicans, despite sometimes different structural responses, is important in the collective witness of the faithful people of God. 

Following the example of ‘the holy remnant’ in Scripture, what unites orthodox Anglicans is that we are committed to be stewards of God’s revealed truth in Scripture and ministers of God’s saving love in Christ. GSFA sees itself under God as an ecclesial locus of unity, common life and mission for orthodox Anglicans world-wide. Pray that we will fulfil God’s purpose. 

A Call to Prayer

Only the Lord can build His Church for such an hour. We are indeed hard-pressed on every side, but the power of God, released in answer to persevering prayer, can overcome all the difficulties and challenges that stand in the way of the Church’s radiant witness in the world. 

Isaiah 49:6 carries a promise from God : “I will make you as a light to the nations.” Only God can make us a strong, united  and joyful fellowship that brings Gospel life to the nations in unison with other parts of His faithful body. . Would you stand on the promises of God that He will make the GSFA family such a fellowship that reaches a world in need of Christ?  Pray for: 

  • the election of new leaders at the Assembly. 
  • GSFA’s three ministry tracks: Missions Partnerships , Economic Empowerment and Leadership & Ministerial Development as they are refreshed and relaunched at the Assembly.
  • GSFA to play a servant role in fostering unity, collaboration and momentum among the various orthodox groupings in the Communion.

… and that truly the Assembly in June will be an experience of being “gathered to be sent out.” 

In God we trust, for love of Him we lay down our lives and to Him we give all the glory! 

The Most Rev Dr Justin Badi Arama
Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and
Chair of GSFA

Download File