Authority of Canterbury rejected, a new era has come – GAFCON chairman Laurent Mbanda

Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, Chairman of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) has reiterated the church’s affirmation to observe the authority of the scripture, condemn and confront any doctrine that contradicts the authenticity of the word of God.

He made the remarks on June 13, as he briefed the press in Kigali about some of the aspects in the Kigali Commitment amended at the fourth Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) that was held in Kigali from 17-21 April 2023.

This conference brought together 1,302 delegates from 52 countries, including 315 bishops, 456 other clergy and 531 laity, representing 80 per cent of Global Anglican communion.

GAFCON is a movement which unites together a global family of authentic Anglicans striving to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion as well as spreading good news of Christ.

Previously, the conference was respectively held in Jerusalem and Nairobi in 2008, 2013 and 2018. GAFCON takes place every five years.

Mbanda recognised everyone who voluntarily contributed to the success of the conference.

Why is 2023 GAFCON so important?

According to Mbanda, GAFCON 2023 was a necessity because western societies are becoming secular minute by minute, which ruins all Christian values. In this regard, the conference was a good opportunity for those who still have similar biblical doctrines and values to come together and strengthen their oneness.

“GAFCON plays a big role in retaining the authentic word of God to the church by making the Bible our mirror that helps us to confront some cultures that contradict the will of God. As believers, nothing else we strive for except glorifying God. Through the word of God, we discover what is good or bad,” he noted.

Every GAFCON has a declaration and the latest conference announced what is called, ‘Kigali commitment.’

What does the Kigali commitment embody?

At the fourth GAFCON Conference, new leadership was elected where Archbishop Mbanda was elected by GAFCON Primates Council as the new Chairman for a five-year term.

Other commitments include the rejection of the authority of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as the head or leader of the Anglican communion following his public statements in support of same-sex blessings.

GAFCON Chairman clearly noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury is no longer considered the leader and his statements will never be supported and he is not even one among equals.

“Archbishop of Canterbury is not fit to lead us anymore,” he added, “we call him to repentance and come back to the word of God.”

Also, the chairman promised support for anyone who wants to depart from the Church of England because of their failure.

“Kigali commitment is very important because it rejects the authority of Canterbury. A new era has come which provides a new home we are proud of,” Mbanda pointed out.

“We call on all Anglican churches worldwide to abide in the word of God, spread good news of Christ, empower and strengthen Christians.

“We, Anglicans, need leaders with effective leadership skills, good characters who have good testimonies of Christian values. Everyone, no matter their origin will not be accepted if they do not meet the criteria. Western societies committed mistakes to appoint some people in church leadership who are not Christians and who lack Christian values. We should never accept this,” Mbanda emphasized.

GAFCON priorities  

During the term of five years, GAFCON chairman shared that the church will focus on different priorities such as decade of discipleship, evangelism and mission, equip the next generation of leaders, youth and children’s ministry.

The church will also prioritize the role of women in the development of church teachings and values and in the society, demonstrate the compassion of Christ through the many Gafcon mercy ministries, educate bishops, build the bonds of fellowship and mutual edification through inter-provincial visits of the Primates.

Homosexuality is a sin

“The Anglican church of Rwanda does not accept LGBT. It is a sin. We will never allow it or trick our children into embracing it. Instead, we need to teach them the word of God so that they can accept Christ. Also, we will not prevent people (LGBT) from attending church services. The church is for sinners who are saved by God’s grace. We welcome anyone who joins us. We should share with them the good news because the church is for all of us. We pray that everyone repents and accepts Jesus Christ,” he added.