During morning worship, Kanishka Raffel, Archbishop of Sydney, expounded on Colossians 3:1-17 (the text of which was yet again wonderfully presented by Dean Paul Donison). Peter Jensen, retired Archbishop of Sydney, led the congregation in prayers of repentance based on what we had heard. After worship, the Gafcon* Primates announced a new funding initiative. After a break for morning tea, The Rev. Dr. Ashley Null (Canon Theologian, Province of Alexandria) gave a talk on “The Heart of Historic Anglicanism.” In it, he walked us through elements of the classic Anglican liturgy that reveal Thomas Cranmer’s conception of human sin and God’s solution.

“Shame and fear cannot produce love,” Dr. Null stated. “Only love can produce love.” And so, while Cranmer’s liturgy takes the problem of sin very seriously, it does not begin with the threat of hell and wrath. Instead (considering the Comfortable Words), it begins with the felt human need.
Did Cranmer start with hell and the coming wrath? No. With felt human need. “The glory of God is to love the unworthy. The glory of God is to relieve the burdens that we bear, even when we don’t understand why bear them.… The nature of God is to love his creation, even though we have made such a mess of it.”

This is the “truly revolutionary” thread running through English Reformation theology. God is determined to destroy the force of destruction at work in the world because he loves the world and wants to redeem it. God opposes sin because it destroys, not because it is a convenient “obstacle course” he has set up for us to prove how good we are. We cannot be shamed into love and a right relationship with God, but neither can we be saved through mere affirmation (as in liberal theology) because affirmation lacks any power to deliver from the bondage of sin.

Following lunch, delegates attended several informative seminars, including sessions on Children & Family Ministry, Clergy/Leadership Development, and Women’s Ministry. Following afternoon tea, an official Conference Photo was taken and we had a little bit of free time, when I was able to compose most of this update. Others continued to network among the other attendees, catch up with friends, or get some much-needed rest. After dinner, we heard mission updates from around the world—(as we did yesterday and the day before, but which I regrettably failed to note in my updates). Tomorrow we will, among other things, hear the final version of the statement for the Conference and vote on it.

Representing the Gulf Atlantic Diocese

* I and some others in the Communications cohort here learned late yesterday that this word is styled GAFCON when it refers to the actual Conferences, and Gafcon when it refers to the movement and its leaders—but I have not corrected past blog entries.

Photos courtesy Fr. Sam Horowitz, Bishop Alex Farmer, Canon Keith Allen, Dean Andrew Rowell, Archdeacon Jessica Jones, and Dean John Wallace.