The GAFCON Australasia Conference has opened in Canberra with over 350 delegates gathering together from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
In his opening keynote address on the first evening the chair of GAFCON Australia, Bishop Richard Condie, announced the formation of a new Diocese of the Southern Cross. Speaking to a packed room, Condie reminded those present that GAFCON Australia had originally been set up as a “break glass in case of emergency” organisation. The emergency, he stressed, had now come:
This walking away from the scriptures and the ridiculing of those who uphold them as we have seen in some presidential addresses by bishops in Australian Synods this year, IS the crisis, it IS the emergency to which we must respond.
He went on to describe the emergency facing the Anglican Church of Australia as brought about by the existence of two gospels, one of which was no gospel at all. In response GAFCON Australia has been working towards 4 goals:
- Develop and promote a national strategy to reach Australia through healthy faithful biblical orthodox Anglican churches.
- Promote reform and repentance within the Anglican Church of Australia.
- Support and strengthen healthy faithful biblical orthodox Anglican churches throughout Australia.
- Enable the Diocese of the Southern Cross to be fully formed within 2-years.
That diocese has now been formed. Condie then addressed the question of leadership:
At our conference on Thursday we will commission [former Archbishop of Sydney] Bishop Glenn Davies as the initial bishop of the Diocese of the Southern Cross to provide episcopal oversight to its affiliated congregations.
He also let the conference know that a first congregation had joined – Southern Cross Anglican Beenleigh and Logan, comprising the former vicar and many members from Beenleigh Anglican in the Diocese of Southern Queensland (Brisbane).
Bishop Condie told the conference he expected this would be “the first of many who will leave the Anglican Church of Australia due to false teaching”.
Bishop Condie closed with a charge to the entire conference, echoing words from the 2018 GAFCON in Jerusalem:
We need men and women
of courage and conviction
of determination and grace
who are filled with the spirit
who are characterised by repentance and faith.
To stand for Jesus
To go for him
To Proclaim Christ Faithfully to the Nations.
The session then heard from a number of people in different dioceses around Australia who spoke of their particular difficulties with bishops and synods as they sought to remain faithful.
Speaking to davidould.net shortly before giving his address, Condie said
This is a critical moment for the Anglican Church of Australia.
The evidence from Condie’s address tonight is that GAFCON Australia is more than willing to meet the challenge of that moment.