-an excerpt from my upcoming book 'Restoring Health: Body, Mind and Spirit', a sequel to 'Battle for the Soul of Canada'.
Have you ever been stuck at a key transition-point in your life?
You don’t need to run in keeping up with others. Enter into God’s rest. Keep your eye on the finishing line (which is Him). You will be moving into new things...word of knowledge... You will be gifted in this area...You are in an apprenticeship time at present. You will disciple others. You are a man of God’s Word, things of the Kingdom. You are a person of vision...a visionary...long-range. God is going to put you in a key place and you will find yourself training and discipling others.
Ten years later, the Rev Freda gave further insight into the 1998 Canterbury prophecy, saying:
...the underlying thrust was to trust God for the outcome of the plans He had in using you and that while you were to do all that was necessary, it was not for you to try and make anything happen but to follow the Lord's leading using the gifts and skills He gave in the best way you knew and through what you had learned as your experience grew.
I had no idea how powerfully God was going to use the 1998 ARM/SOMA Pre-Lambeth Leadership Conference. Most of us as Anglican Westerners were still stuck in the ‘inside strategy’ mindset. Being conflict-avoiders, we were going to ‘fix’ the North American Anglican churches while still inside the old institution. Institutionalism is a mental virus that can slip inside the mind of even the most sincere believer, turning us toxic. We Canadian Anglicans were still quite ‘gung-ho’, but the American Anglicans/Episcopalians at the Canterbury Leadership Conference were unusually quiet. They lacked their usual American ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude. When Americans go quiet, you can tell that something is up.
At the official Canadian night, Bishop Eddie Marsh of Central Newfoundland invited the Americans to come up and share. I will never forget how Bishop Alex Dickson and Dr. (now Bishop) John Rodgers stood up and repented to our African colleagues for the shame that the USA has brought on the Anglican Church, and for Bishop John Spong’s castigating of African Anglicans as just one step out of animism and witchcraft:[ii]
“(Bishop Spong) has insulted you. We are ashamed for him; we are ashamed for ourselves. We ask your forgiveness and we assure you that he does not speak for us.”[iii]
Hundreds of African bishops and clergy spontaneously flocked forward and hugged the Americans, weeping and declaring God’s forgiveness. Todd Wetzel of Anglicans United said that ‘this was one of the American Church’s finest moments in decades.’ This prophetic action of repentance and forgiveness, I believe, was the birth of the Global South Anglican movement.[iv] Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini and Moses Tay were the first Global South Primates to publicly adopt North American Anglicans into their Provinces through the Anglican Mission in the Americas, but many other Anglican Primates have since joined them, resulting in the unforgettable Jerusalem 2008 GAFCON conference and an unprecedented ‘boycott’ of Lambeth 2008 by hundreds of Anglican bishops representing most of the fifty-five million Anglicans worldwide. God used that 1998 pre-Lambeth Leadership conference to help Anglicans to become unstuck.
Rev Ed Hird
Rector, St Simon's Church North Vancouver
Anglican Coalition in Canada
[i] Terry B Walling, Stuck!, ChurchSmart Resources, 2008 “Without transitions, and the paradigm shifts that occur, Christ followers would stay stuck!”, p. XIII
[ii] “African Christians? They're just a step up from witchcraft: What Bishop Spong had to say about his fellow Christians, John Spong interviewed by Andrew Carey, Church of England Newspaper, July 10th 1998. Newspaper & Andrew Carey. "They've moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They've yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we've had to face in the developing world. That's just not on their radar screen."
[iii] Doug LeBlanc, Lambeth, 1998, “Episcopal Dissidenta, African Allies”, Dr Miranda Hassett, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, http://anglicanhistory.org/academic/hassett2004.pdf
[iv] GAFCON, http://www.gafcon.org ; Global South Anglican Online, http://www.globalsouthanglican.org