As Chair of EFAC Global I had privilege of participating in the EFAC USA Conference hosted by The Advent Cathedral in the heart of downtown Birmingham. This a very lively Episcopal Church led by the Dean - Very Reverend Dr Andrew Pearson. They have a very innovative approach to contemporary music and praise led by Rev Zac Hicks.
There were around 80 or more participants with a mix of evangelicals within the Episcopal Church as well as members of the Anglican Church of North America.
The Conference from November 5-8 was anchored by Services of Morning and Evening Prayer each day with homilies from a range of people. The focus of the Conference was on Preaching with the main guest speaker being Rev Vaughan Roberts (UK). Vaughan gave two addresses as well as preaching at one of the daily services. Each talk was very well presented. They both challenging as well as encouraging. One of Vaughan’s strengths is that he speaks out of a parish context, where he is putting theory into practice week in and week out.
The other speakers were - Dr Gerald Bray (Beeson), Very Rev Dr Andrew Pearson (The Advent Cathedral), Rev Dr John Yates III (ACNA, North Carolina). Each of these were outstanding and reflected on an aspect of preaching in a postmodern context. There were a number of workshops including one on EFAC Global, which was given by Bishop Stephen Hale (Australia) chairman of the EFAC Global Executive Committee
There was an excellent spirit at the Conference with very good relations between the Episcopal and ACNA people.
There was a clear sense that they are in a new season and that EFAC USA/Global has a vital role in drawing together evangelicals from within both TEC and ACNA. Evangelicals are a minority within the TEC but they seem to be growing in number and influence. ACNA represents three streams - catholic, charismatic and evangelical Anglicans. My sense was that 10 years after the splits a new generation is emerging. There are still many challenges but also many new opportunities.
There seemed to be a lot energy for growing the movement and seeking to draw in a larger group at the 2020 Conference in November, 2020.
Being at the Conference reinforced for me that EFAC Global is a fellowship of evangelical Anglicans and can be a great connector within the plurality of global Anglicanism.
As a movement EFAC USA appear to have several things going for them:
- good relations because they are smaller
- gospel clarity
- strong parishes (in a context of significant decline)
- a good seminary in Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh
- key and able leaders
- potential access to financial resources
- men and women in ministry and leadership
- a number of influential bishops within the TEC as well as ACNA.
It was a pleasure to be a guest of EFAC USA. I came away greatly encouraged.
Bishop Stephen Hale
(Chair – EFAC Global).
Reported in the Church of England Newspaper January 3 2020