The new Church Society Council held its first meeting in London since the merger with Reform and the Fellowship of Word & Spirit. The council opened with a reflection on Ephesians 1: 1-14, and a time of prayer. Rev. Dr Mark Burkill was unanimously elected to be the chairman, with Rev. Paul Darlington and Rev. Dr Rob Munro chosen as vice-chairmen.
According to Lee Gatiss, director of the Church Society, this ‘nicely expressed’ the new unity between Church Society, Reform, and the Fellowship of Word & Spirit, with these three former chairmen of the uniting organisations now leading the merged entity.
Mr Gatiss commented, ‘As a council, we had re-read the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration from 2008 and were delighted to affirm this basis for the Gafcon movement. We warmly received the “Letter to the Churches” from the recent Gafcon conference in Jerusalem and are committed partners within this movement to renew the Anglican Communion and proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations.
‘Several members of council had been moved and encouraged by their attendance at Gafcon, which could well be [as one delegate put it] a turning point in the history of Anglicanism’.
Church Society has also decided to express its partnership and solidarity with other evangelical groups nearer to home in this country, by fostering a closer relationship with Affinity.
Mr Gatiss continued, ‘The council has appointed various groups and committees for the coming year, to take forward our mission and advance our aim to strengthen local churches in biblical faith and help shape the Church of England now and for the future’.
A key focus will be to ‘work hard to amplify the voice of conservative evangelicals in the Church of England, clarify our concerns for the truth, and testify to the gospel together’.