Essentials Autumn 2014
Libby Hore-Lacy reports on a 24 hour EFAC Retreat.
Free to Pray, a 24hour retreat was held at Belgrave Heights in April this year. The aim of the retreat was to create time and space to attend to our prayer relationship with God. Nicky Chiswell led us in several Bible reflections demonstrating various aspects of prayer and several workshops provided opportunity to explore new ways of contemplative prayer. A few comments from some people who shared our retreat time give some insight into this time:
I haven't missed an EFAC retreat and plan not to! … a most helpful mix of bible input and reflection, balanced with tracts of personal time to spend with the Lord, gently supported by the discreet presence of the leading team. God has used the days to remind me of His Sovereignty and tender love.
Bishop Tony Nichols was one of nine from the Diocese of Perth who visited China in April. The main purpose was to visit the Amity Press in Nanjing, the largest publisher of Bibles in the world. The tour was organized by Dr Khoo Kay Keng and led by Archbishop Roger Herft. Tony, who admits to being a China watcher since his youth, reflects on his two visits to China, 50 years apart.
Mao Zedung, ‘the Great Helmsman’, was at the height of his powers and piloting this great nation onto the rocks. Up to 50 million are thought to have starved to death in his ‘Great Leap Forward’.
Christians were no longer visible. They had numbered nearly a million in 1949 when the Communists took power. Church leaders had been executed or sent to labour camps. Church properties were confiscated and became factories or warehouses.
The Bible was banned (mine was confiscated). Christianity was declared to be a tool of Western imperialism. All Protestant churches had been merged in the ‘Three Self Patriotic Movement’ (TSPM) and placed firmly under Party control at every level. Subsequently, Mao’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ (1966–76) brought a further wave of persecution for Christians and plunged society generally into chaos.
This issue of Essentials has two major focuses. Two reflections on GAFCON lead into other articles to do with mission and the state of the Anglican church. Kanishka Rafffel reports on GAFCON, that making disciples was the big idea, and Richard Condie contrasts the Jerusalem and Nairobi conferences. We include the GAFCON Statement from Nairobi as well.
Mark Short and Allan Bate help us think about mission and theology in a church that is focussing on mission.
The second focus is on indigenous life and ministry. Murray Seiffert writes provocatively about his experience of ministry in the Northern Territory, and Joy Sandefur has review articles on two important books to do with indigenous life. Her review of Peter Sutton’s book, The Politics of Suffering, is especially important I think. I hope we will have other articles in the future on these topics.
Steven Daly reviews Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book That Made Your World. And Andrew Malone reviews E. Randolph Richards, Paul and First-Century Letter Writing. Plus more.
EFAC Australia is considering making Essentials an electronic journal. We would like your feedback on this proposal. If you haven't yet responded please use the poll on the home page (among others) to register your opinion.
Dale Appleby is the Rector of Christ the King Willetton in the Diocese of Perth and the Editor of Essentials.