By ARDF Board Member Willa Kane
My powerful experience at GAFCON II last month can be summed up in this way:
Unity in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It seems pretty silly to admit this, but all the times I have read and heard that Jesus prayed that we would be one just as He and the Father are one–in all the times I have read St. Paul’s many exhortations to unity in the church–I never stopped to think that the call to unity assumes that there already ARE differences.
There are things that differentiate us. There is diversity. And I am here to tell you, that as I stood in that big hall at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi and looked out upon almost 1,400 people from across the globe, and realized that my little, pale face looked very different from almost everyone else’, I came face to face with this diversity. Diversity of cultures, languages, and worship styles—real differences that could have divided us.
Diversity as a Gift
Yet as we stood to sing, to praise our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, the differences faded away. As the week of GAFCON II went on, the differences faded and faded. I experienced a oneness in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a way I never had before. I discovered that unity in diversity is a gift from God and a magnificent thing.
There was a sweetness and an intimacy that was, and still is, a balm to my soul. It has ignited my passion to find effective, consistent ways to reach out to my brothers and sisters across the globe and to support them as they share the Gospel with people who are desperate to know the saving love of Jesus Christ.
I also learned that our brothers and sisters from Nigeria, DR Congo, Kenya, Australia, Brazil, South Sudan and many more places have a passion to support us as we share that same Gospel with people here in North America who are desperate to know the saving Love of Jesus Christ.
As Ephesians 4 says, unity is a gift from God. It is not something we can work out or conjure up on our own. It is rooted in God’s own trinitarian being as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As we live out the reality of the Holy Trinity in our lives, our unity will be a reflection of God’s very nature to the world. Only He can make this real.
Unity in Action
So what? What do we do with this idea of unity in Christ through the power of the Spirit? How do we translate this into action in our everyday lives in ways that show Christ to the those close by and those on the other side of the globe?
I have the privilege of serving as a US trustee for ARDF—an organization that has partnered with Anglican churches in the developing world to complete more than 124 projects worth almost 6 million dollars over the past 7 years. In addition, more than $1 million has been channeled through ARDF to meet urgent relief needs. Our methodology is to search out local ventures in developing countries that have high-impact results and provide permanent life changes. There is always a strong gospel component to our projects—clearly, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that creates change.
These projects happen because there are relationships between people in the ACNA and people in the developing world. This global church we are a part of is a church of real relationships–relationships that flow from a connection in Jesus.
I left part of my heart in Nairobi with people I care deeply about–people who returned to their homes in the DR Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia and Brazil–people whose lives look very different from mine. But all of them are people whose hearts have been broken and redeemed by the same Lord—Jesus Christ.
Through the love of Christ, in the unity of the Spirit, I hope you will feel called to join with us as we serve the needs of a lost a dying world and share the saving love of Jesus Christ.
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Willa Kane is an ARDF Trustee, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a founding member of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. She lives in Raleigh with her husband John and has three charming sons, one lovely daughter, and four adorable grandchildren.Help raise awareness: