The people of Christ Church, Harris, announced today that they can no longer remain under the oversight of the bishop of Argyll and the Isles, the Right Reverend Kevin Pearson. This follows his decision to support the change to the canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) which introduced the innovation of same-sex marriage.
The fact that Lorna Ashworth has served on General Synod for 12 years, and was chosen to serve on Archbishops’ Council, shows the respect in which she is held by her peers. Her people skills, her considerable abilities in mastering complicated church business, and in articulating a point of view clearly and consistently, are well known to many. And yet Lorna is not interested in power, in making a name for herself or in being the centre of attention; rather she has simply wanted to serve, whether in Synod, in her local church, in her workplace, or as a wife and mother.
The Primates’ Communiqué appears to continue promoting the narrative of Anglicans ‘walking together’ despite the absence of four Provinces representing millions of Anglicans, and despite profound disagreement expressed within the meeting on understandings of what it means to be Christian, and how we know what is right and wrong.
Many church leaders, parishes and individual Anglicans in Britain now increasingly identify with the values and global vision of Gafcon, rather than the all too familiar trend to follow “another Gospel”: theology and practice that is seen to be more in keeping with our rapidly secularizing culture. Here is a suggested PCC resolution for those who want to publicly affiliate to this global fellowship committed to preserving and proclaiming historic, apostolic, biblical Christian faith. In this way we can support the Gafcon movement and be refreshed by the spiritual wisdom and vitality of the worldwide Church.
Reports and commentary on the June 30th event in which a number of Primates of the Anglican Communion participated in the consecration of Bishop Andy Lines as a missionary from ACNA to faithful Anglicans in Britain and Europe who are no longer in fellowship with official structures and are establishing new congregations.
The consecration of a Missionary Bishop for Europe, report on the event in Wheaton, Illinois from Andrew Gross of GAFCON.
Many in the church are trying to keep their heads down and be ‘moderate’ in the debate about same sex relationships. Can this work?
Archbishop Jensen says: "It has not worked. It cannot work. It will not work.
I mean the idea that we will be able to find a middle ground, where we will be able to be quietly or relatively conservative, while allowing for a denominational variety which blesses sexual relations outside the bonds of traditional marriage...."
From the Gafcon website.
Some helpful recent blogs and articles which explain and comment on the response of Gafcon and ACNA to the decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change their Canons on marriage:
1. Gafcon Chairman’s June 2017 letter, by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Gafcon
GAFCON UK is delighted at the announcement that its chairman Canon Andy Lines is to be consecrated by the Anglican Church in North America as a missionary bishop to Europe under the auspices of GAFCON. We believe this will play an important part in the renewal of orthodox Anglican Christianity in Britain and further afield.
[…] It all started back in 2007, when Reverends Matthew and Ann Kennedy made the difficult decision, alongside dozens of other congregations, to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC) due to the latter’s departure from orthodox biblical Christianity.
TEC did not take kindly to this defection.
This address was recently given by a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church to a gathering of clergy and lay people in one of the more remote areas of Scotland. Many will share these reflections of deep theological and practical concern about the proposed change to Canon 31 (relating to marriage and human sexuality).
Gafcon UK are aware that Jesmond Parish Church have for some years been in a form of impaired communion with the Bishop of Newcastle, and have developed a special relationship with REACH-SA (formerly CESA).
Over the past few years, several clergy have been ordained by REACH Bishops to serve in the Jesmond church network and in one other part of England.
[See here for the Primates' Communique, released on 30th April 2017].
GAFCON UK would like to thank the GAFCON Primates for their courageous spiritual leadership, consisting of clear re-statement of the essentials of the faith, and practical action to take forward the mission of global Anglicanism in the 21st century.
“GAFCON is enabling the Anglican Communion to be fit for God’s purposes in the twenty-first century. We are uniting Anglicans around the world in faithful witness to Jesus Christ and recovering Biblical truth where it has been compromised. There is much still to do, but we give great thanks to God for his grace at work among us.”
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh - GAFCON Chairman
In this letter, GAFCON Chairman Nicholas Okoh addresses the recent call of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for "radical inclusion"in the Church of England, and urges faithful Anglicans to remember those suffering in South Sudan and northern Nigeria.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said, in a statement from 16th February:
we need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church. This must be founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology; it must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.
Responses from Bishops
The confusion created by the General Synod vote on 15th February makes abundantly clear that a new vision is now needed of what Anglican Christianity in England can and should be.
GAFCON UK welcomes the publication of the OneBodyOneFaith statement “A time to build”.
The statement is admirably clear in its wholesale abandonment of any pretence that OneBodyOneFaith has any respect for Biblical authority or any interest in the wellbeing of global Anglicanism.
While “A time to build” suggests that it seeks “theological diversity” it in fact requires that the whole Church worldwide submit to a view that God has not spoken clearly in his Word about the nature of humanity and human sexuality.
I welcome the Report of the Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality upholding of the doctrine set out in Canon B30. It is to be noted that this Canon is not just about marriage being between a man and a woman but also about its lifelong nature, the birth and the nurture of children and the ‘hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affection’. This cannot go hand in hand with wanting to make pastoral provision for public prayer for those in others kinds of relationships.
GAFCON UK is grateful that with this statement, the Church of England has ruled out any intention to change its teaching on marriage. The Bishops have taken seriously the views of the global Anglican Communion and the need to maintain consistency with historic and apostolic teaching, while admitting the serious differences in interpretation of this deposit.
[From Christian Today] ...Rev James Paice, a member of the GAFCON UK Taskforce, said he along with other Anglicans in the generally more conservative global south, "are appalled at the lack of discipline by the Scottish Episcopal Church at this continued syncretism and confusion over mission."
Paice's open letter follows outrage from conservative Anglicans and comes after a similar call for punishment by the conservative former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali.
"The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation," he said in a statement.