The wider global Communion continues to grieve and call its leadership to repentance

Church of England General Synod

Safeguarding debacle. The Archbishops Council appointed a three person independent commission, but then disbanded it, saying that there were too many disagreements over the terms of reference for the commission’s work. Abuse survivor campaign groups have claimed this is more evidence of the C of E’s failure in governance and in providing a proper response to abuse. Report in Church Times here.

Detailed comment in Anglican Futures: When the Church fails, will the government intervene?

Living in Love and Faith

In advance of General Synod, the C of E published draft “Prayers of Love and Faith”, for initial viewing and discussion (report here) before further input and debate, with the aim of finalising the prayers ready for approval by Synod in November. In the introduction to the draft prayers, the committee of authors (all bishops, including two who have recently been part of CEEC), say:

“…the final version of the Prayers of Love and Faith should not be contrary to or indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England”. At the same time they believe the prayers will “provide a generous pastoral response which is loving and celebratory to those who are in life-long monogamous same-sex committed relationships.”

Andrew Goddard explains why this attempt to allow blessing of same sex relationships while upholding the church’s doctrine of marriage is “squaring the circle” or “having cake and eating it”.


The bishops state their intention to maintain unity while recognising diversity of belief and practice with a ”mixed ecology of practices”: clergy and parishes would be free to decide whether to use the prayers or not. A decision has not yet been made on which Canon should be used to promulgate use of the prayers.

Leaders speaking in a personal capacity, who are members of a wide range of conservative groups within the Church, including CEEC, ReNew, New Wine, HTB and Prayer Book Society, have written a robust and detailed response opposing these proposals. They are particularly concerned that a requirement for Synod’s approval with 2/3 majorities in each house would be bypassed by use of Canons B5 and B4.2, which they say “is unlawful, illegitimate and deprives Synod of its deliberative function and collective stewardship of such important matters”. Forcing through the prayers as currently proposed would increase disunity and bring the church into disrepute, they say.

The statement concludes by suggesting “a settlement that charted a way forwards using Canon B2 [ie, full Synodical approval] which would enable us to walk together”. However, some commentators have pointed out (eg here) that the letter is protesting against the abuse of due process rather than clearly stating biblically-based opposition to the principle of blessing of same sex relationships.

Gafcon GBE editorial comment:

Many in the Church of England who hold to biblical teaching will celebrate the evidence of orthodox leaders who have been cautious in the past, now showing willingness to take on a more robust attitude of protest and even planning proactively for new models of provision for those who cannot accept the revisionist direction of the church. Also, potential for stalemate at synodical and ‘political’ level, enables local churches to get on with the task of evangelism and pastoral care. However the wider global Communion continues to grieve and call for repentance when the leadership of an expression of the body of Christ is committed to heresy (however much some local churches may remain orthodox). The Kigali Commitment says that the official acceptance of both truth and error in the same church, is not something to aim for as a solution. We continue to pray for wisdom from the Lord for faithful women and men contending on General Synod and in Dioceses, and also for the growth of emerging Anglican jurisdictions outside of the C of E, whose leaders are committed to unambiguous doctrinal foundations.

Other Gafcon-aligned jurisdictions:

Anglican Missionary Congregations (AMC) is involved in discussions on closer alignment to Anglican Network in Europe (ANiE) with a view to potentially joining as a convocation. Please pray for this process. Also give thanks for the inauguration of a new church plant in Paphos (wonderful that in the 21st century, UK-based Nigerian church planters are following in the footsteps of the apostle Paul in mission to the Greek islands!)

Other news

Serious unrest in France – can the church help? ? An article in Evangelical Focus features an interview with Matthieu Sanders, a pastor in Paris, who analyses the background of the riots. “Pray that the French church would be equipped for effective witness and peacemaking in an often tense national climate”.

Pray for Nigeria

According to Open Doors, Nigeria accounts for 89 per cent of all violent deaths of Christians killed worldwide. Nigeria is becoming a nest for jihadist terror, threatening the stability of the whole region – and one day, Europe. Why are Western governments not taking this more seriously?  Read Baroness Cox’s latest report here. 


To think about:

Theologian Kevin Vanhoozer explains why “the local church is the place to cultivate biblical literacy, to learn what every Christian needs to know to represent Christ and his kingdom.”

He continues: “The local church is the hope of the world, but only if it remains the domain of the Word, a place where habits of reading are cultivated and where the Word that’s read is heard and done. Pastor-theologians are catalysts of Christian literacy who minister the Word, in part by helping people to read it as their primary identity narrative.”

Read in The Gospel Coalition here.