To: Mr William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council, Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3AZ
From: Revd David Holloway, Vicar of Jesmond, Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4DJ
27 November 2016
Dear Mr Nye,
I write this open letter to you following your open letter to Revd Canon Andrew Lines, the chairman of the GAFCON UK Task Force. Your letter alleged that a GAFCON briefing paper is “significantly misleading”. The briefing was regarding irregular homosexual activities in the Church of England. In support of its criticism of named Church of England bishops and clergy, the briefing referred to a resolution of a former Lambeth Conference. You wrote to “correct some of the erroneous assertions” in the paper. However, the supposed correction included the following statement:
“The teaching of the Church of England on matters relating to same-sex practice and unions is, and remains, as set out in the document issued by the Church's House of Bishops in 1991 Issues in Human Sexuality. That document pre-dates the Lambeth Conference of 1998, and is consistent with the resolution 1:10 of the Conference.”
This was to correct any assumption that the Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution 1:10 could be said to determine the teaching of the Church of England. You are quite right. It has no binding force on the Church of England. Its effect is institutional, moral and spiritual. But the briefing paper never claimed this was “the teaching of the Church of England”. It was claimed to be “the authoritative teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexuality”. Certainly that particular resolution, 1:10, would reflect the view of the majority of Anglicans in the Communion, and not just in the GAFCON provinces but also in the “Global South”. Be that as it may, I fear you are wrong to suggest that “the teaching of the Church of England” in this matter of sexuality is that set out in the Bishops’ 1991 document.
The teaching of the Church of England as such, without much doubt, remains that of the General Synod resolution following a debate in 1987. This was initiated by the Revd Tony Higton. However, the Synod rejected Mr Higton’s motion. Instead, it passed by 403 votes to 8 the Bishops’ motion, introduced by the then Bishop of Chester, amending Mr Higton’s. The Bishops’ motion read as follows:
“That this Synod affirms that the biblical and traditional teaching on chastity and fidelity in personal relationships is a response to, and expression of, God’s love for each one of us, and in particular affirms:
1. that sexual intercourse is an act of total commitment which belongs properly within a permanent married relationship;
2. that fornication and adultery are sins against this ideal, and are to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;
3. that homosexual genital acts also fall short of this ideal, and are likewise to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;
4. that all Christians are called to be exemplary in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality; and that holiness of life is particularly required of Christian leaders.”
It is true that General Councils, and therefore, subordinate Councils and Synods, and so General Synods “may err” (Article 21 of the 39). But as that 1987 Bishops’ motion was fully consistent with Canon A5, the criterion for doctrine according to the Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974, it provides for the Church of England its doctrine, or teaching, on sexuality. According to a motion passed in the July 1997 General Synod, the 1991 Issues in Human Sexuality has the support of the Synod as an aid to “prayerful study”: it is “not the last word on the subject”. Indeed, being just that was the original intention of the 1991 document (see its Preface). It cannot, therefore, be said to be “the teaching of the Church of England on matters relating to same-sex practice and unions” as the Bishops’ 1987 motion can.
It also needs to be noted that the doctrinal primacy of the Bishops’ 1987 motion was subsequently announced by the Archbishop of Canterbury who had signed off the 1991 document; and that was the legal advice. Of course, the 1991 Issues in Human Sexuality, while being uneven as many such statements are, contains most helpful material. For example, Section 2.29 is a brilliant summary of the biblical teaching on sexual relationships:
“There is … in Scripture an evolving convergence on the ideal of lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual union as the setting intended by God for the proper development of men and women as sexual beings. Sexual activity of any kind outside marriage comes to be seen as sinful, and homosexual practice as especially dishonourable.”
It is a fact that every bishop and priest/presbyter in the Church of England is bound “with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word” (BCP Ordinal). Surely, therefore, Canon Andy Lines and the GAFCON UK Task Force should be thanked, rather than opposed, in all their efforts to help the Church at large be true to its apostolic faith, and its clergy true to their canonical duty.
Earlier this year I was speaking with an English friend concerned about the direction of the Church of England. “Where do we draw the line?” he asked. “That’s easy,” I replied: “It’s called Lambeth Resolution I.10.”
The 1998 Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality has been and remains the Rubicon for the Anglican Communion. Those who step over that line will have divorced themselves from biblical Christianity, from historic Anglicanism, and from the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide. Several provinces of the Communion have already taken that step. It appears that the Mother Church is about to follow.
I was present at the 1998 Lambeth Conference where the Resolution was passed, and I published an analysis of its text and significance. It was approved overwhelmingly by the bishops of the Communion, including the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, but was rejected immediately thereafter by the majority of bishops in the Episcopal Church USA. The rejection led to nearly two decades of strife within the Communion which continues to this day.
The open letter to Canon Andy Lines of GAFCON UK from the Secretary-General of the Archbishops’ Council is very significant. It can be taken as the official position of the C of E leadership. Helpfully, the letter moves away from matters of tone and motive which tend to dominate discussion and gets to the real issue, namely, what is, or should be, the teaching of the worldwide Church on sexual ethics, and how do we apply this in the Church of England?
Underlying the letter is an institutional mentality which does not locate ecclesial authority with the unchanging Scriptural principles of apostolic Christianity, as affirmed by the global Church. Rather it puts confidence in legal process, with the effect that what is not ‘legally binding’ can be disregarded or relegated to the respected status of a historical curiosity. More than ever, GAFCON UK with its clear confessional grounding in the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration has a vital role to play in our current context.
THE GLOBAL ANGLICAN CONFLICT OVER SEXUAL MORALITY: AIRBRUSHED OUT?
The letter does not acknowledge at all the fractious recent history of the worldwide Anglican Communion since the Lambeth Conference of 1998. (George Conger has written a reflection on his own involvement in the formation of that document here ).
In short, Lambeth I:10 represented the mind of the Communion on the interpretation of Scripture concerning a key pastoral and missiological issue, and on how Anglicans can continue to have fellowship together. The majority of Anglicans rejoiced; in USA and Canada, however, the leadership did not accept the Resolution. The ensuing process aligned TEC and ACoC with Western cultural trends in undermining Judaeo-Christian sexual morality, which is so vital to cohesion in society and individual flourishing.
In the years that followed, the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn, because of the attitude of a few members that they had no obligation to abide by the will of the group or the clear teaching of Scripture. There were years of agony as meeting after meeting of Primates failed to resolve the crisis of broken fellowship.
But thankfully, in 2008, a courageous group of Primates gathered a group of Anglicans from all over the world (including England) to meet in Jerusalem, to have fellowship, worship and listening to God’s word together, to recommit to the joint enterprise of reaching the world for Christ and serving its people. This was GAFCON, not a breakaway Anglican Communion, but representing the majority of the Communion; not seeking to undermine or rebel against authority but to restore proper authority to the church, the word of God rather than an institution. GAFCON, now firmly in partnership with the Global South movement, is continuing its task of renewing the Anglican Communion.
The letter issued by the Church of England ignores this recent history of departure from orthodoxy, global schism and restoration which is inseparable from any discussion of Lambeth I:10 and Anglican debates on sexual ethics. At best it can be seen as an ‘England-centric’ viewpoint; others may have good cause to see evidence of disregard for the fellowship and leadership of the global Anglican Communion.
THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND DOCTRINE OF SEXUALITY: ‘NO CHANGE’, BUT OPEN TO REINTERPRETATION IN PRACTICE?
Likewise, will Anglicans worldwide who hold to the historic, orthodox teaching on sexual ethics be reassured that this standard and practice will be maintained in the Church of England? To be sure, the letter sets out the legal situation regarding marriage and civil partnerships, and says there is “no formal proposal” to change the church’s teaching, which the majority and clergy and laity “have adhered to” (note past tense). But having downplayed the significance of Lambeth I:10 and rejected the possibility that its precepts can be violated because it has no legal authority, it does not say how the Church of England intends to maintain and commend the Christian doctrines of sex and marriage to the nation.
Instead, it gives bullet points (not referenced, but presumably coming from the Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance document of February 2014) which are extremely ambiguous and open to a number of different interpretations.
First, because clergy in civil partnerships are not legally married, this therefore apparently has “no bearing on the doctrine of marriage”. Technically true, but if clergy in civil partnerships are part of a psychological societal and congregational process of acceptance of same sex relationships, their presence will certainly influence the popular understanding of marriage away from what the Church has historically taught. Where does that leave the Church’s “doctrine of marriage”? A museum piece, perhaps, especially if it may not be supported by Lambeth I:10 but only a reference to the much longer and less accessible “Issues in Human Sexuality”?
Secondly, “clergy and laity are entitled to argue for changes to teaching and practice”. Again, of course we have freedom of speech! But this seems to open the door to the widespread promotion of any view, even an irresponsible disregard for core doctrines, which include marriage. This provision was no doubt originally intended to allow for a free exchange of views during the ‘Shared Conversation’ process. Its effect now will be again to undermine any idea of clear universally agreed teaching in which we can have confidence.
Thirdly, the letter says “prayers of support on a pastoral basis for people in same-sex relationships” are permitted in churches. This is very misleading: in its original context (The Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance of 2014) such private prayers were clearly distinguished from public ‘prayers of blessing’ which are explicitly not permitted. Without this clear distinction, public services of celebration of same sex relationships could be carried out under the guidelines of ‘pastoral prayer’ - and indeed such services are being carried out as the GAFCON document on Lambeth I:10 violations shows.
On one hand, then, the Church of England has an official doctrine of sex and marriage based on the wonderful fruitful biblical vision of godly celibate singleness, man and woman sacrificially committed to each other exclusively for life, a family of mum, dad and kids; power for living it out, forgiveness for all (ie the 100%) who fall short. But in practice the Church is extremely diffident about explaining or commending this vision, not just because it knows that many in the ranks of its own leadership don’t believe in it, but because it is more afraid of unpopularity from the secular British establishment and Twitter mobs than it is concerned about fellowship with the worldwide church or doing what is right before God.
So rather than changing the doctrine, the Church puts it on the shelf, and allows other beliefs and practices to take hold. The church officially believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, but Bishops can argue for same sex marriage, and clergy can conduct a ceremony which looks to all intents and purposes like the blessing of a same sex relationship, and it’s ‘within the guidelines’. If the line is crossed into same sex marriage, with laity it doesn’t matter; clergy have a private chat with the Bishop because discipline is a matter for them – they are not accountable to the worldwide church. In a postmodern world people are increasingly unconcerned about these contradictions.
The question to ask, then, is not “what will happen if the Church of England crosses the line and accepts same sex relationships”. It has already crossed that line in practice if not in the increasingly irrelevant official doctrine. The question is, what will the faithful do?
Let’s take a step back for a moment from the sharp public exchange between the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council and GAFCON UK, and ask: what kind of Church do we want as Anglicans? Do we want our spiritual and moral guidance to come from bureaucratic interpretations of church law, or from the biblical revelation about humanity in relation to one another and God? Is our vision of the church narrowly confined to what we hope will be acceptable to the metropolitan elites in modern secular England, diffidently offering uncertainties as we continue our numerical decline? Or are we more excited by the reality of being part of a global Anglican future, a worldwide fellowship of disciples from almost every nation, tribe and tongue, confidently affirming the apostolic deposit of faith despite the cost, and encouraging one another to live it out with mutual accountability?
We have received inquiries about the way the GAFCON UK Lambeth I.10 briefing was developed, the reasons behind why it was created, and its accuracy. Below is some more information about each topic.
For this briefing a large amount of information was gathered by a group of contributors, and divided into four distinct categories:
1) rumours (little if any credibility)
2) confirmed private information, (credible, but confidential)
3) publicly available information, (credible, publicly available, but of lesser significance)
4) publicly available information, often promoted by activists (credible, publicly available, and of greater significance)
There have been multiple versions of this briefing. The information released by GAFCON UK was from a version that included only a fraction of the total information gathered, and consisted almost entirely of public information that had often received wide coverage and had in some cases been promoted by LGBT activists (i.e. Category 4).
We were aware that those listed in the document had not attempted to hide their activities, and would consider inclusion in this briefing to be a badge of honour. There was never any intention to "shame" anyone, but simply to collate information that was already widely known. In fact, some have been disappointed to have not been included in the briefing and are registering their violations at www.lambeth110.com.
The Reason for the Briefing
The briefing documents the situation in the Church of England in relation to its compliance with Lambeth I.10. The GAFCON Primates were receiving conflicting accounts from members of the Church of England about the seriousness and extent of the breaches of Lambeth I.10. That confusion was the impetus and motive for the briefing. It is unfortunate that such a briefing had to be developed. The real story, the main story, and the story that has been missed by many, is that this briefing catalogues the inability by the leadership of the Church of England to maintain biblical church order, or abide by the agreements reached at the conference it itself hosted in 1998.
Unfortunately, this situation is not new, but has been developing over the course of many years. As the blogger Cranmer noted in February 2014,
“it is not what Canon Law prohibits in theory but how the bishops handle disobedience in practice which will determine and define the Church's theology on same-sex marriage.”
The GAFCON briefing does not suggest precisely how leaders in the Church of England should go about addressing these fundamental issues of teaching, discipline, and integrity. Those decisions will need to be taken up by the upcoming meetings of the House of Bishops and the General Synod. Whether those actions are a sufficient remedy, will no doubt be a matter that is taken up by the GAFCON Primates in the first half of 2017.
Commitment to Truth
GAFCON has the highest concern for truth, and continues to work tirelessly to provide the Primates with the best available information. It has been suggested that the briefing is highly inaccurate. That is false. We believe the briefing has stood up to scrutiny well. There have been a few places where we have made updates. All updates have been minor. So that you can assess the significance of these changes, each paragraph that has been edited from the original has been footnoted by GAFCON UK with the precise changes and the reason for each edit. For instance, in one case the news agency that originally covering the story misreported the name of a parish. In another case, the official title of a clergyman was updated to include his status as a Canon of the Church. We have had to mend broken web links. None of the updates have required a substantial change to the briefing’s findings.
Another misunderstanding concerns the content and authority of the teaching of the worldwide Anglican Church on sexuality and marriage. It has been said that the Anglican Communion has "not come to a common mind" on the matter of sexuality, and therefore allows different interpretations and practices. This is not true: in 1998 Lambeth Resolution I:10, which affirms the historic teaching of the church on sexuality, was passed by 526 votes to 70, with 45 abstentions. The January 2016 Primates meeting in Canterbury reiterated the same teaching (and 'consequences' for those churches which violate it), as did the meeting of GAFCON and Global South Primates in Cairo in October.
In the Church of England, while the Pilling Report of 2013 suggested changes to the church’s teaching, these were rejected by the House of Bishops in 'Pastoral Guidance" of February 2014; the Bishops, while affirming the highest level of care and pastoral support for people with same sex attraction, made it clear that the Scriptures, the Book of Common Prayer and Lambeth I:10 are regarded as authoritative, and clearly stated: “services of blessing should not be provided” for same sex couples. While other aspects of the 'Pastoral Guidance' have been criticized for ambiguity, it is clear enough to put paid to the idea that the Church of England allows for a liberal theology and practice on issues of sexuality and marriage.
Commitment to Love
It has been suggested that the publication of the GAFCON UK list shows a lack of love and grace. GAFCON wants to affirm the church’s responsibility for pastoral care, respect and love to all people, regardless of circumstances, and also the call on Christian leaders to “guard the good deposit of the faith”, teaching the truth and exposing and resisting error. Lambeth I:10 contains elements of both. The commitment to love does not override the commitment to truth, as if ‘love’ must involve lowering or abolishing the perfect standards of God. Rather, the church remains called to commend those standards, our creator’s guidance for our flourishing, and the Gospel of forgiveness and transformation in Christ for those who fall short ie all believers, within a community in which we walk with one another, holding one another to account, and bearing each other’s burdens.
This paper [now updated, with more footnotes] was recently presented as a briefing to the GAFCON Primates on the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes, teaching and practice on sexual ethics, official and unofficial. It argues that the Church of England has already ‘crossed the line’ by allowing a culture to develop where violations of Lambeth Resolution I:10 are increasingly prevalent. It is published with permission.
The Church of England and Lambeth I.10
Lambeth I.10 is the authoritative teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexuality because it accurately articulates the biblical revelation about human sexuality. It is well known that The Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada, and Scottish Episcopal Church have violated Lambeth I.10 for over a decade. In recent years, the Church of England’s compliance with Lambeth I.10 has been under scrutiny, and the release of the Pilling Report[i] and the process of “Shared Conversations” have only heightened concerns around the Communion, and within England itself[ii].
The last quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 will include meetings of the Church of England’s House of Bishops and the General Synod. Many are asking whether or not the Church of England will “hold the line” on sexuality. Unfortunately, the lines drawn by Lambeth I.10 have already been crossed, in some cases, going as far back as 2002. This document catalogues some of the ways in which Lambeth I.10 has been violated within the Church of England.
What is Lambeth I.10?
Lambeth I.10 was passed at the Lambeth Conference in 1998. The text of the resolution is below:
Resolution I.10 Human Sexuality
a. commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality ;
b. in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
c. recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
d. while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialization and commercialisation of sex;
e. cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
f. requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;
g. notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process.
Lambeth I.10 draws lines that are robust and biblical, identifying sex as only appropriate within the marriage of a man and a woman, and not allowing for the legitimising of same sex unions regardless of sexual activity.
The History of Lambeth I.10 in the West
In following the trajectory of The Episcopal Church, Church of Canada, and Scottish Episcopal Church there has been a clear pattern of violations. In each case Lambeth I.10 was first breached at various local levels. When the dioceses and provinces either could not or would not bring order and discipline at the local level, the number of violations increased. Some Provinces have claimed to be in compliance because they had not, at the provincial level, changed the teaching of the church by authorizing official rites for the blessing of same-sex marriage and/or altering church canons to allow for such rites. For example, for decades The Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada, and Scottish Episcopal Church allowed for a variety of practices
that legitimised same-sex unions, while stopping short of an official change to provincial liturgies and canons. This included:
• services of thanksgiving for a same-sex civil union in local parishes,
• blessing ceremonies in local parishes,
• rites that were authorized by dioceses but not officially by the province,
• same sex civil unions for both laity and clergy,
• the promotion of such activities by bishops, clergy, and influential lay leaders.
• the lack of discipline for those engaging in such activities,
In each of these cases Lambeth I.10 was violated. The fact that those who made these changes carried on in their leadership roles without significant discipline is not merely a matter of timing, but also causation. The failure to uphold Lambeth I.10 and properly discipline those who had violated it contributed to an atmosphere that legitimised these actions, spread their influence, and contributed to the later change in provincial liturgies and canons. This causation was well understood by clergy promoting the violation of Lambeth I.10, and employed strategically. The chaos was eventually resolved in each province, not by restoring Anglican teaching and proper order, but by enshrining the violations of Lambeth I.10 through formal mechanisms (canons and liturgies) that allowed for ‘a variety of pastoral responses.’ This perspective was articulated in 2013 by The Rev Jonathan Adams a priest at St Thomas’ Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, “church law stands until a large body of people are breaking it and then it gets adapted.” http://www.thejournal.co.uk/news/north-east-news/insight-same-sex-church-marriage-4436265
Given this history in which provinces have payed lip service to Lambeth I.10 while simultaneously allowing, at local levels, actions that have undermined the Communion’s teaching, it is fair to ask whether or not the Church of England has tolerated actions that legitimise same sex unions or sex outside of matrimony between a man and a woman.
The Situation in England
There are a number of instances of bishops within the Church of England exercising proper church order. In particular, The Rev. Clive Larsen and the Rev. Jeremy Pemberton both had their ability to minister as clergy restricted when they entered into same-sex marriages. However, in other parts of the Church of England there are violations of Lambeth I.10 that remain unresolved. Below is a partial list[iii]:
Clergy have officiated over same-sex unions and marriages and remained in office:
The Rev. Dr. Martin Dudley, Rector of Great St. Bartholomew in London, officiated at the civil partnership of Peter Cowell and David Lord in 2008. Rev. Dudley has remained Rector of St. Bartholomew’s. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2135081/Controversial-vicar-investigated-after-Anglican-churchs-first-gay-wedding.html
The Rev. Charlotte Bannister-Parker, a priest from the Diocese of Oxford, officiated at a celebration of the marriage of Mpho Tutu to her partner Marceline Van Furth in South Africa. The Rev. Charlotte Bannister-Parker remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Oxford. http://city-press.news24.com/Trending/mpho-tutu-weds-in-style-20160508
Retired clergyman Rev. Colin Coward officiated at a “ceremony of commitment” on July 23, 2016 for the Rev. Clive Larsen and his partner at St Agnes Church in the Diocese of Manchester. The Rev. Larsen later resigned from his position; the Rev. Coward apparently holds no license[iv]. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/the-bishop-made-clear-to-me-that-there-would-be-consequences-mee/
In 2005, The Rev Christopher Wardale and Malcolm Macourt, a retired academic, attended a service in St Thomas the Martyr church in Newcastle after a civil partnership ceremony in the nearby Civic Centre. The blessing was given during the sermon, which was preached by the former bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev David Jenkins. The couple failed to tell the Bishop of Durham at the time, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, of their plans and made it clear that they would refuse to give him any assurances about their behaviour in the bedroom. The Rev. Wardale was not disciplined and continues to take services as a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Newcastle. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1506074/Church-blessing-for-homosexualvicar.html
Clergy have entered into same-sex marriages and remained in office:
The Rev. Andrew Forshew-Cain has been the Vicar of St Mary’s and St James, in the Diocese of London, since 1998. He is married to his partner Stephen. He remains Rector of St. Mary’s and St. James, and was elected to the Church of England’s General Synod. http://www.newsweek.com/gay-vicar-church-england-embarrassing-mess-marriage-gay-lgbt-496642?rx=us
The Rev. Paul Collier is a priest at the Copleston Church Centre in south London (Diocese of Southwark) who has entered into a same-sex marriage. The Bishop of Woolwich issued a mild rebuke, and Rev. Collier remains active in clergy leadership at his church[v]. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/another.gay.anglican.priest.marries.long.term.partner/92022.htm
Clergy are permitted to enter into same-sex civil partnerships as long as they are willing to give their assurance to their bishop that they are not sexually active. This practice is allowed in the Church of England, but is a violation of Lambeth I.10 which does not recognise this distinction. The overall number of clergy in civil unions is not known, but The Rev. Andrew Foreshew Cain has referenced 70 clergy of whom he is aware. The most high-profile example is that of The Rev. Jeffrey John, Dean of St. Alban’s Cathedral. He has been in a long term same-sex relationship, is now in a civil partnership, and actively lobbies for a changing the Church’s teaching on sexuality. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9421350/God-backs-gay-marriage-says-Dr-Jeffrey-John.html
Some bishops have actively recruited into their diocese, those who have knowingly broken Lambeth I.10. For example, the Diocese of Liverpool has recently made The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia an Honorary Assistant Bishop in Liverpool. Bishop Goff has actively supported The Episcopal Church’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 and been involved in litigating orthodox congregations. http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/05/companion-link-sees-us-bishop-take-assisting-role-in-liverpool.aspx
The Diocese of Liverpool has also recently appointed an Episcopal Diocese of Virginia priest, The Rev. Jennifer McKenzie, as an Archdeacon, thus contributing to the normalization of the false teaching of The Episcopal Church within the Diocese of Liverpool. http://www.liverpool.anglican.org/index.php?p=1549
Jeffrey John was invited to preach a sermon in support of same-sex marriage in the Liverpool Cathedral on May 29, 2016. http://www.psephizo.com/sexuality-2/did-jesus-heal-the-centurions-gay-lover/comment-page-1/#comment-339826
Laity are permitted to “follow their conscience” and cannot be excluded from the sacraments or positions of leadership even if they are in violation of the Church’s teaching. Across England, those in same-sex marriages or civil unions, living contrary to the biblical call to holiness may not be refused communion. In addition, being in a same-sex marriage or civil union cannot keep a layperson from being elected to leadership on the parish council, diocesan council, or General Synod. A recent example comes from the Church of England’s Diocese of Europe. Nigel Rowley, an active member of St. Alban's Church in Copenhagen, a long standing Diocesan Synod representative and a member of the Church of England’s recent facilitated conversations on human sexuality was married on Saturday 13 August, 2016 in the Lutheran Cathedral in Copenhagen. He and his partner Mikel were married by the Bishop of Copenhagen, Peter Skov-Jakobsen. The website of the Diocese of Europe highlighted the story commenting that: “The current Church of England rules on same sex marriage meant that they could not marry in the church where Nigel serves enthusiastically and where he is much loved. However, our formal Porvoo links allowed the Lutheran Church in Denmark to conduct the ceremony. The bishop and members of the Cathedral were happy to marry them so that they could be blessed with a church celebration in their own city of Copenhagen and with many members of St Alban’s there to wish them well." http://europe.anglican.org/news/news/post/1127-long-standingsynod-member-benefits-from-a-porvoo-partnership-
Clergy in the Church of England are not allowed to “bless” same-sex marriages, but have done so for many years without discipline. According to the Telegraph, the practice of offering services for same-sex couples that are similar, but not identical to marriage services has been going on since at least 2002. One vicar said: "On average, I tend to perform about four same-sex blessings a year. Sometimes it seems like I do more homosexual blessings than ordinary church weddings.” A colleague in south-east London said his church had an open policy of blessing same sex unions and even announced blessings in the parish notices. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1410695/Vicars-bless-hundreds-of-gay-couples-a-year.html
Clergy in the Church of England are allowed to offer “prayers of support” for a couple in a same-sex relationship. A number of clergy and their churches are offering services and prayers that comply with the rules of the Church of England, but violate Lambeth I:10 The Church of England’s website on marriage says, “… although there are no authorized services for blessing a same-sex civil marriage, your local church can still support you with prayer.” The nature of these prayers has been left ambiguous, and therefore allows for a variety of pastoral responses, many of which violate Lambeth I.10. https://www.yourchurchwedding.org/article/information-for-same-sex-couples/
St. Mary and St. James, where Andrew Foreshew-Cain is Vicar, has registered their church hall to perform civil ceremonies so that there can be an easy transition from the civil ceremony in the church hall to a prayer for the couple in the church sanctuary. http://www.churchnw6.co.uk/church/marriages-and-civil-partnerships/
From York Minster Cathedral: “Chapter clergy will offer support and guidance to all who want to live in loving, faithful, committed relationships whatever their gender. Same sex couples are invited to approach the Chapter clergy and should expect a warm welcome and affirmation. After a conversation with one of the Chapter clergy, couples entering a Civil Partnership are welcome to attend any service at the Minster, with friends and family if they so wish, to hear the scriptures, pray, and, where appropriate, receive Communion. Normally this would occur as near as possible to the civil registration of the Partnership. http://www.yorkminster.org/worship-and-choir/same-sex-relationships-and-civilpartnerships.html
Christ Church, Shooter’s Hill offers to “conduct a service of thanksgiving after a ceremony.” http://www.christchurchshootershill.org/weddings/
St. Mark’s, Sheffield "…affirms Civil Partnerships and celebrates with couples who enter lifelong commitments. Approaches are welcomed from couples who have registered, or are about to register their Civil Partnership and wish to explore how their relationship could be affirmed within the life of the church.” http://www.stmarkssheffield.co.uk/essentials/beginnings-belongings-endings/civil-partnerships/
St. Mary of Eton Church, Hackney Wick (east London): see footnote[vi].
Clergy and lay leaders are allowed to use their positions of leadership to advocate for the violation of Lambeth I.10: Members of the Pilling Commission revealed an openness to considering violations of Lambeth I.10: “…we do not all believe that the evidence of Scripture points to only one set of ethical conclusions. In short, Christians who share an equal commitment to Scripture do not agree on the implications of Scripture for same sex relationships.” (para 235). Church of England clergy openly advocate for violating Lambeth I.10 through advocacy organizations such as Changing Attitude, Accepting Evangelicals, Diverse Church[vii], and Synod Evangelicals for Good Disagreement.
Jayne Ozanne is an LGBT activist in the Church of England, and a member of General Synod. A founder of the Synod Evangelicals for Good Disagreement, she openly advocates for breaking Lambeth I.10.
The Revd Canon Simon Butler[viii] is also a public advocate for breaking Lambeth I.10. He has been in a long term same-sex relationship, is Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury in General Synod, and a member of the Archbishop’s Council. http://queerchurch.com/?p=46423
The Rt. Rev. Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham has published the book, “A More Perfect Union” which advocates for same-sex marriage. He also spoke recently at the “Queering Paradigms” Conference in 2016. His keynote address, “Same-sex marriage and the queering project of Jesus” advocated for same-sex marriage. He remains a Bishop in good standing in the Church of England. https://queeringparadigms.com/2016/03/27/queering-paradigm-7-cfp/
The Rev. Sarah Jones joined other clergy in a social media campaign called “Out4Marriage” which openly advocates for same-sex marriage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na2zW-1i2TA
The Rev. Rachel Mann identifies herself as a transgender lesbian. She is Rector of St. Nicholas Burnage, a Minor Canon of Manchester Cathedral, and is an advocate for violating Lambeth I.10. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/transgender.priest.made.minor.canon.at.manchester.cathedral/37934.htm
The Rt. Rev. Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool and Vice-Chair of the Church of England’s Evangelism Committee supports same-sex civil unions and removing the requirement for celibacy. He has said, “I’ve learned to respect the experiences of people who want to celebrate and express their sexuality, and be within the church.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/16/senior-bishop-change-church-ofengland-attitudes-gay-people
The Church of England website highlighted an article in the Telegraph about one of their senior leaders who had been named one of the “Top 50 LGBT Executives Making A Difference In Business.” Lee Marshall is the Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary at the Church of England Pensions Board, and has been the founder or is a current trustee of multiple LGBT advocacy organizations that support the violation of Lambeth I.10. He is also the cofounder of Church House LGBT Support Network for staff employees of the Church of England. https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2016/02/cofe-senior-manager-recognised-in-two-national-lgbt-awards.aspx
It is reported that ordination committees and bishops are overlooking violations of Lambeth I.10, handing out insignificant disciplinary measures, and in some cases celebrating with same-sex clergy couples: “gay ordinands in sexual relationships are getting the nod through while appearing to comply with the selection procedures; and clergy are having sex in their civil partnerships. Priests are offering services of blessing and thanksgiving to gay and lesbian couples and parishes celebrating with them. The bishops all know this, and many even collude in the dishonesty around the current position with private words of support and public obedience to the official line. One recently married priest I know of was invited into the episcopal study, handed his letter of discipline and then the bishop’s wife arrived with two gin and tonics—and as she said ‘congratulations,’ the bishop toasted the new couple.” http://www.newsweek.com/gayvicar-church-england-embarrassing-mess-marriage-gay-lgbt-496642?rx=us
The Blessing of Gay Pride Parades
In 2016 the dioceses Chichester (in Brighton[ix]), York, and Salisbury all held events during the Gay Pride Parades. Some of their clergy walked in the parades and in some cases opened the parades with prayers of blessing. While reaching out to the LGBT community could be an example of evangelism, the ways in which these events unfolded have been ambiguous at best and at worst are at odds with Lambeth I.10. One example is here: https://www.facebook.com/spirefm/videos/vb.123993850962952/1330343006994691/?type=2&theater
This is a partial list of the violations of Lambeth I.10 in the Church of England. While orthodox believers certainly hope that the Church of England does not go further in violating Lambeth I.10, the situation in England as it currently stands is already a scandal within the Anglican Communion.
To restore order and a credible Christian witness, the upcoming meetings of the House of Bishops and General Synod would need to not merely avoid going further in violating Lambeth I.10, but it would need to take constructive steps to rectify the numerous public (and presumably private) breaches that have been strategically taken by some to undermine the teaching of the Communion.
[i] The problems inherent in the Pilling Report were catalogued in detail by Bishop Keith Sinclair, a member of the Pilling Commission who filed a dissenting minority report. The full report can be read here: http://www.anglican.ink/article/minority-statement-pilling-report
[ii] The concern in regards to the Shared Conversations, a method by which CoE officials have sought to find compromises on sexuality and order, was articulated well by Christian Concern: “St. Paul does not convene a Synod to discuss the merits of sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, slander, drunkenness in the church, he simply puts out the unrepentant and offending parties (1 Cor. 5).” http://christianconcern.com/our-concerns/same-sex-marriage/teetering-on-the-brinkshared-convulsions-at-synods
[iii] This list consists only of cases which are in the public domain and which are available to view on the internet. Many of the cases have already received considerable coverage in the media, and are simply being collected here for ease of reference.
[iv] The service at St. Agnes took place “in front of 200 well-wishers and eight members of clergy.” The first version of this document assumed that the Rev. Coward had a license from his diocese, and permission to officiate from the Diocese of Manchester. The Bishop of Salisbury has now clarified that the Rev. Coward does not have a license in his diocese. Currently it is not clear how a priest living in Salisbury diocese who does not hold a license was able to lead a service at St. Agnes in the diocese of Manchester. We will update this post if more information is made available by the bishops of Salisbury and Manchester.
[v] This item has been amended. The Rev. Paul Collier is no longer a member of General Synod as was reported in the original version. Some reports (eg in the link provided) have incorrectly identified the Rev. Collier as a priest at St. Hugh’s Church. He remains a priest in good standing in his Diocese.
[vi] St Mary Eton: at the time of writing and posting the original report, this church offered the following service on their website: “If you are a lesbian or gay couple and would like to mark your commitment in church with prayers of thanksgiving please contact the Churchwardens to discuss what you are thinking of doing to mark this important time of your life and how St Marys might be able to support you". http://www.stmaryofeton.org.uk/ This page has now been removed from the church's website.
[vii] According to some reports, Diverse Church have denied that they are campaigning for a change in the Church’s teaching, and have asked to be removed from this listing.
[viii] Some details concerning Canon Butler’s titles have been corrected from the original version.
[ix] In the original version, ‘Brighton’ was incorrectly listed as a Diocese. Brighton’s gay pride was supported by the Diocese of Chichester.
[...] If an Anglican church in the North were to divide, the result is traumatising and horrible. But, if an Anglican church in a Global South country were to divide, the results could be catastrophic not just for the church but for the nation and especially the poor. And what helps the churches to retain their identity and unity is – or was – the Anglican Communion.
I say ‘was’, because, as we are well aware, for parts of the church of the global north, schism has been the result of a serious drift from orthodoxy. The choice has been made to capitulate to the world and embrace its teaching despite the hurt it has done to the communion of the churches. And that hurt goes both ways as the old churches of the north decline, they will need more and more the churches of the south with their vitality and enthusiasm.
My dear people of God,
This month, two ancient cities have hosted meetings which both tell us much about the future of our beloved Communion. With my brother GAFCON Primates, I was present in Cairo for the Sixth Anglican Global South conference at which twenty Provinces of the Anglican Communion were represented. At the same time, a group of Anglican Primates were with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome to celebrate fifty years of ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.
In Cairo, I preached about the peace which Jesus Christ alone can bring.
Ahead of the Church of England's House of Bishops meeting next month, nearly a hundred evangelical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, churches and organisations have sent an open letter to every English bishop warning that 'any further changes to practice or doctrine' over same-sex relationships 'will trigger a process of division and fragmentation among faithful Anglicans'. This initiative is led by the Evangelical Group on General Synod ('EGGS').
The letter follows here:
The Church of England is at a crossroads in her calling to bring hope and transformation to our nation. The presenting issue is that of human sexuality, in particular whether or not the Church is able to affirm sexual relationships beyond opposite sex marriage. But the tectonic issues beneath, and driving, this specific question include what it means to be faithful to our apostolic inheritance, the Church’s relationship with wider culture, and the nature of the biblical call to holiness in the 21st Century.
As culture and attitudes continue to change, the Church faces a range of new social realities. These include the rise in cohabitation and the wide scale acceptance of divorce with its negative impact on children, the explosion of diverse types of family relationships, the emergence of gender fluidity and bisexuality, and the recognition of same-sex unions. These far-reaching social changes raise questions and – in some quarters – undermine confidence in our inherited teaching.
The Church has not always navigated these social realities well. We recognise the damage caused by judgmental attitudes. We have sometimes failed to recognise acts of great kindness and humanity. We have elevated some sins above others. We have ignored the plank in our own eye. There is much work ahead, not least in ensuring that our communities offer sacrificial hospitality and service to all, regardless of background, family structure or sexuality.
At the same time, we remain convinced of the essential goodness of the Christian moral vision. The Bible is clear that God has given the marriage of one man with one woman as the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality. We believe that we flourish, whether single or married, as our lives are brought into harmony with God’s intended design.
Any change in the Church’s teaching or practice - such as the introduction of provisions that celebrate or bless sexual relationships outside of a marriage between one man and one woman – would represent a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine. It would also, inevitably, be a further step on a trajectory towards the full acceptance of same-sex sexual partnerships as equivalent to male-female marriage.
There are substantive issues at stake here about the Christian understanding of what it means to be human. We do not believe that God has left us alone in the confusion and uncertainty of constructing our own identity. The gift of male and female sexual differentiation, and its unique and fundamental mutuality, is part of God’s good creation and a mirror to His own nature, and the boundaries it brings are for our flourishing and preservation.
We do not believe therefore that it is within our gift to consider human sexual relationships and what constitutes and enables our flourishing as sexual beings to be of ‘secondary importance’. What is at stake goes far beyond the immediate pastoral challenges of human bisexual and same-sex sexual behaviour: it is a choice between alternative and radically different visions of what it means to be human, to honour God in our bodies, and to order our lives in line with God’s holy will.
At this crucial juncture, as our bishops pray and discern together regarding how the Church of England should walk forward at this time, we urge them not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted.
Any further changes to practice or doctrine in these important areas will set the Church on a path of fundamental disunity. It would cause a break not only with the majority of the Anglican Communion, but with the consistent mind of the worldwide Church down many centuries. It will trigger a process of division and fragmentation among faithful Anglicans in England. Responses would vary, but the consequences for the life and mission of the Church will be far-reaching, both nationally and globally.
We ask our bishops to commit to a renewed vision of a welcoming Church in which all hear the good news of the Gospel, all are invited to repent and receive the grace of God, and all are called as followers of Jesus to live out the Christian moral vision– in lives of self-sacrifice and mutual care – for the common good.
Those signing below do so in a purely personal capacity. They are evangelical leaders from a variety of backgrounds, churches and organisations and indicative of the breadth and depth of support for this letter. Some could be labelled as LGBTI but are living in conformity with the historic teachings of the church.
Revd Canon Dr Peter Ackroyd, Vicar, St Marys Wootton, Chair St Albans Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.
Revd Sam Allberry, Trustee and co-founder of Living Out, apologist for the Zacharias Trust, editor for The Gospel Coalition.
Revd Steve Allen, Chair of CPAS Patronage Trustees.
Mrs Lorna Ashworth, member of Archbishops' Council.
Revd Dr Andrew Atherstone, Wycliffe Hall and General Synod.
Revd Simon Austen, Rector, St. Leonard’s Exeter.
Revd David Banting, Vicar, St Peter’s Harold Wood, Trustee of Reform, and General Synod.
Revd Mark Burkill, Chair of Reform and Chair Latimer Trust.
Revd Nathan Buttery, Associate Vicar, St Andrew the Great, Cambridge.
Revd Tim Chapman, Minister, Christ Church South Cambs, Sawston.
Revd Charlie Cleverly, Rector, St Aldates, Oxford.
Revd John Coles, Missional Community Leader, London.
Canon Andrew Cornes, Sussex Gospel Partnership and General Synod.
Revd Alyson Davie, Chair of the House of Clergy for Rochester Diocese.
Revd C J Davis, Rector, St Nicholas, Tooting.
Revd Joe Dent, Rector, Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth.
Revd Dr Sean Doherty, St Mellitus College, member of the Living Out team and General Synod.
Revd Will Donaldson, Director of Pastoral Care at St Aldates, Oxford and Area Dean of Oxford.
Revd James Dudley-Smith, Rector and Rural Dean of Yeovil, Member of General Synod.
Revd John Dunnett, Chair of Evangelical Group General Synod (EGGS).
Revd Jonny Elvin, Vicar, Trinity Church, Exeter and Chair of Exeter Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.
Revd Anthony Everett, Chair of Canterbury Diocese Evangelical Network, Vicar, Christ Church and St Andrew's Herne Bay.
Revd Lee Gatiss, Director, Church Society.
Dr Philip Giddings, former Chair, General Synod House of Laity and member of Archbishops' Council.
Revd Dr Andrew Goddard, Fulcrum leadership team.
Revd Lis Goddard, Vicar St James the Less, Pimlico and Chair of Awesome.
Revd Chris Green, Vicar, St James, Muswell Hill.
Revd Tim Grew, Acting Lead Pastor, Trinity Cheltenham.
Revd Paul Harcourt, Vicar, All Saints Woodford Wells.
Prof Glynn Harrison, formerly General Synod and Crown Nominations Commission.
Revd Canon Clive Hawkins, Rector, St Mary’s Basingstoke, formerly General Synod.
Revd Dr David Hilborn, Principal, St John's School of Mission, Nottingham
Mr Stephen Hofmeyr, QC, Secretary Church England Evangelical Council.
Revd David Holloway, Vicar, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, Chair of Anglican International Development.
Mr Carl Hughes, General Synod and EGGS Committee.
Revd Dr Emma Ineson, Trinity College, Bristol and General Synod
Revd Steve James, Rector, Holy Trinity, Platt, Manchester.
Revd Henry Kendal, Vicar, St Barnabas, Woodside Park.
Revd Paul Langham, Vicar, Christ Church Clifton, Bristol and General Synod.
Mrs Susie Leafe, Director, Reform.
Mr James Lee, House of Laity, General Synod and EGGS Committee.
Revd Canon Andy Lines, Mission Director of Crosslinks, General Secretary of AMiE, Chairman of GAFCON UK Task Force.
Revd Chris Lowe, Mission Initiative Leader, St John's Orchard Park, Cambridge.
Revd Angus MacLeay, Rector, St Nicholas, Sevenoaks, Reform Trustee, General Synod.
Revd Preb Charles Marnham, Vicar, St Michael’s, Chester Square, London.
Revd Rachel Marszalek, General Secretary of Fulcrum.
Revd John McGinley, Vicar, Holy Trinity, Leicester.
Revd Jane Morris, Vicar St Gabriel's, Cricklewood.
Revd Barry Morrison, Chair of Peterborough DEF.
Revd Justin Mote, Chair of AMiE exec, and Chair of North West Gospel Partnership.
Revd Rob Munro, Chair Fellowship of Word and Spirit, Chair of House of Clergy for Chester Diocese.
Revd Dr Mike Ovey, Principal, Oak Hill College, London
Revd James Paice, Vicar, St Luke’s Wimbledon Park and Trustee of GAFCON and Trustee of Southwark Good Stewards Trust.
Revd Alasdair Paine, Vicar, St Andrew the Great Church, Cambridge.
Revd Hugh Palmer, Rector All Souls Langham Place, Chair of Church of England Evangelical Council.
Revd Canon Ian Parkinson, Leadership Specialist, CPAS.
Miss Jane Patterson, General Synod and Crown Nominations Commission.
Revd Dr Ian Paul, member of Archbishops' Council.
Revd Paul Perkin, Vicar, St Mark’s Battersea Rise.
Revd Canon Andrew Perry, Vicar, St Mary's Longfleet, Poole.
Revd David Phillips, Vicar, St James, Chorley, Chair of Blackburn Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.
Revd Simon Ponsonby, Pastor of Theology, St Aldates, Oxford.
Revd Matthew Porter, Vicar, St Michael le Belfrey, York.
Revd Frank Price, Vicar, St Matthew’s Cambridge and Chair of Ely Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.
Revd Esther Prior, Chair, Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.
Revd Jonathan Pryke, Jesmond Parish Church.
Revd Martin Reakes-Williams, Leipzig English Church.
Revd Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe's, Oxford.
Revd David Rowe, Priest in Charge, Christ Church, Winchester.
Revd Canon Roger Salisbury, Secretary of the Peache Trustees.
Revd John Samways, Trustee Church Patronage Trust.
Revd Dr. Peter Sanlon, Vicar, St. Mark's, Tunbridge Wells.
Mr Ed Shaw, Trustee of Living Out, Pastor, Emmanuel City Centre, Bristol & General Synod.
Revd Charlie Skrine, Associate Rector, St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London and EGGS Committee.
Revd Tim Stilwell, Vicar, St Dionis, Parsons Green, London.
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Convenor Anglican Mainstream, and former member General Synod.
Revd Andrew Symes, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream.
Revd Canon Martyn Taylor, Rector, Rector, St George’s, Stamford and General Synod.
Revd William Taylor, Rector, St Helens, Bishopsgate and Chairman of ReNew.
Canon Professor Anthony C. Thiselton, FBA, former member of Crown Nominations Commission and Doctrine Commission.
Revd Rico Tice, All Souls Church & Christianity Explored Ministries.
Revd Melvin Tinker, Vicar, St John, Newland, Hull.
Revd Andrew Towner, Vicar Houghton & Kingmoor, Carlisle and Trustee, Diocesan Board of Finance.
Revd Gary Tubbs, Chair of Carlisle Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship.
Revd Jon Tuckwell, Associate Minister, Christ Church, Cambridge.
The Revd Dr Simon Vibert, Vice Principal Wycliffe Hall & Director of the School of Preaching.
Mr Jacob Vince, General Synod
Revd Robin Weekes, Vicar, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.
Revd Paul Williams, Vicar, Christ Church Fullwood and honorary Canon Sheffield Cathedral.
[Contains a clear reiteration of biblical doctrine on the mission of the Church in the world and sexual ethics, and strong warnings to the Church of England and other Western expressions of Anglicanism. New Steering Committee elected which contains Primates from both ‘Global South’ and ‘GAFCON’ groupings, demonstrating convergence of both movements, speaking with one voice and committed to working together to shape orthodox global Anglicanism now and for the future. ]
There is only one Church of Jesus Christ, his Body and his Bride. In the upper room before his death he prayed that the Father would glorify him (John 17:1-5), that the Father would sanctify his Apostles in the Truth (John 17:6-19) and that his Church may be one, so that the world may believe (John 17:20-26).
All three requests were answered through his death, his resurrection, his ascension and in the gift of the Holy Spirit. The prayer sees the foundation of a church one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In particular it is one.
That is why the Apostle Paul can say in these glorious words, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
As I write, GAFCON is about to launch a project which I believe will be very significant for the future of the Anglican Communion. Under the leadership of Director Dr Samson Mwaluda, the recently retired Bishop of Taita Taveta in Kenya, the GAFCON Bishops Training Institute begins its first conference in Nairobi on 29th September for some twenty recently consecrated bishops drawn from GAFCON affiliated provinces....Ungodly bishops have caused grievous tears in the fabric of the Communion, but godly bishops are being raised up to enable a reformed and renewed Anglican future with Bible at its heart. The GAFCON Bishops Training Institute serves this vision by equipping newly consecrated bishops to be courageous and discerning guardians of the faith.
"The world is our parish", Hull curate says, as AMiE agenda is set out. [Article from Church Times].
The Governing Body of the Church in Wales met in Lampeter 14th -15th September, 2016. Following the press coverage of the Archbishop's address [See ‘Wales Online’ report on Archbishop Morgan’s address to Governing Body here] the executive committee of EFCW responds as follows:
We want to wish the Archbishop well in his retirement. We note the Archbishop's final presidential address at Governing Body, and still struggle to understand how his approach to scripture is not just licence to disregard its authority. We believe that the inclusivity of Jesus, to which the Archbishop referred, was one not only of loving everyone, but also of calling everyone to a degree of repentance which would result in following him exclusively as Lord. We note Jesus gave an invitation to everyone, but warned repeatedly and frequently of consequences for those who rejected him. We are therefore delighted that one of the closing discussions at Governing Body got people talking about the need to engage in mission and evangelism. We hope and pray that these are the issues that occupy the time and energy of the Church in Wales in the years to come.
[EFAC commends this blog post by theologian Rollin Grams: Issues Facing Missions Today: 59 Exercises in Simple Logic: A Response to the Archbishop of Wales’ Defense of Same-Sex Relationships ]
16th Sept 2016
GAFCON UK is puzzled as to why the Church of England needs a 'Bishops' Reflection Group' on homosexuality. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is clear, and the Bible is universally clear. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are same-sex attracted, and faithfully living according to God's revealed plan for human flourishing. As pastors, teachers, friends, and neighbours we can have no other response. The Church of England needs to have the courage of its foundational convictions, return to them, and move on to its mission of calling the nation to turn to Christ as the only Saviour and Lord.
18 September 2016
[See original Statement from the Church of England following the September meeting of the College of Bishops, here].
We note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a statement offering condolences on the death of David Jenkins, former Bishop of Durham. The Archbishop’s tribute makes no mention of the issue for which Dr Jenkins was best known, namely his public denial of miracles in the New Testament, including the Virgin Birth and the Physical Resurrection of Christ in the mid 1980’s.
In one sense, God used this churchman’s revisionist theology for good. The national media correctly identified the anomaly of a senior Bishop publicly questioning core doctrines of the church. This created a debate in the nation about the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and enabled many Christians to use the issue as a way of discussing the Gospel with friends and neighbours. The controversy also ensured that other Bishops who may have held similar views have largely kept quiet on this issue since.
But on the other hand, it is deplorable when church leaders use their position to teach, as the Ordinal puts it, “erroneous and strange doctrines”, and promote a version of Christian faith which denies the clear witness of Scripture. This creates serious division, and fatally undermines the mission of the Church. Tragically, some Bishops today are guilty of the same error as Dr Jenkins, for example in publicly questioning or denying biblical teaching on sex and marriage.
While we would want to offer our condolences to Dr Jenkins’ family and wish them well as they remember the Bishop’s good qualities, we would prefer to offer tributes to two other Anglican leaders who have recently died. J. Alec Motyer was a theologian and educator who influenced many with his faithful expositions of Scripture; Bishop John Ball was motivated by love for Jesus in his work as a missionary in East Africa and in his leadership of Crosslinks. We give thanks for their adherence to God's word, and their fruitful ministries.
A collection of reports and responses.
My dear people of God,
I have just returned from a very encouraging visit to the United States where I met with my brother Archbishop Foley Beach and I rejoice to see how the Anglican Church in North America is growing strong and standing firm.
A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.
Members of the General Synod have written an open letter to the College and House of Bishops, urging them ‘not to consider any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church’ on human sexuality.