Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Sheffield writes about the Kenyan ordination

The Diocese of Sheffield has issued this press release: A statement from the Bishop of Sheffield on the Ordination in Kenya of Pete Jackson.

The Bishop of Sheffield today issued the following statement on the Ordination in Kenya of Pete Jackson:

“On Sunday 10th February I received a short note informing me that Pete Jackson had been ordained in Kenya the previous day to serve the Church plant in Walkley in Sheffield. This news was a complete surprise.

“In 2003, Christ Church Fulwood planted a new church, Christ Church Central, in the centre of the city led by the Revd. Tim Davies. Despite extensive discussions, the plant could not be contained within the legal structures of the Church of England.

“The Diocese of Sheffield has a strong commitment to mission, to evangelism and to church planting of all kinds. Shortly after I became Bishop in 2009, I invited the community of Christ Church Central to explore with me the possibility of making a Bishop’s Mission Order to regularize their life once again within the Diocese of Sheffield and the Church of England. After careful consideration, this offer was declined by Christ Church Central because of alleged wider differences between Christ Church Central and the Church of England.

“In 2012, Christ Church Central established a new church plant, Christ Church Walkley, with the support of Christ Church, Fulwood. This new plant was established with no consultation with the Diocese or with St. Mary’s Walkley, the local parish. Although there has been some local contact between St. Mary’s Walkley and the new plant, no-one in the Diocese was given any notification of the plans to ordain Pete Jackson in Kenya on 9th February.

“I will be entering into correspondence in the next few weeks with the various parties involved in the decision to ordain Pete Jackson in this way to explore their motives and reasons for acting in the way that they have. I will also be making contact with the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd. Eliud Wabukala and with Pete himself.

“As a diocese we are particularly concerned to offer our support and prayers to the parish of St. Mary’s Walkley who quite understandably have found these developments unsettling. Bishop Peter will be present with them on Sunday 3rd March. We also hold the Revd. Pete Jackson and Christ Church Walkley in our prayers. We know that neither community will be helped by being the focus of an ongoing wider controversy.

“As a diocese we continue in our commitment to mission, to the making of disciples and to joyful and creative church planting within the order and polity of the Church of England.”

+Steven Sheffield
26th February, 2013.

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Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

I hope Justin Welby feels able to deal with the schismatic North American factions in the same way.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Well, this puts paid to any notion that the Kenya ordination was somehow acceptable to the Diocese of Sheffield or could be fitted within the legal structures of the Church of England. But note the great ease with which the previous discussion was derailed by specious allegations of heresy on the part of the US Presiding Bishop. As if that had anything to do with the Kenya ordination! But once the Kenya ordination could no longer be defended, one of their number resorted to a blatant red herring argument to distract attention from that fact, and it succeeded well. Do… Read more »

Deacon Charlie Perrin
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Deacon Charlie Perrin

Priests first, Bishops next. Welcome to the club Mother Church. The Anglicans in Africa have found you wanting as they did us in the States.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

+Steve puts it very well and very graciously. Of all the dioceses to do this this in, Sheffield must be the least obvious since the diocesan has a clear support for church planting, as this letter makes clear. This just makes those who have done this look like they don’t in fact care about being part of the Church of England, despite their protestations that they do.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the fact that, after the GS vote on women bishops in November, +Steve very publicly and clearly opposed the ‘headship’ argument, has it?

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I suspect Peter Ould wrote this.

JCF
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JCF

Is this founding church, Christ Church Fulwood, a parish of the CofE? Because clearly, it’s become some kind of sect (if not cult!). +Sheffield, fulfill your episcopal duties and *clean house at the source*.

Beyond that, make sure everyone knows that these “Christ Church” franchises are a non-Anglican sect (the “dead wood splinters” effect will prove out in the end). Kyrie eleison!

Bro David
Guest
Bro David

A point of clarification, lets keep the cart behind the horse, although priesthood may be inevitable, Pete Jackson was ordained a deacon in Kenya, not a priest.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Perhaps the most important factor to be taken into consideration here, is that the Church of England Bishop of Sheffield will be questioning the action of the Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, in authorising the ordination of an English schismatic into the Church of Kenya, in order to take up ministry as an Anglican priest in a non-Anglican church in Sheffield. This disturbing trend on the part of a GAFCON Prelate, making way for a quasi-Anglican incursion into the territory of the Anglican Diocese of Sheffield, should stir the Church of England into some sort of action that will clarify the… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Which of these does the bishop’s response come under:

‘niceness, evasion, pusillanimity, cowardice and hypocrisy’?

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Gee, JCF. Why would a bunch of conservatives ever want to join a church that thinks they’re nothing but a bunch of cultists? On the other hand, do you think anyone who isn’t Anglican is a cultist?

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I wonder what the locals make of it? I suspect that those who label themselves C of E ( practising /occasional and four wheeler) will still look to St Mary’s as their parish church. I suspect Christ Church will be mostly eclectic…Does it call itself an Anglican Church? I wonder if that has any resonance? Wasnt South Yorkshire a significant methodist area or has that gone?

Bro David yes he is ordained a deacon..but I suspect he presides at the Lords Supper none the less.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Yes, JCF is a little on the cut off their heads, stuff ’em and hang ’em out to dry side of liberalism.

But Adrian paints the bishop’s statement in a very dark light. I guess it is a symptom of the age that we just loose our patience with those who are, as Alan Wilson’s senior officer tells us, full of the proverbial.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Charlotte, I’m wondering about the “diversion” to talking about how heretical the TEC PB may or may not be. Peter was making the point that TEC and Canada deserved the border crossing because of the awful heresies of KJS (yes, sarcasm). But there was no call for border crossing in CoE, no heresies there… Perhaps it’s a diversion, but another look may reveal that the problem of schism and whatnot might actually be more about power and cults than about Jesus and Anglican unity. It’s revealing to me and I’ll be fascinated in how it plays out. Rowan was pretty… Read more »

Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

i am afraid that this is typical behaviour from these kind of ‘church plants.’ They ignore the local Anglican Churches which have struggled hard for years as they are so convinced that they are ‘right’. i am usually sure that they are not Anglican and often woneEr whether what they preach is really christianity. Certainly it is not what I value as Anglicanism nor what I consider to be the hope .joy and inclusivity of the Christian faith.

johnny may
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johnny may

As I said I would, over the last few days I have commenced some research on the alphabet soup of GAFCON/AMiE/FCA/REFORM etc and the whole church-planting thing. For obvious reasons I started with the Sheffield area. I can only look at websites/read news pieces/listen to a couple of sermons etc but I have found nothing that I’d describe as a “cult”. What aspects are “cultish”? In particular the main church in Fulwood clearly has a massive turnover of people coming and going- hardly the sign of a thought controlling cult. Of course the nature of a cult is to deceive-… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

The question, ChrisH, is why Yet Another Group of Protestants—God bless ’em, and He sure seems to (there are so many!)—feel the need to call themselves “Anglican”, in a country where the Established Church is the Anglican one? It’s the *duplicity & subversion* involved (not the ecclesiology, theology, or sexual ethics, all of which I probably disagree with), which suggest this is a cult. [Whereas similarly-believing Baptists, Presbyterians, Free Churches of all kinds, are NOT cults. HTH.] “Yes, JCF is a little on the cut off their heads, stuff ’em and hang ’em out to dry side of liberalism.” Love… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Thanks for your response to my comments, Cynthia. I do agree with your remark that “the problem of schism and whatnot might actually be more about power and cults than about Jesus and Anglican unity.” In fact, I’m entirely convinced that such is the case. I also remember the history behind the list of the Presiding Bishop’s so-called “heresies.” When she was elected, the border-crossers were faced with the need to justify continuing their actions under a new Presiding Bishop. Immediately on her election, Jack Iker of Ft. Worth dramatically announced his secession, because, as a woman, the new PB… Read more »

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

Actually, the “more vulgar among the border-crossers” call KJS “Her Squidness” in honor (?) of her previous career in oceanography. Increases their credibility in their complaints, doesn’t it?

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Does anyone know why CC Central couldn’t be a part of the CoE from the beginning? What were the difficulties? By 2009 the women’s ordination and gay marriage/civil union wars would have been on the radar, so I’m really not surprised they said no. The way the church as a whole is heading to the liberal side, why would a church plant that was started with people who taught the BCP more traditionally want to join a church heading a different direction?(marriage between man and woman is what the BCP still says,right?) Isn’t it possible that having begun the church… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Party political general comment from Chris H.

However while this new plant does mention it’s anglican heritage and GAFCON, the Jerusalem Declaration and the 39 articles, the BCP doesn’t get a look in.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I struggle a bit with all this.
The largest part of me wants to wish this new deacon every blessing in his ministry, so I will contact him and say that. I urge other TA readers to do the same.
Let us pray that they bring many people into the faith of Jesus Christ and that they mature into sensible and enthusiastic Christians.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Johnny, I would not use the word cult either, it simply doesn’t fit. These are churches who believe even the conventional evangelical churches in the CoE to be too lax about certain sets of belief, in particular too lax in their condemnation of gay people. In America, they have splintered off from TEC but tried to take all the property with them. That, more than the splintering, is a bone of contention. Apart from that, the hurt is the same as those of the Anglo-Catholic parishes here when their priests and a large number of their congregation decamped to the… Read more »

Pam Smith
Guest

Erika Baker: “We have a lively tradition of free churches in this country and no-one is trying to stop them. But they don’t call themselves Anglican” This is the point in a nutshell to me. If this church was begun purely to spread the Gospel, why do they need to call themselves Anglican and seek Anglican accreditation outside the C of E? If they feel the need for an accountability structure outside their own grouping, there are non-Anglican evangelical church networks that they could be part of. What exactly is the meaning of accountability when it is to someone so… Read more »

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Martin, since you’ve obviously done some research, do you know what the difficulties were that Central wasn’t a part of the CoE when they started in 2003? What “legal structures” does the CoE have that would stop them from being a part of the diocese from the beginning? Why after 6 years would it suddenly be legal for the new bishop to accept them? Bishop Dan Edwards had a post on his blog in December about how people who leave/are on the fringes often can’t return to the same church. Perhaps some of that reasoning is going on here between… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

I just want to clarify what I’ve referred to as a “cult.” Some of the breakaway groups in TEC really look cultish. The “oversight” from bishops thousands of miles away doesn’t appear useful. It appears that the groups have charismatic leaders doing their own thing.

The group in Sheffield, skipping CoE and looking to Kenya for oversight does not sound like healthy oversight.

I’m not referring to conservatives within the church.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Sorry Chris, all I have done is read their web pages. Though leaving out the BCP is strange. The 39 articles were intended to distance the church from Roman Catholicism and Calvinism. Funny isn’t It that many of those who now embrace them are often espousing a theology the articles were meant to reject. Perhaps this is just an omission. With the likes of Peter Ould laying out a good case that this is a very poor decision and a move his contituency should reject, I have a strong suspicion that the Chris Sugdens of this world ( who often… Read more »

Jess
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Jess

The fact that this story has become a headline might shed light on some other modern issues with ordination. Thanks for the post

johnny may
Guest
johnny may

Erika- thanks for your comments. I have been listening to “talks” as they call them from the Fulwood main church and the Central church. They are all free! I cannot find anything though that supports the suggestion that they “..stand on the platform of oppressing gays and keeping women in lower positions and who operate on a narrow minded doctrine of a wrathful God”. There is stuff on gender and sex and hundreds of other things but no “platform”, apart, perhaps a constant theme of trying to introduce people to Christianity for the first time. Would it be unfair of… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Johnny:

if you want to be Anglican then you put yourself under the authority of the local bishop – you do not choose another bishop. That is one important reason why their desire to label themselves as Anglican is odd. If they want to start a new church – good luck to them, but why label yourself Anglican?

If i call myself Roman Catholic but refuse to accept the authority of the pope or if I call myself Methodist but won’t accept being part of Connexion then I will rightly be told I am not those things.

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

it seems very much that these are issues of authority, responsibility and accountability. Who is this church accountable to? If it is not the Church of England Diocese where it is located, then who takes responsibility for it, and the work of the Pastor. If I go to an ‘anglican’ church in england then I know who is responsible for it and if it turns out if something wonderful is going on there, or alternatively something awful, just who is accountable – this is really important stuff in terms of safeguarding for example. No-one is denying that this church might… Read more »

johnny may
Guest
johnny may

Charles- wow, really? So if my local bishop declares him/herself to be an atheist or Muslim or, (as posted elsewhere), is one of those clerics who thinks that “a belief in incarnation (definitiveness of Jesus that relates to the purpose of the world) and resurrection (some sense in which Jesus ‘returned’ or instituted a future to be)” is far too narrow an understanding of those concepts I either must agree with him/her or declare myself a non-Anglican? Since when? In case of criticism I have done my research this time- I see that this idea of a “monarchical” bishop arose… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Johnny
you appear to think that it is up to us to either accept this church into the fold or not. If I understood the matter correctly, they have at no time sought to become part of the CoE or the Anglican Communion. Ought you to be talking to them instead?

If they weren’t using an inappropriate label I would most certainly simply ignore them. Why wouldn’t we? We don’t try to bring other free churches into our fold either, although we might locally have good relationships with them.

David Shepherd
Guest

We know that Rev. Tim Davies, who was the founding minister of Christ Church Central, was ordained as a CofE clergyman in 1993. This incident aside, I assume that he remains in good standing. Tim Davies simply describes the outcome of the exploratory discussion in 2002 by saying: ‘diocesan support was withdrawn’. In contrast, the bishop states:’the plant could not be contained within the legal structures of the Church of England.’ The fact that the plant could not be contained within the legal structures of the CofE does reveal something of the nature of the disagreement. A Conventional District would… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Bishop’s Mission Orders didn’t exist in 2003. They weren’t invented until 2007/2008, so they couldn’t have been offered any sooner than that.

David Shepherd
Guest

You’re right. They weren’t, but a parish plant was an option at that time. FWIW, Rev. Julian Mann (Cranmer’s Curate) Sheffield vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge wrote this http://trushare.com/0164JAN2009/18a%20parish_planting.htm : ‘A non-parochial church plant is a group going from a large evangelical church and planting in the parish of another church without diocesan approval and meeting in a school or other venue. More of these churches may get diocesan approval now that the system of Bishops’ Mission Orders is in place, but hitherto such ventures have usually involved the minister stepping out of the licensing system.’… Read more »

M J G
Guest
M J G

Should not Bishop Stephen ask some women in Kenya if they would like to be ordained; start doing services on a Sunday in a hall- say Mass, pretend to be part of the Church in Kenya, but pay no attention or respect to the Kenyan Archbishop????

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I think you’ll find, if you investigate, that the Province of Kenya has been ordaining women as priests since 1993.