THINKING ANGLICANS

More coverage of the GAFCON primates meeting in London

We previously covered this event here.

Media coverage:

Church Times Madeline Davies GAFCON plans to touch more Anglican lives

Christian Today Ruth Gledhill Conservative Anglicans poised for ‘leap forward’, deny schism

Telegraph John Bingham Bishops back Church of England breakaway congregations

Ekklesia Savi Hensman Breakaway Anglicans’ ‘narrow way’

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines has written a critical blog article here: The real Church of England. Please read the whole article, but here is an extract:

…For a long time I have wondered if the Church of England ought not to be a little more robust in countering the misrepresentation and manipulation (of reality) that emanates from Gafcon. I am not alone. But, I have bowed to the wisdom of those who (rightly) assert that we shouldn’t counter bad behaviour with bad behaviour, and that we should trust that one day the truth will out. I am no longer so sure about the efficacy of such an eirenic response. I think we owe it to Anglicans in England and around the Communion to fight the corner and challenge the misrepresentation that is fed to other parts of the Anglican Communion. (I was once asked in Central Africa why one has to be gay to be ordained in the Church of England. I was asked in another country why the Church of England no longer reads the Bible and denies Jesus Christ. I could go on. When asked where this stuff has come from, the answer is that this is what a bishop has told them.)

The Gafcon primates say:

We are uniting faithful Anglicans, growing in momentum, structured for the future, and committed to the Anglican Communion.

Which means what – especially when they claim ‘gospel values’ and speak and behave in ways that do not reflect values of honesty, integrity and humility? And on what basis is the bulk of the Church of England reported (within Gafcon circles) as being unfaithful? And who writes the stuff they put out? Who is directing whom – who is pulling whose strings? And what would be the response if I wrote off as “unfaithful” entire provinces of the Anglican Communion where there was evidence of corruption, love of power, financial unfaithfulness or other sins? Does the ninth Commandment still apply today, or only where convenient? Is sex the only ethical matter that matters, or does breaking the ninth Commandment get a look in?

The Gafcon primates get their information (and money) from somewhere. The ‘take’ on the Church of England reflects simply the perceptions of a few. I bet the wider picture is not represented. They insinuate that some clergy and churches (decidedly congregations and not parishes – and thereby lies another issue) feel marginalised or fearful – treated like ‘pariahs’ according to Gafcon – so cannot be identified. Really? How pathetic.

I was once at a meeting of evangelical bishops in England when three English Gafcon men came to meet us. They had stated that this was the case and that bishops were giving their clergy a hard time. We asked for evidence so we could consider it before we met. Bishop Tom Wright and I were just two who were outraged at the misinformation, misrepresentation and selective re-writing of history presented to us. When we began to challenge this, we were told that we shouldn’t get bogged down in the detail and could we move on. And they got away with it. I am not making this up…

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Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

So … seven (men) have gathered in a rather nice location in London to offer to sort out the Church of England. None of them are members of the National Church and not all of them are in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. To use a current electoral analogy their manifesto is rather like saying ‘vote Scottish Nationalist’ to save the Union. Apart from a few maverick parishes that might join them in England, I can’t see this as being more than an expensive exercise in delusional self-importance on the part of the GAFCON bishops most of whom… Read more »

Clara
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Clara

Glorious (word deliberately chosen) comment from Bishop Nick!

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Great blog from the Bishop of Leeds. I think GAFCON will come under the spotlight more. Many people are asking who is pulling the strings of these Primates? I have met Stanley Ntagali and rather like him, but cannot believe that his being a GAFCON primate can in any way enrich his ministry. The accounts show that the Trustees of Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Reg. Charity #1144227 – see Charity Commission website) are Rev Prebendary Richard Bewes (Rector All Souls Langham Place, until he retired in 2004), Mrs Sarah Finch (longstanding member of General Synod for the Diocese of… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Bishop Nick Baines writes, “I was once asked in Central Africa why one has to be gay to be ordained in the Church of England.”

Which raises the question, as to ordaining gay bishops, why is the Church of England not living up to its evident reputation?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

All power to Bishop Nick. Why have not the Archbishops of Canterbury spoken out publicly against this frontal attack on the Church of England? What is it about ‘Gafcon-Christianity’ that can offer hope to those people in the world who have to have been born female or gay? Surely, the exclusivism of FoCa and GAFCON cannot flourish in an enlightened society? Those who compare FoCa with the arrival of early Methodism in England seem to forget that Methodism was based – not on judgmentalism but the freedom of the people of God to ‘Tell the Good News’ of God’s love… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Archbishop Jensen said it was not the conservatives who were leaving the Anglican mainstream: ‘This goes back to the behaviour of The Episcopal Church in America. If there is a schism, it is because the American church decided to break with centuries-old tradition and with the biblical position on human sexuality.'”

There it is, direct from the horse’s mouth: “Ick-Teh-Gay” is what their new “communion” is founded on. Jesus and his “Love one another as I have loved you”? Not so much. Kyrie eleison!

sally Barnes
Guest
sally Barnes

Well said Bishop Nick. Lets hope we hear more episcopal and other voices along these lines.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

Thank you, Anthony Archer, for pointing out that this ‘Global’ organisation is, in fact, a handful of retired people with a registered charity number and a website. When I worked in banking, accounts with the self-aggrandising word ‘International’ in the name were always the ones that went bust.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I will watch the process with bated breath. When the Conservatives took on UKIP they became more right-wing and more anti-immigration as a result.
GAFCON rides on a homophobic ticket. Let’s see what it actually means for the CoE to fight back against it.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

A welcome blog by Nick Baines, but it contains an extraordinary admission:- “For a long time I have wondered if the Church of England ought not to be a little more robust in countering the misrepresentation and manipulation (of reality) that emanates from Gafcon. I am not alone. But, I have bowed to the wisdom of those who (rightly) assert that we shouldn’t counter bad behaviour with bad behaviour, and that we should trust that one day the truth will out.” By what conceivable ethical standard can it be “bad behavior” to counter lies and scaremongering from out-and-proud homophobes? (Quite… Read more »

Confused Sussex
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Confused Sussex

I have to agree with Nick Baines. As with ISIS one should not ignore extremists lest they gain some degree of credibility; but be prepared to face up to them.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

‘Let’s see what it actually means for the CoE to fight back against it.’ The problem for the CofE is not only the institutional (‘tanks on the lawn’) challenge, but also that the CofE is allowing GAFCON to tar the CofE with a homophobic brush. GAFCON’s position is that it’s good Anglican theology and ecclesiology to discriminate against gay people. I would say that this is a slur on Anglicanism generally and the Church of England in particular–except that of course, given the CofE’s practice and policies, it’s actually fairly accurate. Anglicanism as discrimination is something that heretofore the CofE… Read more »

Robert ian williams
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Robert ian williams

And the Church of England bishops are still committed to having a conservative evangelical bishop… who will be against women’s ordination and gay marriage. Consecrate a bishop of that ilk, and they may regret it , like the Episcopal church agreeing to consecrate Lawrence in South carolina and knowing well he would lead a multi-million usurpation.

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

The camel’s nose is not just under the tent.

A whole flock of camels have entered the tent, and are planning to claim it for themselves.

We in the Episcopal Church have been trying to point this out for a while. Usually, we were told we did not know how to handle these kinds of things.

All I can say is, if you think what you are hearing now constitutes “misrepresentation and manipulation of reality,” you really have an adventure in store.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Savi Hensman, as usual, has her finges on the pulse of the Gafcon initiative. At a time when the ISIS Fundamentalists are proclaiming a god of Vengeance; the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ might better be promoted by Christians as The God of Love.

Julian Mann
Guest
Julian Mann

AMiE should certainly have the courtesy to inform bishops in advance of any new confessing Anglican church plants in CofE dioceses. But action under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the ministers involved in these new churches could only be against licensed clergy. Confessing Anglican ministers of Christ in England not holding CofE licences are not subject to the CDM. Certainly, Anglican ministers ordained by GAFCON bishops have no institutional relationship with the CofE. Threatening them with an ecclesiastical court would surely be no more effective than threatening a Methodist church planter. Again, in the interests of transparency and public accountability… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Thank you jnwall until I read your comment I had no idea that the collective noun for camels was a flock! Alternatively they could collectively be referred to as a caravan or a train. I am wondering is GAFCON’s interference the straw that will break the back of the Anglican Communion?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I suppose what really is at stake here is the use of the name ‘Anglican’ in the title of Gafcon’s planted ‘Anglican Mission in England’ (AMiE). What bugs many of us in the Anglican Communion around the world – who are not Gafcon affiliates, is the blatant takeover bid for the claim to ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’ that Gafcon maintains as its sole prerogative. Thus, in the USA and Canada, they have already named an amalgamation of their planted ‘mission churches’, by the confusing title of ‘Anglican Church in North America’ (ACNA) – when the only Anglican Churches in North America recognised… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I am wondering is GAFCON’s interference the straw that will break the back of the Anglican Communion?” But the Communion has no backbone in the first place. That’s GAFCON’s complaint–and to my mind, it’s the Communion’s chief virtue. The Communion is a worldwide family of churches. Nothing more. The real question now is whether it’s appropriate for different provinces of the Anglican family to be billing themselves as “the” representative of Anglicanism in England. The answer to that question is no. But do you really expect there to be any consequences for the GAFCON provinces? I don’t. Canterbury and the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Father Ron,
how much do people actually care about the term “Anglican” as a brand name? There is an Anglican Communion, true. But does any national church have the word Anglican in its title? Church of England, Church in Wales, The Episcopal Church of the USA… would we not still have the Anglican Communion with those Anglican churches that wanted to be part of it?

All we would lose is that modern construct of the “Anglican Church” that never existed anyway.

Daniel Bery, NYC
Guest
Daniel Bery, NYC

Splinter groups like GAFCON and their ecclesial counterparts – AMIE, AMIA, ACNA and such like – typically have such ungenerous ideas about “orthodoxy” (to say nothing of God and of Gospel and Grace) that it seldom requires much waiting before they’re chewing off one another’s hind legs and running off and starting yet another splinter group. That’s what’s happened in the American church ever since we started ordaining women to the priesthood. The Continental Reformation is another example–taken, again, to greater heights of suspicion, dissent, and division here in the US. In this particular instance, disgusting as these boys are… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I believe you may mean: the GS Standing Committee has recognized the Diocese of South Carolina (as ‘extra provincial’).

Gafcon is a different entity. It recognizes ACNA.

SC is not in ACNA. Its relationship is with the GS. +Welby attended the meeting in Cairo where this arrangement was discussed.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Ron says, ‘I suppose what really is at stake here is the use of the name ‘Anglican’ in the title of Gafcon’s planted ‘Anglican Mission in England’ (AMiE).’. Ron, as I’ve said to you before, I expect that the Pope and the church he represents have exactly the same struggle with our appropriation of the term ‘Catholic’. That’s because their definition of ‘Catholic’ includes an institutional connection to the Bishop of Rome, and ours does not. If you can swallow the idea that we Anglicans had the right to redefine ‘Catholic’ in a way that did not require an institutional… Read more »

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

Fr David, this site says “flock” for camels: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/animals/Animalbabies.shtml but I have also seen claims for “caravan,” “herd,” and “train.” So your mileage may vary, as we say here in the States. But the point is that these folks have arrived, with their “confessional” version of Anglicanism, waving the “authority of scripture” banner. They appeal chiefly to people who need clear rules, norms, and boundaries and who resent those of us more comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, and story. My guess is, the English church hierarchy will on the whole follow the “go along to get along” strategy. We in the… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Completely agree with Jeremy’s last four paragraphs. Our archbishops are too morally compromised. We should dwell on that thought – with all its implications. The central implication for me is that we have to get rid of the present ‘junta’. I also deeply believe that they will naturally implode, as their failure becomes progressively manifest. Am I inconsistent here with my frequently-trumpeted ‘live-and-let live’ pan-Anglicanism? No: because if this is the game (and I do devoutly believe it is the only game in town), everybody has to play by the rules, which said gentlemen (I use the term ironically) self-evidently… Read more »

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

“In the world of commerce, it would be impossible to high-jack someone else’s intrinsic identity and title. Why does the rest of the Communion not dissociate itself from this piratical conservative organisation?” Indeed, the Canadian congregations of what is now the “Anglican Mission in the Americas”, a Rwandan plant, initially wanted to call themselves the “Anglican Communion in Canada.” Industry Canada stepped in and they had to change it, as the Anglican Church of Canada was deemed to exclusively represent “the Anglican Communion in Canada.” ACNA has not faced any similar legal setbacks to my knowledge, nor did the previous… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“how much do people actually care about the term ‘Anglican’ as a brand name? There is an Anglican Communion, true. But does any national church have the word Anglican in its title?” – Erika Baker – Dear Erika; not living, yourself, in any of the ex-Colonial territories of the Anglican Communion; you may not be aware of the fact of the parental ties we have with the Church of England (which, incidentally) now claims to be part of the “Anglican’ family of Churches. We, in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, which countries were missionized by the Church of England, have… Read more »

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

Erika — about your question over national churches using the word Anglican in their names, here’s a some off the top of my head: Anglican Church of Canada Anglican Church of Australia Anglican Church of Southern Africa Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea I’m sure others could extend this list… That said, I don’t think the word Anglican is best understood in terms of brands. Arguably, it is more important to those who are departing to the continuing Anglican spectrum to use the word as a brand. This is particularly the case… Read more »

robert Ian williams
Guest
robert Ian williams

Interestingly in the nineteenth century the Church of Ireland objected to the use of Anglican and wanted the term Protestant Episcopal communion instead.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“in the UK, where Anglican comes off sounding very distinct from C of E”

Does it?

What else are members of the CofE called, if not Anglicans?

Peter Owen
Guest

The Anglican Communion website lists all the member churches here: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/member-churches.aspx There are eighteen that include the word Anglican in their name. The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia The Anglican Church of Australia Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil The Anglican Church of Burundi The Anglican Church of Canada Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) The Anglican Church of Kenya The Anglican Church of Korea The Anglican Church of Melanesia La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico The Church of Nigeria (Anglican… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

So you see, Erika. There are lots of Anglican Churches around the world. Some of which are attached by ‘ties of friendship’ with the Church of England our Founding Church – and some, like the Gafcon Churches, have dispensed with some of the Instruments of Unity – like Lambeth and the Primates’ Conference. Only the Gafcon Churches are promoting a faith concept that claims to be morally superior – to the extent that they have concocted their very own Statement of Faith – in the ‘Jerusalem Statement’. If the Church of England is not ‘Anglican’, it is not the fault… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I can assure you, Ron, that ‘I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as these conservatives’ sounds every bit as ‘morally superior’ as ‘I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as these liberals’. I don’t know if you have any idea how patronizing you sound, giving Erika lectures about the Anglican Communion as if she was an ignorant schoolgirl.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

The synod of the Diocese of Ottawa passed a resolution in 1923 deploring the Canadian government’s use of “Anglican” to refer in the census to members of the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada, rightly making the point that this “nickname” (“Anglican Church of Canada” would not become official in English until 1955) was not appropriate in an official government context.

Una Kroll
Guest

I agree with Nick Baines. It is time the Anglican Church in England countered these dreadful accusations, ‘take overs’ and insinuations about us. Jesus, our Lord died to redeem ALL sinners, not just a few. he continues to intercede for all through eternity and no one is outside His mercy.

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

Looking at Peters post and the list of member churches. Can anyone advise if there is some subtle difference between ” extra provincial to Canterbury and extra provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury ” or is it one and the same thing?
Fr Paul

Marshall Scott
Guest

Indeed, in the current context of the member of the Anglican Communion in the United States and some other countries, “Anglican” is not the word at issue. Having no “church by law established,” any ecclesial community can claim whatever tradition it wishes. Our current issues are two: first, not the “brand” of Anglican, but whether the term “Anglican” in fact refers to a theological/ecclesial tradition or to membership in the Anglican Communion. The second is in the use of the word “Episcopal.” The departing folks in South Carolina insist that the constitute the Episcopal Diocese _of_ South Carolina, and have… Read more »

Kurt Hill
Guest
Kurt Hill

There are over 30 Anglican denominations in the United States, including the ACNA. One such denomination goes back to 1873. But there is only one Anglican body which is a member of the Anglican Communion–The Episcopal Church.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Anyone curious to know what view of GAFCON is taken by Anglican Mainstream may find this article by Andrew Symes of interest
http://anglicanmainstream.org/gafcon-threat-option-or-only-future/

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Unless I am mistaken the General Convention entity in lower South Carolina is not “Episcopal Diocese _in_ South Carolina” but “The Episcopal Church in South Carolina.” The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is the same one that has always been there, since colonial times, and has defeated efforts to make it relinquish its name. In colonial times, “dioceses” were in effect “states” — hence “of” and not “in.” So when a new diocese was created the original diocese in SC didn’t become the Diocese of Lower SC, while the new one became the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. If there… Read more »

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

A couple of comments on the assertion that the “diocese” of South Carolina existed before the Episcopal Church. The use of that term in the history of the Church in the U.S. can be very anachronistically misleading. There were colonial churches in South Carolina before and during the American Revolution, which were (as in the other American colonies) not organized into dioceses or really much of anything else. The Revolution resulted in the Anglican churches in all the colonies becoming a mess of disorganized disarray. In South Carolina, the first state convention to try organize themselves out of this disarray… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

This is not a thread on South Carolina and I don’t disagree with much of anything you have written. The only point being registered was in response to Mr. Scott, who referred to an “Episcopal Diocese in SC” when the entity is the “Episcopal Church in SC.” And that is because the Diocese owns the name it has had going back as far as it has had it; and is retaining it. For a new entity to use the term “Diocese” would require a new name (perhaps “Diocese of Lower South Carolina”) and admission to General Convention as such. That… Read more »

BOP
Guest
BOP

“Apart from a few maverick parishes that might join them in England” (Nicholas Henderson): Unfortunately our vicar has persuaded our PCC that our parish church should become one of these ‘maverick parishes’, with a threat to break away from the CoE if the CoE does not abide by the ‘rules’ laid down by GAFCON and AMiE. Do we hear a murmur of any sort from our bishops? No, we do not. They have their heads well and truly down below the parapet.
Well done Bishop Nick! How we wish that our bishops were like you.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Dear BOP
Does your bishop even know about this? Why not tell him yourself to make sure?

Marshall Scott
Guest

I am quite comfortable being corrected, as my point was to note that the current differences are exemplified by “of” vs. “in.” Each is “episcopal” in being led by a bishop. One is “Episcopal” in continuing communion in the Episcopal Church.

William MacKaye
Guest
William MacKaye

“cseitz,” who I assume is Christopher Seitz of the Anglican Communion Institute, a four-person think tank with a major-sounding name, doesn’t tell the whole story. The “Episcopal Church in South Carolina” is in fact the real Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, those Episcopalians who refused to join Bishop Lawrence and his clergy and lay followers in leaving the Episcopal Church. Unfortunately for people trying keep straight who’s Episcopalian and who isn’t, a local South Carolina court has found that the name Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina belongs to Lawrence and his followers and has banned the real Episcopal diocese from… Read more »

BOP
Guest
BOP

Dear Simon Sarmiento,
The bishops of our Diocese and their staff have been informed by several people, over many months, about how our once quiet and gentle little parish church is becoming one of these ‘maverick parishes’.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Other Provinces of the Anglican Communion (mine included: ACANZP) are still awaiting a response from either of the 2 provincial Archbishops to the Gafcon invasion of the territory of the Church of England by the Gafcon Primates. The loud silence is truly deafening. Cat got yer tongue? Is the silence given to mean that the ‘Anglican Church in England’ is no rival to the Church of England?

OR, will it, in time, become just another Province – like ACNA to Gafcon?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

The so-called “Windsor process” is really coming home to roost here. It was always a post-imperial attempt to impose an impossible degree of order. (Note the obvious and rather clumsy effort to wrap the attempt in the “Windsor” flag.) But events are now showing that from the perspective of the Church of England, the Windsor process was a strategic blunder of the first order. Having made “no border crossing into other provinces” merely a quid pro quo for “no ordaining gay bishops,” the Archbishop of Canterbury now is in no position to complain when one province ordains gay people as… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I’m sure it is a genuine article.

It will be a new Diocese, however, only when it uses that term, finds a new name, and is given recognition by the GC of TEC.