Thursday, 30 June 2011

more reports on AMiE

Updated Friday morning

Savi Hensman has written for Cif belief When is Gafcon going to start listening?

Religious ultra-“conservatives” have launched an Anglican Mission in England (Amie). This is “dedicated to the conversion of England and biblical church planting”.

Leaders of Gafcon (Global Anglican Future Conference) and FCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) see themselves as championing traditional Anglicanism. Others regard them as out of step with church tradition, and object to their attempts to undermine others in the family of churches making up the Anglican Communion.

In May, a statement was issued by the council of primates (most senior bishops) of Gafcon/FCA, which lamented “the promotion of a shadow gospel that appears to replace a traditional reading of Holy Scriptures and a robust theology of the church with an uncertain faith and a never ending listening process”. Yet for many, the “listening process” on sexuality never truly started…

In this week’s Divine Dispatches Riazat Butt writes about AMiE:

If You Seek Amie then you’ve come to the right place. Amie is of course an acronym for the Anglican Mission in England – not to be confused with Amie – The Associate Member of the Institute of Engineers. And what a misnomer of an acronym it is. What’s that saying? Beware of strangers bearing gifts. Amie states, not at all ominously, that its intention is to support “those who have been alienated so that they can remain within the Anglican family. Churches or individuals may join or affiliate themselves with the Amie for a variety of reasons. Some may be churches in impaired communion with their diocesan bishop who require oversight. Others may be in good relations with their bishop but wish to identify with and support others.”

So, in non-Anglican parlance, this means if you don’t like your bishop you can have another one that fits more neatly with your world view. They don’t even have to be a bishop in the Church of England. I have three words for you – cross-border intervention. I also have four words for you – church within a church. What do the sages at Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe have to say about this parking of tanks on the CoE lawn? I’ll tell you – nothing! What should they say? Get off my land, that’s what.


The Church Times has the headline: Group names five bishops ready to defy diocesans.

…The three unnamed clerics were ordained in Kenya on 11 June by the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, who chairs the GAFCON Primates’ Council, formed after the Global Anglican conference in Jerusalem in 2008. All three come from the diocese of Southwark. The diocese said on Wednesday that it had received no request for permis­sion to officiate there.

Dr Williams was in Kenya last week. A Lambeth spokeswoman was unable to say this week whether the two had discussed this development.

The Revd Charles Raven, the dir­ector of the Society for the Prop­agation of Reformed Evan­gelical Anglican Doctrine, wrote on the organisation’s website on Thursday of last week that the three men had gone to Kenya to be ordained “be­cause the English diocesan bishop con­cerned had refused to give any assur­ances that he would uphold bib­lical teach­ing on homosexual practice”.

The chairman of the AMiE steer­ing committee is the Revd Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, and the group’s secretary is Canon Chris Sugden.

Dr Sugden said that the group was awaiting a response from Dr Wil­liams to Dr Wabukala’s request that the three clergy be granted per­mission to officiate under the Over­seas Clergy Measure. The chairman of Reform, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, said that “episcopal oversight” of the three men “has been delegated to the AMiE bishops”…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 8:32pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Sugden now hopes Lambeth will appoint an evangelical flying bishop.. I suppose Rowan will concede this....

Posted by: robert ian williams on Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 9:05pm BST

Impaired communion with their bishop who require alternative oversight? Now what does that remind me of?

Posted by: Sylvia on Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 9:13pm BST

The launch of AMiE took place in St Peter's Cornhill and St Helen's Bishopsgate ... in the Bishop of London's own backyard.

It is Richard Chartres who should be speaking up as this is clearly a schismatic movement with the declared intention of providing 'alternative' episcopal oversight.

Best of all would be a united clear statement from Lambeth, Bishopthorpe and the Old Deanery condemning AMiE's intentions.

Perhaps they could write an article for the New Statesman?

Posted by: observer on Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 11:28pm BST

"in the Bishop of London's own backyard." - observer

Remember all that hoo-ha over the gay wedding? Now, not a peep?

Posted by: A J Barford on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 3:07am BST

I wasn't familiar w/ these aspects of Dr Hensman's past: very moving.

Sadly, if I may be so bold as to speak for GAFCON, in response to "When is Gafcon going to start listening [to LGBT people]?": How about never? Does NEVER work for you?

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 4:31am BST

Oh well done in this crisp statement of what is actually happening. Tanks on the C of E lawn describes it well. Just remember that the ordinariate is another tank, not a clapped out one that has gone elsewhere. Interesting to see what happens at GS later this month.

Posted by: Una Kroll on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 7:49am BST

Whilst many of us are keeping the Feast of Divine Compassion, how sad to see the extreme wings of the Church of England seeking to split the church to fit their own values, instead of the Gospel values of Love and Compassion. Being selfish Im glad I now live within the province of the Scottish Episcopal Church. But my heart grieves for the Church of England, its rich heritage within my own life time. being destryed by self centred bigots.

Posted by: Fr John on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 8:23am BST

This is precisely where the 'logic' of the Act of Synod gets us, of course. All of a piece.

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 9:22am BST

If you are right then you don't need to listen.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 9:29am BST

Thanks, JCF (though I am not a doctor!)

I would have thought some listening might be helpful even if the GAFCON/AMIE enthusiasts see themselves like old-fashioned missionaries, out to convert any Christians who do not think like them. But I suppose that might give their followers the idea that dialogue might be a good thing, which would open up the possibility of changing their views, even slightly.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 10:55am BST

"The panel consists of one serving bishop, the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, and four retired bishops: Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Rt Revd John Ball, the Rt Revd Colin Bazley, and the Rt Revd John Ellison."

Wallace Benn is going to retire in August 2012, Nazir Ali retired from Rochester early having refused to attend the last Lambeth Conference, John Ball is a former assistant bishop in Tanzania, Colin Bazley is the former Bishop of Chile in the Southern Cone and John Ellison is the former Bishop of Paraguay, also in the Southern Cone.

Posted by: badman on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 11:07am BST

I agree with Judith! They thought the Act of Synod would be a sticking plaster..but it has opened the way to further fragmentation.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 12:43pm BST

Of course the opposite is true too. Would you ever admit you're wrong? That maybe both sides are wrong to allow divorce and marriage really is for husband/wife? If the liberals are never going to listen and admit they could be wrong, why keep beating your head on the wall? Neither side is going to give. The conservatives will leave or die out or look for oversight elsewhere.

Posted by: Chris H on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 1:35pm BST

Now high time to discontinue ordaining bishops. They have been fetishised beyond all use, and to an unhealthy degree.

Have deacons by all means, have presbyters; and let episcope be carried out in bold and imaginative ways by some combinations of teams of lay people and other ministers.

I am sure the Methodists, URC and others would be able to offer help and support.

Btw I was ordained 32 years ago today and rejoice in my journey into G-d! However looking back now,I can see that, much as we loved them both, Mervyn Stockwood and John AT Robinson were hardly essential to that spirit-filled meeting and its sequelae!

Various good folk laid hands on me including some RC nuns and members of my (RC)charismatic prayer group. Episcope was not in short supply or limited to those two chaps !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 1:54pm BST

"The Revd Charles Raven, the dir­ector of the Society for the Prop­agation of Reformed Evan­gelical Anglican Doctrine, wrote on the organisation’s website on Thursday of last week that the three men had gone to Kenya to be ordained “be­cause the English diocesan bishop con­cerned had refused to give any assur­ances that he would uphold bib­lical teach­ing on homosexual practice”. - Riazat Butt -

SO! it's going to be a contest between Charles Raven and Chris Sugden - as to who will be appointed the next faux-Archbishop of Yorkaberry in the U.K.? So where do the 3 quasi-Kenyan Episcopal Interlopers fit in here?

Is this really the beginning of the end of the Church of England as we know it - a bid for power by FCA/GAFCON? Give them a chance, and it'll be just like a rat up a drain-pipe before you know what's happening, Canterbury and York. They've already had a 'dummy-run' in the U.S. and Canada, and really fancy their chances in Blighty.

Don't say we didn't warn you! Farewell Albion!

I don't think any reputable overseas Province of the former Anglican Communion will want to be associated in Covenant with these new guys.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 3:43pm BST

Didn't someone write a book once about a man who was destroyed by a monster that he himself created?

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 5:51pm BST

I fear, my English siblings, that this continues to feel very familiar. In the early days of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), the foreign bishops who ordained as bishops priests of the Episcopal Church seemed on the one hand to expect bishops of the Episcopal Church to recognize the ordinations, and on the other hand to act as if they didn't consider the Episcopal bishops worth considering. If I recall correctly, a few diocesan bishops would recognize the ordinations; but when the full House of Bishops declined, they went on, acting as if they were a separate denomination. They also engaged actively, if not noisily, trying to encourage Episcopalians (and not only the dissatisfied) to come to their "purer" expression of Anglicanism. Part of what they claimed for their authority was those foreign bishops.

As they say in the movies, "Coming to a theater near you;" and maybe even "soon."

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 7:26pm BST

Chris H,

Of course, I'll *listen to* anyone. But I won't *submit* to those who deem me (IN my sexuality, partnered appropriately) less-than-Imago-Dei. But I don't demand they submit to me (via my bishops/GenCon), either.

That's the difference.

I will listen, but---not being yet persuaded---refuse to submit.

GAFCON will not listen to me, AND yet insists I submit to them.

There's really no equivalence here.


Re the update: and so it begins...

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 1 July 2011 at 10:11pm BST

Dear friends in England, Welcome to our world!

It seems to me that nothing less than the Elizabethan Settlement and the comprehensiveness of the Church of England is at stake here. If +RW allows these three priests, who were ordained in the act of repudiating the jurisdiction of their bishop, to serve in Southwark, or anywhere else, he will buy your Church a world of hurt.

In TEC, we have a Primate who has a backbone, the +Most Rev. Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori. As a woman who flies her own plane and worked as an oceanographer onboard fishing boats, she knows the world of men and how to stand up to them. Thank God we have thoroughly repudiated self-righteous schism at the heart of our Church, and we are done with these people.

As an only child of a privileged academic and ecclesiastical background, I wonder if +RW is up to the job of setting limits and defending his Church. Make no mistake, it will be necessary to depose some of these bishops or prohibit them from practicing as bishops in the CofE. These foolish true believers and egotists recognize no boundaries. By their willingness to take jurisdiction over English priests ordained in Kenya and supervise them in jurisdictions of CofE bishops, these English and foreign bishops are declaring by their actions that they are in impaired or broken communion with the CofE.

Imagine an Anglican jurisdiction in England based entirely on misogyny and homophobia. For Patriarchy they set out to destroy your Church. Be sure of my prayers and good wishes for all of you, especially for +RW and your HOB that they grow backbones. Let's see what kind of catholic order he believes in now.

Posted by: karen macqueen+ on Saturday, 2 July 2011 at 12:24am BST

Fascinating comment by "Dave" on the Fulcrum Forum discussion of AMIE. Apparently the Conservative Evangelical group in the Church of England, like the Sydney Anglicans, see themselves as directly in the line of the sixteenth-century Puritan movement, rejecting the path the Church of England has taken since the Elizabethan Settlement, let alone the Restoration. Like their forebears, they reject church government by bishops unless the bishops are pleasing to them.

I'd say this draws the battle lines pretty clearly.

The pattern is a very familiar one indeed! It reminds me of a local Libertarian with whom I've had Internet debates from time to time. He sees no reason to obey a law if he doesn't like it. He thinks it's tyranny that he should have to obey laws he doesn't like. All this does help to explain why the Tea Party and ACNA are so close to one another these days.

Dave's comment is below:

"Before you criticise Reform please watch Jonathan Fletcher's video on their site. Here is an understanding of Anglicanism which warms my heart and certainly has nothing to do with homosexuality or women bishops. This is the authentic reformed Anglicanism of Thomas Cramner and the Elizabethan Settlerment. which is found in the ministry of e.g. Henry Venn, Charles Simeon, J C Ryle, J I Packer and John Stott. This is the true Anglicanism which was expelled by Charles II and replaced by man pleasing bishops who kow tow to the powers that be. Sadly this true Anglicanism has been supressed in many areas by the bishops. Those who remain faithfull deserve our praise and thanks and all the support they are now being offered by AMiE. The real issue is the planting of churches which preach the gospel of Christ unto salvation!"

Posted by: Charlotte on Saturday, 2 July 2011 at 6:26pm BST

There's something I should add to my previous post, to make my views clearer. I do think it's possible to disagree -- vehemently -- with one's own bishop. (In fact, I do just that.) I just don't think he ceases to be the bishop because I disagree with him. He's still legitimately the bishop however much I may dislike the fact or disagree with his views. The founders of AMiE, OTOH, seem to think that a bishop ceases to be a bishop when they disagree with him. That's the problem I have with them.

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 3 July 2011 at 12:00am BST

The real problem the Church of England will have with marauding overseas 'bishops' entering their jurisdiction, is that it echoes a similar culture of 'episcopi vagantes' - having only marginal relationship with the mainline Church of England - that has already been present in the C.of E. in the guise of 'Flying Bishops'.

These creatures from outer space, having mainly moved off into the stratosphere of Ordinariatism, have been the cause of schism within the C.of E. Will these new insurgents really be any different from the 2 new Flying Bishops appointed to replace them?

It really is time for the venerable Church of England to clear up it's own backyard of the ordure of undefined episcopal authority - before trying to exert magisterial authority over other Provinces of the world-wide Communion.

TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have already suffered schism because of border-crossings by episcopi vagantes. Will this happen in England?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 3 July 2011 at 6:20pm BST

"I wasn't familiar w/ these aspects of Dr Hensman's past: very moving." JCF
"Thanks, JCF (though I am not a doctor!)" Savi Hensman
Can somebody (Canterbury would be ideal)please give the lady a doctorate? I think she's earned it.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Sunday, 3 July 2011 at 11:13pm BST

We still dont seem to know who these three "Kenyan" clergy are...and where they were trained etc....where they plan to serve and so forth...

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 9:27am BST
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