Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Anglican Mission in England: Lambeth Palace statement

Updated and republished Wednesday morning

A statement from Lambeth Palace

Tuesday 5th July 2011

The announcement of the creation an ‘Anglican Mission in England’ prompts concern for a number of reasons. New mission initiatives are, as such, always good news; and the declared intention of the spokesmen for this new initiative to remain faithful to the structures of the Church of England is welcome.

However, it is not at all clear how the proposed panel of bishops relate to the proper oversight of the diocesan bishops of the Church of England. Nor is there any definition of the issues which AMiE think might justify appeal to such a panel rather than the use of normal procedures. Furthermore, the ordination of three English candidates to the diaconate in Kenya with a view to service in England is problematic. It is not clear what process of recognised scrutiny and formation has taken place and how, in the absence of Letters Dimissory (the relevant formal letters from the sponsoring bishop), they have come to be recommended as candidates for ordination by the authorities of another province.

The issue is one of episcopal collegiality. There needs to be some further discussion of this development between those involved and the diocesan bishops of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had the opportunity to speak with the Archbishop of Kenya about the situation: the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question, but it seems that there were misunderstandings of the precise requirements of English Canon Law and good practice as regards the recommendation of candidates for ordination and deployment in mission. It is hoped that an early opportunity will be found to clarify what this new initiative seeks to achieve if it is truly to serve God’s mission in the most effective and collaborative way.

Update
AMIE has responded. The full text of the response, currently at this URL, is below the fold.

6 July 2011

AMIE (formally the Saint Augustine Society) is grateful for the statement from Lambeth Palace of Tuesday July 5th. We are very pleased to note the welcome given to new mission initiatives and also the recognition of AMIE’s desire to remain within the Church of England.

Those recommended for ordination had already been through due processes of selection and training and were recommended after a thorough process of discernment.

According to a report at a recent conference, half the serving clergy of the Church of England will retire in the next ten years, a little acknowledged fact with no apparent strategy to address it. Meanwhile there are delayed candidates offering, parishes willing to sponsor them, and others eager to receive their ministry, congregations wishing to remain within the Church but not receiving recognition, and missional church plants needing authorisation. Many senior clergy are concerned about the quality of ministry that may be available in the future.

AMIE has come about precisely in order to retain within the Church of England those who share passion for gospel mission and wish to minister within this Church despite some problematic issues.

New problems are not being raised. Discussions on these issues have taken place with Lambeth Palace and its representatives over a period of four and half years. They were again rehearsed over the last year with three bishops appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with those now forming the panel of bishops and steering group of AMIE. They were fully communicated to Lambeth Palace in a document presented in July 2010.

Significant challenges face those called to minister in England at this time. Its ordained clergy need oversight and encouragement from those who believe in their work and ministry and who will walk with them step by step both theologically and missiologically. Such encouragement has been given by the Primates Council of GAFCON.

Episcopal collegiality within England needs to be matched by both Episcopal collegiality with the wider Anglican Communion and Episcopal integrity in upholding and teaching the truth of the Christian faith as found in the Scriptures.

We warmly welcome the invitation to meet to clarify the goals of AMIE which are to preach and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the standard for Episcopal integrity and collegiality in upholding and teaching the Christian faith.

Paul Perkin (Chair) on behalf of the Steering Committee

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Comments

"....the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question." Right!

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 4:12pm BST

With respect to the Archbishop, whilst there is a serious issue of episcopal collegiality, as the statement correctly notes, there is also the matter of respect for the General Synod. The reference to English Canon Law is significant, because the Canon Law of the Church of England, being that of an Established Church, is also the law of the land.

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 4:39pm BST

This American is having the strangest sense of "deja vu all over again."

Posted by: Counterlight on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 5:22pm BST

And who says English irony is dead!

Posted by: Grumpy High Church Woman on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 5:45pm BST

""....the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question."

Perish the thought.

Honestly, it's as if the writer of this announcement was completely ignorant of the pattern of GAFCON encroachment. Come to think of it, playing stupid seems to be a Lambeth specialty: remember when Kearon+ claimed that he didn't know what was going on with the Southern Cone church plantings/ordinations in the US?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:15pm BST

So Pope Benedict used Twitter for the first time and the Archbishop of Canterbury gets a new ring-tone! Music and lyrics from the song “Who's sorry now”

Posted by: Paul David Dean on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:26pm BST

Anyone wanting a little more detail from the AMIE side about their intentions should look at this blogpost from Richard Perkins of Christ Church Balham:

http://theurbanpastor.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/amie/

It seems to be more "My bishop must agree with me" than "I have sworn an oath of canonical obedience to my bishop".

In short, a congregational and not an Anglican ethos.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:27pm BST

One thing that must be said of the ABC is that he has the patience and tolerance of a saint.

Can you imagine what the response of the Pope, not just this Pope but any Pope, would be in a parallel situation?

Posted by: Andrew on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:33pm BST

It is fascinating to watch to what extent Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, will go to when pretending that *things* amongst the Gafcon schismatics (the Archbishop of Kenya is Chairman) at The Anglican Communion are *different* than they really are...unfortunately/repeatedly *things* are not so idealized and honorable as he would like ém to be? Who he? No can be! I suppose when one knows so much about the inner-most cat and mousing of Drexel Gomez and his punitive Anglican Covenant, and the REAL possibility for the nasty ¨consequences¨ of such a document it is indeed time for further study (of almost everything that ought to have been faced/addressed and openly discussed many moons ago).

I swear to the God of my understanding that Dr. Williams is incapable of saying NO to those he wishes to demonstrate his great depth of wisdom and compassion...meanwhile it´s every man, and it mostly is men, for themselves...grab the lifeboats we´re on the Lambeth Conference Titanic and it looks as if everything is going down, down, down!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:37pm BST

"It is hoped that an early opportunity will be found to clarify what this new initiative seeks to achieve if it is truly to serve God’s mission in the most effective and collaborative way."

Based on how these folks behaved in the U.S., I expect clarification about what the initiative seeks to achieve will come sooner than Lambeth and the ABC will be comfortable with.

I also doubt very much that the ordinations in Kenya were done in ignorance of C of E requirements. These folks don't act without planning carefully.

I wish you luck; you'll need it.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:48pm BST

It would seem that the Kenyan "three" have come from the Co-Mission family of congregations in South London..see theurbanpastor blogspot. It is related to the previous ordinations presided over by a Church of England in South Africa bishop..I have rather forgotten where Richard Coekin fits in ...but we have the recently retired Bishop of Winchester, Scott-Joynt to thank that firmer discipline wasnt upheld then...Not sure how many folk attend these "churches." Not altogether sure in what sense ( if any) they are connected to the Church of England.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 6:59pm BST

Is anyone there up on who the staff/clergy of the "Co-Mission" group are and their credentials. If memory serves, one of those ordained irregularly in Kenya in 2005 is now head of this group and there are allegations that the three ordinands have been ordained for service with Co-Mission. I do not know where Co-Mission staff are clerically resident. I do know that The Rev. Dr. Gavin McGrath now at Dundonald of Co-Mission was a professor at Trinity seminary Pittsburgh...He, to my knowledge, is clergy in good standing in the CofE. EmilyH

Posted by: EmilyH on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 7:23pm BST

Perhaps, now that the Kenyan Mission has presented itself as a concrete issue in the U.K., the ABC will begin to understand the malign influence of the schismatic elements that have threatened the mission of TEC and the Anglican Church if Canada in North America.

One would like to have been a fly on the wall at the meetings between the ABC and the Archbishop of Kenya on the matter of 'mission' to the UK by foreign missionaries recruited in England. Were they speaking the same language? Trouble ahead!
mission'

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 7:53pm BST

"....the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question." True enough. How can you question what does not exist?

Posted by: Scott on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 8:03pm BST

@Andrew, I take your point, but perhaps what you pointing to is stronger as a case against the Covenant. The ABC works from a position of convincing rather dictating. That said, all sides have wished he'd stop serving oatmeal.

@Alan, I do hope the rules don't preclude this week's General Synod from taking up the ABC's point about Canon Law. Will there be time for this to at least be brought up as a question for the Church's canon lawyers to answer?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 8:05pm BST

"The issue is one of episcopal collegiality."

Some might say the issue is one of "cross-border interventions."

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 8:13pm BST

Richard Perkins' article introduces AMiE in a worrying way:

"AMiE has been established as a society within the Church of England. Apparently there are lots of them. It’s a bit like a non-geographical Diocese."

He is suggesting to his congregation that AMiE has some recognised status in the Church of England. I'm rather concerned that this false teaching is being spread throughout these "Co-Mission" churches... I'm glad that the Archbishop has expressed his concerns over that teaching, and also the irregular ordinations in Kenya.

Posted by: Fr James on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 8:24pm BST

The patience and tolerance of a saint when it comes to these schismatic bullies, but one not above shouting and bluster when comes to a a debate over whether an outstanding and celibate gay candidate can become bishop?

This looks more to me like the same old pandering, fear, indecision and appeasement. Do they think GAFCON and AMiE will reciprocate with a corresponding patience and restraint? Truly, Lambeth deserves this headache, it has brought it on itself through its appeasement of those who are entirely unreasonable, narrow and intolerant. Utterly pathetic and shambling!

Posted by: Sue on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 8:25pm BST

I am not too sure about the Pope. The Vatican made a right mess of lifting the SPX excommunications...and now the same bishops are ordaining clergy, which de facto excommunicates them again.

Posted by: Robert ian Wiliams on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 9:32pm BST

"Episcopal collegiality" is potentially Church of England Code for "cross border interventions". As it happens the "established" nature of the Church of England makes this almost impossible to ignore (the Queen is Supreme Governor ...).

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 10:38pm BST

"the proper oversight of the diocesan bishops of the Church of England"

Well, de facto, you've been telling the diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church in this situation to "lie back and think of the Anglican Communion." Goose&Gander, was it not good for you dear Rowan?

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 10:51pm BST

So now the "concerns" of the ABC's American "Colonial" Church brethren/sistern expressed so long ago about the "invasion" from Africa, etc., has besome "real" with an "invasion" of his own domain.

Posted by: CANON K F KING on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 at 11:36pm BST

Yes, there is some justification for our American siblings to be somewhat en colère.

One might compare this unwanted intervention to the missionary activity of the erstwhile bishop of Durham and that nasty man from Winchester along with others who did all they could to create a potentially schismatic group variously called "Windsor bishops" and now trading under some equally fatuous name.

You had to admire the TECians - they submitted to that indignity with grace.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 12:17am BST

'the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question, but...'

oh please the 'But' is the whole point. They care nothing for the structures of the C of E or for the sensibilities of liberal religion, and a historic national Church.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 2:43am BST

(the Queen is Supreme Governor ...) - Mark Bennett

'O Lord, save the Queen.

And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.'

...sung by every precentor and cathedral choir in every cathedral every day of the week in this Realm of England since time immemorial.

Posted by: A J Barford on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 7:46am BST

Rowan - they're eating your lunch.

Posted by: Canang on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 7:55am BST

RIW: "The Vatican made a right mess of lifting the SPX excommunications...and now the same bishops are ordaining clergy, which de facto excommunicates them again."

Not that it's relevant to the topic of the thread, but the SSPX excommunications were incurred by the consecration of bishops without a papal mandate (the famous "sacres d'Econe" of 1988). Prior to that, Monseigneur Lefebvre had been ordaining priests irregularly for years without being excommunicated - he was merely suspens a divinis until 1988.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 7:57am BST

Oddly, I can't bring myself to feel any sympathy at all for Rowan Williams.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 8:16am BST

Paul Bagshaw offers a translation from Lambeth-speak to English here:
http://notthesamestream.blogspot.com/2011/07/anglican-mission-in-england.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 8:43am BST

John Chilton asked about Questions at Synod.

The deadline for submitting written questions was Tuesday 28 June. There may well have been questions submitted relating to AMiE, but any question relating to yesterday's statement will need to come as a supplementary question (i.e. asked live next Friday evening) to one of those. However, I think it probable that efforts will be made to raise the topic of AMiE elsewhere in the course of the meetings, and of course the archbishop himself might raise it in his own address to the synod on Saturday morning.

It might be interesting to you to know that standing orders prevent anybody giving an answer on any question which constitutes the giving of an opinion. And by the way the Legal Adviser is not among the list of people to whom questions can be addressed in the first place.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 9:15am BST

From AMiE's response, I'd say they want to be effective, and are willing to let collaborativeness fall by the wayside.

Must agree with Canang, who posted above, "Rowan - they're eating your lunch." Very true.

Remind me again what the point of the Covenant was? Could it have been "peace in our time"?

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 12:05pm BST

Some thoughts on Co-Mission. First, the average age is under 35. Second, they are deeply involved with young people and the international student committee in London. Third, at least in the case of some of their "churches", they do not receive $ support from the CofE. Fourth, they are allied with the FCA and REFORM. and Fifth, they are actively engaged in fund-raising. The funds they raise go to support domestic causes and international ones engaged in evangelical church planting and organizations whose humanitarian support comes with an evangelical Christian message. What they seem to be very good at is reaching young people..with their "Gospel" message which does not seem to be the forte of the CofE or TEC. I think its +Jensen's Mathias Media in Australia (and now international) that has been equally effective in setting up and financing church plants. It makes me wonder, in fact, what is to be learned from them to "market the message". If they are indeed marketing themselves as members in good standing with the CofE, and yet, in "impaired" communion with their diocesan, is there an honesty question to be addressed?

Posted by: EmilyH on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 12:17pm BST

The camel's nose is now inside the tent.

Posted by: jnwall on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 2:23pm BST

Years ago I lost hope.

I lost hope while repeatedly observing the cowering from *difficult* truth and the basic mismanagement skills of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

At every turn when faced with difficult challenges, year in and year out and at every point of key decision making, Rowan Williams failed us, caused great confusion and even manipulated reality to have his own way.

Dr. Williams connives as many suffer (and do suffer) due fully to his lack of common sense and quick-response perceptiveness when dealing with those who would seek to gain from the pain and strain they cause others at the Anglican Communion...pain that causes exclusion, excommunication, thieving, outcasting and even hate crimes initiated at Church...and then there are the BOLD lies that go ignored.

There is not one reason why Dr. Williams ought continue misguiding the flock when refusing to stand for basic decency and the love for our brothers, sisters, neighbors and friends at The Anglican Communion--it´s time for Rowan Williams to resign and leave us to work through the international strain and REAL emotional, physical and spiritual pain worldwide.

Please, Church of England, bring to us a priest/bishop with everday useful wisdom as well as truthfilled ¨unity¨ building skills-- please bring us a priest/bishop with the good sense to use common sense when loving God and protecting the integrity of ALL God seeking Anglicans at The Body of Christ...a priest/bishop who is not afraid to rebuild from the recent schismatic decay. A priest who does not look away from the destructive forces of selfrighteous mischiefmakers who lie in order to promote their all-knowing pure ideals they know are for ¨our/their own good.¨

It´s time for his Grace to say goodbye.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 3:50pm BST

I can't help but think that Rowan and the others probably did see this coming and that's why they were pushing so hard for stronger amendments/protections for conservatives in the legislation on women bishops. I think they had some idea, maybe a very good idea, what would happen if the CoE was seen as not doing enough. And it's the perception that counts. "Trust us" doesn't work on either side anymore. Without specifics in the legislation, the door was left wide open for others to come in and "take up the slack".

Posted by: Chris H. on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 5:04pm BST

Emily, Christian Unions in British universities are very successful but where are these young people 10 yrs on....? Some Presidents of christian Unions are not even connected with the christian religion 10yrs later....Its not just about marketing the message..its also about the content of the message and its ability to sustain christian discipleship through the ups and downs of life.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 5:44pm BST

Seems like The Reverend Charles Raven may be up for the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Just imagine, a new Biblical Church in England - rival to the Bush Baptists, complete with Raving ConEvo missionaries from outer space. Roll on Retrenchment!

Bye-bye Rowan;` Bye-bye John!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 7:05pm BST

Williams confirmed Scott-Joynt's ruling on the Coekin case. Only himself to blame.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 7:18pm BST

Regarding the AMiE response:

"AMIE has come about precisely in order to retain within the Church of England those who share passion for gospel mission and wish to minister within this Church despite some problematic issues."

This sounds remarkably like the initial statement of the Anglican Communion Network, the predecessor of ACNA.

"Significant challenges face those called to minister in England at this time. Its ordained clergy need oversight and encouragement from those who believe in their work and ministry and who will walk with them step by step both theologically and missiologically. Such encouragement has been given by the Primates Council of GAFCON.

Episcopal collegiality within England needs to be matched by both Episcopal collegiality with the wider Anglican Communion and Episcopal integrity in upholding and teaching the truth of the Christian faith as found in the Scriptures."

Sounds rather like, "If you don't meet our standards, we know who will; and we're prepared to leave with them."

No, I fear that they have left themselves plenty of room to decide they're dissatisfied, and to walk away - without actually walking very far.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 7:27pm BST

"is there an honesty question to be addressed?" - EmilyH

There certainly is an honesty question at stake here, Emily. If they are financially independent of the C of E then I am inclined to suggest that, given what you say about work with young people, international students, fundraising, domestic and international causes, church planting, humanitarian causes and a clear, well-marketed Gospel message, there are powerful vested interests opposing you. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine why you are ostrazised by the powers that be. Please elucidate Emily...

Posted by: A J Barford on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 8:48pm BST

"basic mismanagement skills of Rowan Williams" - Leonardo Ricardo

That's a trifle unfair, Leonardo. Remember, after the Southwark CNC debacle he's ours now.

Posted by: A J Barford on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 11:02pm BST

WHY ENGLAND?

ANGLICAN CHURCH LEADERS HAVE LOST THE TRUST OF KENYANS

Out of touch Anglican Church in Kenya Archbishop Eliud Wabukala recently was elected as Gafcon schismatics chairman which is odd considering the failed leadership/following he shepherds in Kenya:

¨The actions and omissions of the Church leadership over the past five years point to a deepening crisis. The church seems unable to find the voice of the populi, which should concern the hierarchies of the Pentecostal, Anglican and Catholic denominations.¨

http://leonardoricardosanto.blogspot.com/2011/06/attn-kenyan-archbishop-wabukala-church.html

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 at 11:45pm BST

For those who have asked... because I wasn't very clear. I do think that these people are being successful in marketing their programs to young people. For that I give them credit. I am unclear as to 1. whether the relationship to +Cantuar is important to these churches 2. If, it is important to their members, how "impaired" communion with their diocesan is being portrayed to their members and recruits and how that fits in with a relationship to the CofE. That is my reference to honesty. Regarding their African friends...having read the CAPA Road to Lambeth document so long ago, (admittedly co-authored by Stephen Noll)it was clear to me that "Communion" was not a function of Canterbury. So is AMiE/Co-Mission a church within a church, with its own independent order? The Network/Pittsburgh tried to operate in this way and, as late as 2005, if the attorneys for Pittsburgh are to be believed, it had no intention of leaving TEC. But, given the "Secret Memo" to the Global South Steering Committee, that had clearly changed by 2007, even if it hadn't shared the news with TEC. Given this latest response from AMiE, what exactly is it telling us about where it is on what looks like a familiar trajectory and is it being honest with its members, and Lambeth and "the communion" about that?

Posted by: EmilyH on Thursday, 7 July 2011 at 3:26am BST

On the humanitarian aid... at least one of the churches involved is clear that aid is directed first and foremost to the work of sharing the Gospel, not what we normally think of as humanitarian relief regardless of creed. In this case, it would seem pretty clear that recipients would share this church's hermeneutics.

Posted by: EmilyH on Thursday, 7 July 2011 at 3:35am BST

Although I am among those Episcopalians who find the ABC to be lacking in spine and continually disappointing, I don't think anyone is fooled by what this initiative seeks to accomplish, nor do I think that the statement from Lambeth Palace indicates any sort of naivete in their understanding. I have the impression that they are just being English - that they are in fact expressing quite strong displeasure and disapproval. Am I wrong?

Posted by: Uriel on Thursday, 7 July 2011 at 9:56pm BST

"Nor is there any definition of what the issues are that might be thought to justify appeal to such a panel rather than the use of normal procedures."

I share the puzzlement of Lambeth Palace. I suggest that the following might be the "issues":

1. A vicar whose sermons go on to long.
2. An archdeacon who gives offense by failing to invite the local gentry to tea.
3. An ambitious chaplain who exerts undue influence on the bishop's wife.
4. A shabby curate accused of financial malfeasance.

What other issues could there be?

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 10:48am BST
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