Monday, 8 May 2017

Conservatives consecrate their own bishop in Newcastle

Updated again Tuesday lunchtime

George Conger has reported at Anglican Ink that a Church of England clergyman has been consecrated a bishop by persons as yet unamed, acting on behalf of the “Church of England in South Africa”, a body whose website says that the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) is now the “official operating name” of CESA.

George’s report: Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond and is copied in full below the fold.

The clergyman is Jonathan Pryke of Jesmond Parish Church. His Crockford entry reads:

Curate, Jesmond (Clayton Memorial Church)

Born: 1959

Ordained Deacon: 1985
Ordained Priest: 1986

Education
Trinity College Cambridge BA 1980
Trinity College Cambridge MA 1985

Ordination Training
Trinity College Bristol BD 1985

Ministry
Curate, CORBY (St Columba and the Northern Saints) Peterborough 1985-1988
Curate, JESMOND (Clayton Memorial Church) Newcastle from 1988

The Church Times has this report by Tim Wyatt: Jesmond curate’s breakaway consecration surprises both diocese and conservative Evangelicals

THE authorities in Newcastle diocese still seem to be in the dark after an assistant curate of a conservative Evangelical parish church in the diocese was reportedly consecrated bishop through the action of a breakaway Church in South Africa.

The curate, the Revd Jonathan Pryke, has served at Jesmond Parish Church since 1988. He was consecrated by bishops from the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) at a service in Newcastle earlier this month, several sources told the Church Times.

But a spokesman for the diocese simply said today: “The Bishop of Newcastle is aware of reports concerning this matter and is seeking clarification.”

The Church Times has repeatedly attempted to contact both Bishop Pryke and his Vicar, the Revd David Holloway, but neither has responded…

This AMiE Statement in response to the consecration of Jonathan Pryke has also been published:

The AMiE Executive Committee recently requested that the GAFCON Primates support the consecration of a Missionary Bishop. We were overjoyed when they agreed to do this for the sake of gospel growth.

We can confirm that the consecration of the Revd Jonathan Pryke was a gospel decision taken independently of AMiE. His consecration was never discussed at our Executive meetings.

Jonathan is a valued member of the AMiE Exec and we are thankful to God for his abundant gifts and wisdom. We will be praying for him in this new season of his ministry.

This statement has been issued by GAFCON UK: Statement on the consecration at Jesmond Parish Church

8th May 2017

Gafcon UK are aware that Jesmond Parish Church have for some years been in a form of impaired communion with the Bishop of Newcastle, and have developed a special relationship with REACH-SA (formerly CESA).

Over the past few years, several clergy have been ordained by REACH Bishops to serve in the Jesmond church network and in one other part of England.

The leadership of Jesmond church have for some time been speaking publicly about the need for new missionary Bishops in Western nations who can oversee new Anglican ministries in the Celtic model. The reasoning can be found in the statement from the 2017 Jesmond Conference, here.

Gafcon UK have been informed of the latest developments but cannot comment further at this stage.

Text of Anglican Ink original article:
Missionary bishop for Britain consecrated at Jesmond
A missionary bishop has been consecrated for evangelical Anglicans seeking a reformation for the reformed catholic faith in England. Participants in the 2 May 2017 consecration of the Rev. Jonathan Pryke at Jesmond Parish Church in the Diocese of Newcastle by bishops of the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) hope their ceremony will see a renewal and rebirth of the faith in England.

However, critics within the conservative movement warn this may be the start of the fracturing of the traditionalist coalition in the Church of England, with each faction opposed to the recent innovations of doctrine and discipline forging their own way forward.

Sources close to the participants in the ceremony state the decision to consecrate Bishop Pryke (pictured) was taken against the counsel of GAFCON-UK. At their meeting in Lagos last month, the GAFCON primates called for the consecration of a bishop to support members of the Scottish Episcopal Church who could not continue in that denomination should it enact legislation permitting same-sex marriage this summer, and for Anglicans alienated from their bishops in England over doctrine and discipline.

However the Jesmond consecration was not what GAFCON had in mind, its general secretary Archbishop Peter Jensen told Anglican Ink. “This is not exactly parallel to the GAFCON initiative, and indeed is entirely independent of it. But it does show, I think, that the situation in England is becoming very difficult for those who want to hold the traditional and biblical view,” he said.

Details of the Tuesday consecration have not been made public, and it is not known at this time the names of the bishops who participated in the ceremony and what Bishop Pryke’s brief will be. A request for comments directed to the Rev. David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond, the Church of England’s national press office, and the Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt. Rev. Rod Thomas, have not yet been answered.

However, a paper released at the close of the 27-28 Feb 2017 Jesmond Conference explains the thinking behind the consecration, AI has learned.

The Jesmond Statement argued the identity of the Church of England was not in its buildings, synods, or clergy. The identity of the Church was:

“[G]iven in the judgment of an Employment Tribunal in 2011 when a disaffected clergyman was taking his Bishop and Diocese to Court. The judge, however, ruled: “The Church of England has no legal personality … the title ‘Church of England’ denotes an amalgam of what sometimes seemed an infinite number of bodies with no precise or clear picture … of how the various jigsaw parts interact … the ultimate authority to restructure lies with the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, subject to the Westminster Parliament” (so the Synod is an ultimate body for restructuring but not for revising doctrine or ethics). And this judgment, after a reversing appeal by the clergyman, was upheld after a diocesan final appeal by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
That judgment helps us define the ultimate identity of the Church of England, which is not in its structure, nor even in its ordained ministers. For as the doctrine of the Church determines the authority of the bishops and clergy, we have to go to The Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974 for the defining doctrine of the Church of England. It is there in these words: “The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal.”
Those also are the words of Canon A5. And it is those words that give you the Christian faith according to the Catholic Western English Reformed tradition. And that is the established faith of this nation and defines the Church of England doctrinally. We consider that that faith needs to be recovered by a new Reformation.

The bishops of the Church of England had failed in their mandate to safeguard and promote the faith. The statement noted: “because the bishops have for so long accepted the defiance of the Church’s teaching and rendered the Church pluralistic, they no longer see their function as leading the Church towards its identifying and agreed agenda,” as set down in its canons.

The leadership of the Church of England’s bishops “has been reduced not to leading the Church to what the Church universal judges to be its common good, but to the desire for ‘good disagreement’. And that, theologically, is between good and evil goals and objectives, with the aim being for the proponents of those divergent goals and objectives ‘to walk together’. That, of course, may be possible in the world, but quite forbidden in the Church,” the statement said.

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Comments

Thus the ConEvo schism in England begins...

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 6:44pm BST

Meh, now the broad church is dead, for the best that the various Anglican factions go their own way, and go quickly. Sooner that happens, sooner equality can come to whatever remains.

Good luck to the con-evos: they're gonna need it.

Posted by: James Byron on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 6:53pm BST

'the recent innovations of doctrine and discipline ' ??? As far as I know the doctrine of the C of E has not changed (and the bishops would not be competent to make that change anyway); and if by discipline they are referring to LGBTI issues, innovation is exactly what the church decided against.

Posted by: David Emmott on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 7:15pm BST

The CofE has never really been held together by doctrine, at least not since the Oxford Movement of 1833 onwards. Nor, since women were ordained, is it united by its bishops.

I think it is mostly held together by the monarch, the Church Commissioners (and its pension fund), and the geography of non-overlapping parishes.

Therefore fundamental divisions of belief and claims to supra-territorial jurisdiction will make no substantive difference. Life is lived on a diet of fudge and unfounded optimism.

Posted by: Paul Bagshaw on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 7:15pm BST

It is worth re-reading Michael Hampson's 'Last Rites: the death of the Church of England'. His analysis of where we are, though written some time ago, is to me more considered than the recent Woodhead/Brown effort, entertaining though that is. In particular his reported conversation with Rowan Williams about not just a resolution C network, but also networks based on other features of church life, is prescient. The Greater Churches network is such a manifestation - what might that grow into? This news, however, merely displays hubris and arrogance. I wonder what Rod Thomas thinks. As an aside, I am glad there is a Reform church not far away: I get their rejects.

Posted by: Stanley Monkhouse, aka Fr William on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 7:43pm BST

This really is best ignored as it will have no impact on anything that matters. Two people will however have to consider it, the Bishop of Newcastle and the Bishop of Maidstone. Church lawyers will need to remind all of the position under canon law and ensure that Mr Pryke is held to account for whatever his new found ministry involves, to the extent it tries to involve CofE parishes and impacts his canonical obedience, and the Bishop of Maidstone will have to work out what this competitive development means for his ministry. Probably nothing at all. Interesting that this consecration (whatever form it took and whoever did it) seems to have been against the counsel of GAFCON UK. I have been very rude about them in the recent past but if they have stood up to this nonsense, good for them.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 8:14pm BST

This is the same schismatic faction that stood idly by during apartheid, right?

Posted by: Jo on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 8:50pm BST

I liked the Hampson book, too.

What will obviously happen is a splintering of the consevo grouping. None of them actually wants to be under the authority of any other.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 8:58pm BST

Gospel bishop for gospel growth! Must refer to one of the gospels that didn't get into the Bible. Does anybody really think the Christian Church would ever have got started if it had been about this?

Posted by: Jonathan Clatworthy on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 9:11pm BST

Anthony Archer, I suspect that GAFCON UK is not disapproving because they think it's "nonsense" (to use your word). The problem, from the GAFCON point of view, may be that it's not _their_ "nonsense."

Jo may have it right. I quote the following from a 17 Nov 1997 South African Press Association account of a 3-day Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing:

The evangelical Church of England said it allowed itself to be misled by the former National Party government into accepting a cruel and oppressive system.

Bishop Frank Retief said the government used the Bible to support its policies and to give the impression it was a Christian government.

"Many members of the Church of England in South Africa generally and honestly believed the government's propaganda about the communist threat," Retief said.

"Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that we allowed ourselves to be misled into accepting a social, economic and political system that was cruel and oppressive."

--end quote--

Political leaders "us[ed] the Bible" to delude parishioners of that church, who "allow[ed] [them]selves to be misled into accepting a...system that was cruel and oppressive"?

Hmm.

Once might be a bug. Twice begins to look like a feature.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 10:07pm BST

This rather bears out Peter Herriot's analysis in his book "Warfare and Waves." I wonder what Bishop Pryke will actually do for a day job? presumably carry on as a curate? Even more I wonder, what implications this has for the whole Bishop of Maidstone project? Bishop Rod is a colleague, albeit one I disagree with on various things, but it seems to me now there is danger of the whole Conservative windscreen shattering...

Posted by: Alan Wilson on Monday, 8 May 2017 at 11:09pm BST

The 'Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) also known as the 'Church of England in South Africa', CESA, is not part of the Anglican communion.This is not schism then is it? Mr Pryke has joined another church, as a Bishop. The mystery is why he did this in total secrecy from those we would presume to be his closest allies in the Reformed Anglican Gospel cause - GAFCON UK and AMiE (where he was actually on the executive committee). He has publicly embarrassed them and fractured the conservative consensus days after it had set up its mission stall on the lawn in front of Church House. I am sure he is facing some sharp questions somewhere behind closed doors.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 8:17am BST

I suppose we might soon have a supplement to Peter Ansons entertaining "Bishops at Large"...."Cons Evo Bishops at Large"??

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 8:40am BST

As an Evangelical myself, I quite understand the Jesmond situation. They now have three churches of considerable size and there are no other orthodox churches in the Newcastle diocese. They need a bishop.
But should they not have consulted widely and involved an international group of consecrating bishops before doing this?
We have got to stop this silly Evangelical habit of everyone doing their own thing and start behaving like responsible adults.
Rector David Holloway has long been known for his wise Anglican voice. What has happened to him?

Posted by: mike keulemans on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 8:43am BST

More seriously..I think there are a number of CESA ordained presbyters working as vicars and curates in the C of E.We had one in the Edmonton Area when I was DDO. Apparently +Coggan allowed them to come in under the Overseas Clergy Act in the seventies...not sure what CPSA thought of that.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 8:45am BST

Having been parish priest for nearly 16 years in a parish very close to Jesmond Parish Church I find myself more and more concerned as to where this will end. Although not remotely of JPC's theological "flavour" I am happy to recognise that they attract a great many, especially students and young families to faith. Because of their income (of which more in a moment) they are able to put large resources into this work. And for that, to a point, Alleluia! But ... there are many buts. First, talking to some of those who attend the well done children's work at JPC it is quiet obvious that most people are completely ignorant of JPC's standpoints vis a vis the rest of the Diocese and the wider Anglican Communion. The consequence of this is that any form of critique is met with blank incomprehension. When I served for several years as Area Dean it was truly saddening to discover that in a year long Deanery Mission JPC simply refused to engage in any significant way. Also as former Area Dean I found and find it a real cause for concern that a church which undoubtedly raises large sums of money refuses to make its proper contribution to Parish Share. JPC claims to "cost neutral" to the Diocese - but this is based on its own declared figures and surely seems questionable. In a less tangible way JPC's looming presence in the middle of the Deanery somehow casts a dark shadow over all we do - there is always a sense that we are not together. Although hard to capture in words I can but say that JPC's presence has, on balance, been terribly destructive to the life of the Deanery and Diocese as a whole. I can only assume (though open to correction) that Jonathan Pryke (whom, in all this time, I have never knowingly met! so separate are the lives lived within JPC) is technically an "episcopus vagans"- a position which I thought was condemned by early councils of the church?

Posted by: Philip Cunningham on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 9:12am BST

Not another 'Flying Bishop'! This time, consecrated to serve as a fake Anglican bishop under the very noses of the hierarchy of the Church of England. When will the Primates of the C. of E. actually get down to challenging this GAFCON-style invasion of its own eccelesial jurisdiction.

The new 'rara avis' has appeared from out of nowhere (for nowhere; read Jesmond Parish Church which has no status in the Church of England) - out of the great blue yonder - territory tenanted by the Gafcon Primates; a schismatic African 'Anglican Church', ACNA, and now AMiE.

What do the members of the Church of England feel about all of this nonsense? Or is there 'no-one at home' there?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 10:11am BST

Alan raises an interesting point. Can you have a C of E day job, while moonlighting as a bishop for another church with which we are not in communion? But then JPC has an enormous staff it pays for itself and is rather semi-detatched from the diocese, so perhaps the question is academic. But I'd love an academic answer.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 10:11am BST

See press release from Jesmond Parish Church:

http://bit.ly/NewStyleEnglishBishop

Posted by: Jesmond Parish Church on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 11:55am BST

I'm curious about the use of this word "orthodox".I've heard of Nicene orthodoxy, I've heard of the Eastern Orthodox churches....but are the other 176 parishes in the diocese of Newcastle ALL "unorthodox"?? By what criterion?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 1:22pm BST

Arrogant, aloof, self-righteous, self-satisfied, and stingy. Who would want such a congregation such as Jesmond Parish in one’s Deanery anyway, Fr. Philip?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 2:10pm BST

They are not Jesmond.

Posted by: John Roch on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 2:15pm BST

"I quite understand the Jesmond situation. They now have three churches of considerable size and there are no other orthodox churches in the Newcastle diocese. They need a bishop."

No other "orthodox" parishes in the 176 other churches in the diocese?

And, since when have three churches needed their own bishop?

Posted by: Rev. Iain Baxter on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 3:32pm BST

I suppose it's only natural to get shot to bits when you put your head above the parapet!

Jesmond is not the only Conservative Evangelical parish in the Newcastle diocese, but there are certainly no more than four others - none of them in Northumberland. HardLy a fair do is it?

A bishop for only three churches? Why not, when their combined congregations surpass the totals of that in many deaneries.


As for the current model of diocesan episcopacy in the CofE, it is neither historically correct nor pastorally beneficial.

Posted by: mike keulemans on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 4:57pm BST

Ugh. Honestly, I can't believe the evangelical hubris that claims 'there are no other orthodox churches in Newcastle diocese'. It reminds me of the old saying, "There's none sane but me and thee, and I'm not sure about thee".

And since when do evangelicals need a bishop who agrees with them? The strongest days of the evangelical movement were set in the context of opposition from the establishment. Once in the early 19th century when a certain aristocratic lady was staying with the Bishop of London and wanted to go on to visit John Venn, the (evangelical) vicar of Clapham, the Bishop agreed to lend her his carriage provided that it did not set her down directly in front of that evangelical vicarage!

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 5:35pm BST

One wonders if the point of this is to anticipate an imminent GAFCON consecration; get alongside; then find a third.

So future consecrations will transpire from this and be widely alternative and representative...

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 6:44pm BST

Personally, Mike, having given up any hope that a broad church can be maintained, I don't have a problem with it. If con-evos want their own bishop, why not? If they're off doing their own thing, they won't be trying to impose their concept of orthodoxy on everyone else. So, in all sincerity, good luck to you. Hope it works out.

Just hope liberal congregations now follow the same path, consecrate liberal bishops, and start welcoming and marrying lesbian and gay couples. Sauce for the goose ...

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 7:22pm BST

I disagree with the headline to this article. This is not the act of a "conservative" group.

Posted by: Peter S on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 8:53pm BST

If you read the Coekin appeal - that he won after +Tom (tried to) summarily take away his license when his curates were ordained by an overseas Bishop - you will see that overseas Bishops doing this without CofE clergy's knowledge avoids various legal and canonical pitfalls.

It is also worth reflecting on those churches continued growth: https://co-mission.org/about/ and on their faithfulness to the faith as we received it. It makes you wonder who the real rebels are in God's eyes?

Posted by: RevDave on Tuesday, 9 May 2017 at 11:22pm BST

Pace Mike Keulemans, I fail to see how a church can be both "orthodox" (holding to the faith delivered to the apostles) and "conservative evangelical" (holding to an interpretation of the faith not dreamed up until a few centuries ago).

Posted by: Geoff M. on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 2:22am BST

I don't think it's fair to say that there are only three orthodox parishes in Newcastle.

A quick Google search reveals that there are at least two Greek Orthodox parishes in Newcastle, along with two Russian ones and both Coptic and Indian communities

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 2:55am BST

Thanks Tim for pointing out your cautionary tale from the 18th century and thanks James for your honest admission that all schools of thought within the Church should have space to be themselves.
I apologise to David Holloway for taking him to task over this consecration. Now that I have read his statement, it seems quite right geographically, historically and theologically to consider Jonathan Pryke a missionary bishop in the Celtic sense of the word. A sensible response to our fluid and mobile society.

Posted by: mike keulemans on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 10:23am BST

The Church of England in South Africa (still the legal name of REACH) did not break away. It refused to join the Church of the province Bishop Gray started which was Anglo Catholic and ritualist. So how can you be accused of breaking away from a denomination you were never part of? It is very liberal on divorce and re-marriage (read Bishop Retief's book on that) which is ironic as David Holloway is staunchly against that. He turns a blind eye to that attack on marriage.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 7:33pm BST

"Now that I have read his statement, it seems quite right geographically, historically and theologically to consider Jonathan Pryke a missionary bishop in the Celtic sense of the word. A sensible response to our fluid and mobile society." Mike Keulemans

Mike, I also found Holloway's statement very interesting, and, on the face of it, almost convincing. I had never seen the story of the Celtic missionaries of Northern England in quite that light, and I guess that, writing from a base in Northumbria, it is reasonable for him to take that sort of interpretation.

But the problem with his thesis, and with your support of it, is the Synod of Whitby. Already in the 7th Century, it was clear that the Minster-based Celtic system and the diocesan-based "Roman" system could not co-exist. And whatever the processes of that gathering, and whatever the motivations of its key players (isn't it a pity that we really only have Bede's account to draw on?) it is a fact that the Synod did arrive at a clear decision. The "Roman" system would prevail.

+Christine Hardman is the inheritor of that decision. She is the Bishop of the area that includes Jesmond. It isn't good enough for Holloway to argue: "Well if we followed the Celtic saints, consecrating Jonathan Pryke is a perfectly reasonable decision." He doesn't live and work under that system. Or putting it differently, if Holloway, Pryke and their followers really want to work under a Celtic Minster system, then they should withdraw from the diocesan system to which they currently owe canonical obedience.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 3:21am BST

The Church of England in South Africa did not exist in the days of Archbishop Gray. Bishop John Colenso (a great liberal missionary bishop and scholar) was the lawful Bishop of the Church of England in Natal. For a time, there was a rival "Bishop of Maritzburg", Bishop Macrorie in PMB appointed by the Church of the Province. That schism has LONG SINCE ended. In Pietermaritzburg, the new Cathedral of the Nativity (next to the small S.Peter's Cathedral where Bishop Colenso lies buried) honours BOTH bishops in the names given to the two cathedral halls. There is only the very slightest connection, if that, between Bishop Colenso's congregations - I think only through some Zulu churches - and the 20th century "Church of England in South Africa", the views of which are far removed from those of Bishop Colenso. My own Diocese has long had links with the CESA, and a bishop of that Church was consecrated in S.Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney in the presence of a representative bishop from the Church of the Province. Hopes of closer fellowship have hardly been realised. However, although a liberal (culturally conservative) Anglican priest - of Sydney Diocese, I see no problem in there being a wider, looser fellowship of Anglican churches including churches not invited to Lambeth, for example, the Anglican Church in North America, and the Reformed Episcopal Church now affiliated with it. The Church of Australia is constitutionally in communion only with "the Church of England" but informally and to varying degree in communion with other Churches of the Anglican Communion. (Sydney would see itself in communion with the ACNA, not the US Episcopal Church.) There is much to admire in the latter which I have seen on many visits over the years (though not the great intolerance of some its "liberal" members) but, with my great love of Morning Prayer, I could happily worship also in the Reformed Episcopal Church except where it surprisingly lately has become rather ritualistic! Neither that Church nor any of the other US independent Anglican churches have any resemblance to the bare, un-Anglican puritanism and un-Anglican order with regard to ordained ministry that for the time being dominates in Sydney ! But the Christian Church and our Episcopal churches have never been neat and tidy, and the important thing is still trying to be Christians and by God's grace, as I often need to be reminded, seeking the unity of the SPIRIT in the bond of peace.

Posted by: John Bunyan on Monday, 15 May 2017 at 7:25am BST

As soon as I see the words, "orthodox" or "mainstream" used in connection with the word, "Anglican," I begin to suspect that all three terms have been misappropriated.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Friday, 19 May 2017 at 12:31am BST
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