Saturday, 9 December 2017

Those AMiE ordinations

Updated Monday

David Pocklington has written at great length about this subject, see AMiE ordinations. There is little that can be added to his detailed account and comprehensive links.

The Church Times report has been updated to list the names and locations of those ordained:

The newly ordained priest was the Revd Peter Jackson, a pastor at Christ Church, in Walkley, an AMiE church plant in north-west Sheffield.

Those ordained deacon were Kenny Larsen, the associate pastor in Walkley; Jon Cawsey and Mat­thew Thompson, who together lead Christ Church, Stockport; Alistair Harper, from Grace Church, Bude (which has no website); Christopher Houghton, from Christ Church Central, in Sheffield; Martin Soole and Christopher Young, who are senior minister and student worker respectively at Trinity Church, Lancaster; and Robert Tearle, assistant minister at Trinity Church, Scarborough.

Christ Church Walkley includes among its trustees a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, Ms Jane Patterson. She is also listed for Christ Church Central.

The Christian Today report of the ordinations notes that:

…A number of senior conservative Church of England figures played prominent roles in the service.

The move will be seen as provocative as it sets up Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as a rival Anglican Church to the Church of England.

Canon Andy Lines was appointed GAFCON’s ‘missionary bishop’ within minutes of the Scottish Episcopal Church allowing gay marriage in church.

Several retired bishops attended the ceremony at East London Tabernacle Baptist Church and a number of active CofE clergy were also present. Before the service a CofE spokesman said any clergy who ‘participate actively’ in AMiE’s services would be breaking canon law.

Rev David Banting, a well known evangelical in the Church of England and vicar of St Peter’s Harold Wood in the Diocese of Chelmsford, joined in the laying on of hands of the new ordinands – a key part in the process of ordination.
It is not clear whether this amounted to breaking the Church’s canon laws.

In a move that is likely to increase tensions with Lambeth Palace, two senior conservative Anglican leaders, the Archbishop of Nigeria and the Archbishop of Uganda, sent a video message welcoming the move. Both figures boycotted a meeting of global Anglican leaders called by the Archbishop of Canterbury in October over deeply entrenched disagreements on gay marriage.

The laying on of hands is a key part of the Anglican ordination service.
Rev Rico Tice, senior minister at All Souls’ Langham Place, a large evangelical church in central London, preached the sermon.

Jane Patterson, a senior conservative member of the Church of England’s general synod, gave a reading and Susie Leafe, director of the evangelical grouping Reform and a member of the General Synod, said prayers.

Before the service a Church of England spokesman said: ‘It has come to our attention that Bishop Andy Lines, a Bishop in the Anglican Church in North America, will be carrying out some ordinations this week in a denomination calling itself the Anglican Mission in England.
‘For clarity, this group is not part of, nor affiliated with, the Church of England, nor is Bishop Lines’s parent denomination part of the Anglican Communion.
‘Under our canon law, Church of England clergy are unable to participate actively in the group’s services.
‘Our prayers are, of course, with all those seeking to proclaim Christ.’

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 December 2017 at 6:02pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ACNA

Jane Patterson is chair of trustees of both Christ Church Walkley and Christ Church Central. Both have finances in very good shape, with recent income much higher than expenditure.

Posted by: Bernard on Saturday, 9 December 2017 at 11:04pm GMT

re Bernard's comment here: 'Boards of Trustees' for church parishes sounds more like financial business management than propagation of the Gospel.This is a hallmark of Pastor ruled churches on a mega-church business model. Is the the new face of the Church in England?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 5:39am GMT

I gather some of these chaps trained at independent students I hope.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 9:12am GMT

You are reading too much into it, Fr Ron. All English charities, including Parochial Church Councils, are run by trustees, accountable in most cases as a body to the Charity Commission.

Posted by: american piskie on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 9:40am GMT

No, Father R, that's not quite fair. The Parochial Church Councils of many churches are constituted as registered charities, and the term "board of trustees" is a standard part of the ways charities report their activities. For example, St Matthew's Westminster (which you have praised in another blog post) is reported at

The charity commission reporting is interesting because it allows you to see which other charities individuals are involved with, as well as other information. This is all part of the sort of transparency that the Church of England doesn't usually go in for, but if you want the tax benefits that come with being a charity, you have to go in for transparent reporting.

Posted by: Bernard on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 10:41am GMT

No disrespect intended, but is this actually Anglican news?

Posted by: Peter S on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 11:08am GMT

@Fr Ron All PCCs are Trustee bodies with charitable status. Non parochial churches have boards of trustees. It's English charity law. Your hermeneutical suspicion leads you wide of the mark here..

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 11:19am GMT

Bernard: Surely the issue isn't whether or not the finances of CC Walkley or Central are 'in very good shape', the issue is surely that there is a serious conflict of interest for a member of the GS of the C of E to be a Trustee of an AMiE church or churches. According to the website "You have a legal duty to act in your charity’s best interests when making decisions as a trustee. If there’s a decision to be made where a trustee has a personal or other interest, this is a conflict of interest ......

For example, if you’re a trustee, you would have a conflict of interest if the charity is thinking of making a decision that would mean:

your duty to your charity competes with a duty or loyalty you have to another organisation or person"

I repeat, I cannot see how it is possible for a Trustee of an AMiE church(es) not to have a conflict of interest as a member of GS when the C of E is NOT in communion with them.

Perhaps others could please enlighten me on this.

Posted by: Anne on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 11:37am GMT

The Labour Party is hardly an example to hold up for its avoidance of fissiparous dissension, but Jane Patterson would be immediately expelled from the Labour Party in the analogous situation.

The Labour Party is weak on people who are members of "parties within a party"; for example, Militant. But the distinction between entryists and people who are merely members of factions and tendencies is very hard to draw; if a group of people who hold a particular view wish to organise to advance their cause, that is entirely proper, provided their view and the ways they wish to advance it are within the constitution of the party.

But where the Labour Party will drop on people like a tonne of bricks is when they are members of, organisers for or (as would be the analogy in this case) members of the constituency committee for another registered political party. No amount of claiming that your membership of, say, the SWP is OK because the SWP's politics are aligned with Labour or are what Labour should be doing will avail you; you will be expelled, the end.

At it most charitable, AMiE are claiming to be the CofE in exile, a "real" CofE which has not sold out, such that they reject the organisational and administrative structures of the church on the ground in favour of their own conception of what the church should be. Alternatively, they are claiming to be members of a properly constituted Anglican church, members of GAFCON, but not part of the CofE. In either case, they refuse to accept canonical obedience to the Archbishops of the CofE. It's very hard to see how in either case they can simultaneously remain members of precisely the same administrative structures they reject, and Jane Patterson's membership of the General Synod should be suspended.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 12:11pm GMT

Ms Patterson who took part in the ordination service of a Church which had separated itself from the Church of England is also an elected member of the Crown Nominations Commission. I presume that she will now follow through her recent action by resigning from the Commission and allow a lay member fully in support of the Church of England and its policies to be prayerfully involved in the appointment of future Diocesan Bishops.

Posted by: Malcolm on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 2:24pm GMT

It's hard to write about AMiE without accidentally, but dangerously, using the language of The Troubles. For clarity, words like "Real" and "Continuity", associated with Republicanism, are not used to imply terrorist intent.

It's pretty obvious that the AMiE position is that they are the real CofE, and therefore that although they are organising outside the CofE's structures they are doing so in order to protect the CofE from itself, or some similar argument. Catholicism has made a pretty serious set of rods for its own back by failure to deal with various SSPX-esque factions, most recently appearing in shambles like letters from non-entity theologians saying the pope isn't bigoted enough for them [1], and more generally in failing to deal with Sedevacantists who argue there hasn't been a valid pope since their last favourite pope (I forget which one).

Ultimately, people like this are entryist wreckers. If they want to establish their own church starting from the doctrine of another with some changes, they can do so. In the world of software we talk about forks [2]. But once you leave, you stay left; you don't get to sit on administrative panels of the church you regard as heretical.



Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 9:18pm GMT


I was trying to be purely factual! "In good shape" means, in these cases, if you look at the accounts in question, that they are bringing in really quite large sums of money and in fact they seem to be accumulating rather than spending. I'll leave it to others to speculate as to what it's for.

I agree with you about conflicts of interest. So it's me as well as you that would like to be enlightened...

Posted by: Bernard on Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 10:36pm GMT

Peter S, yes, as Malcolm notes Ms Patterson is someone who chooses Church of England bishops so it’s not just Anglican news, it’s Church of England news.

Posted by: Cassandra on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 1:23am GMT

“Ms Patterson who took part in the ordination service of a Church which had separated itself from the Church of England is also an elected member of the Crown Nominations Commission.”


Or is the rule different if you come from a well-financed parish?

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 3:38am GMT

Yes, it is appalling, Jeremy, and the rule does appear to be different if you are from a numerous and well financed parish, since numbers and finance are now the 'be all and end all', it seems.

Even more appalling is the inaction of the Archbishops over this and similar infractions. Rather as with the case of +Blackburn and the Graham mission in Blackpool (discussed in another thread), this is a case where it is impossible to sit on the fence. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.

And 'BishopPryke' continues to function in Jesmond, laughing in the face of his diocesan bishop, from whom he still apparently holds a licence. How many priests has he improperly ordained, I wonder?

Ms Patterson should certainly be expelled from her senior roles, but is there any mechanism which would enable this to happen?

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 11:12am GMT

The actions and attitudes of AMiE have reminded me of the eminent historian Peter Brown's assessment of the Donatists, theological opponents of St Augustine in the early Church, in his ground breaking biography of Augustine of Hippo:

'[Donatists thought of themselves as a group which existed to preserve and protect an:] alternative to the society around them. They felt their identity to be constantly threatened: first by persecution, later, by compromise. Innocence, ritual purity, meritorious suffering, predominate in their image of themselves. They were unique, “pure”: “the Church of the righteous who are persecuted but do not persecute.”’

(The quotation about persecution is from a Donatist statement of their case made in 411. Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, (Berkeley, 1967), p. 214.)

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 11:16am GMT

Is it worth getting hot under the 'choler' about this? If these developments have Divine approval, they will prosper. If not .... As for what should or should not happen to Ms Patterson, I have no great faith in the mechanisms of the CoE to ensure that justice is done, even if those mechanisms could work out what justice was. When I look at the CoE I wonder if maybe AMIE have a point or two, though I'd feel more at home with the RCs. I simply don't see why we need yet more denominations.

Posted by: Stanley Monkhouse on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 11:41am GMT

The reference to breach of canon law applies to David Banting and any others who laid on hands - which is forbidden quite specifically by Canon B43.5, unless in a church with which the C of E has 'intercommunion'. (and NB although the Church of England recognises ACNA orders as valid, this is not the same - we recognise Roman Catholic orders as perfectly valid, but are definitely not in intercommunion). However, in terms of enforcement, I would say that like the consecration of Bishop Pryke and many other things, this could only be a case for the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved, and it's not going to happen.

Posted by: Neil Patterson on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 5:50pm GMT

Does anyone know the name of the anonymous "Church of England spokesman" referred to in the Christian Today report, and on whose behalf he was speaking?

Posted by: David Lamming on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 6:23pm GMT

Under our canon law, Church of England clergy are unable to participate actively in the group’s services.

Could someone expand on that part of the statement please?

Posted by: Stephen Griffiths on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 6:42pm GMT

And no hi-jacking of Catholic ritual and symbolism.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 8:47pm GMT

All very sad. Why can't we just agree to disagree, and love one another as Our Lord loves us.

Posted by: Christopher Rees on Monday, 11 December 2017 at 10:44pm GMT

There's no leadership intervention so anything goes, no consequences, it seems.

If Church of England clergy can preach at and participate in ordinations that aren't authorised by the Church of England, without intervention or consequences...

...does that mean that other Church of England clergy can preach and participate in the marriages and public blessing of gay and lesbian couples? Or get married themselves?

A Church is being set up, outside the authority of the Archbishops and General Synod. Surely clergy who engage in this should be told they have a choice: submit to the Church of England's authority, or leave the Church of England and start a new Church with new sites and properties (which of course, anyone is entitled to do).

If clergy are allowed to act outside the authority and consent of the Church of England, then why are Pastoral Letters, sanctions etc aimed at gay-blessing or marrying clergy but not these conservative rebels?

Why the difference? Why the inaction by the Archbishops? And should General Synod intervene? Can Church authority be flouted at will? Why not get clergy to decide whether to be in one 'Church' or the other?

As I think I've put it before, if I work for a distribution company and decide to work for an overseas company instead, fair enough... personal choice, personal responsibility. But I can't expect to use the English company's lorries to distribute the foreign company's goods, and I wouldn't expect the English company boss's to say fine, ignore our authority.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 7:10am GMT

Sometimes I weary of dogma, and politics, and theological abstracts, and the rigidity of the human heart. Sometimes my heart sighs 'enough'. And needs a little simplicity. Needs the personhood of faith, the simple friendship and kindness of God, the humanity of Jesus.

Sometimes it's just lovely to reflect upon the loving kindness of Jesus. How good and decent he was (and is, of course). The way he connected to people, the way people were attracted, and moved by his presence and grace. His engagement with women as well as men. His intelligence, but cleverness mingled with gentle goodness. His healing instinct, and the way he could touch people's hearts and change them. His strong and still centre, rooted in daily prayer. His courage. His willingness to go out on a limb. His tenderness. His compassion and tears.

It makes me glad: that God, creator of the heavens and earth, was not so high and mighty and detached, but was willing to come and dwell with us in human form, with a humble, servant heart. To share the dust, the hunger, the thirst, the sorrows, the joys.

And this Jesus: had the amazing courage to go the whole way, out of love for us. Was willing to face mockery, physical injury, loneliness, scorn, and a horrible death... the pouring out of his dear life blood, to the point of no turning back. Loved us that much.

It's lovely to reflect on how Jesus was not only carrying out a tremendous action in history, but was also a friend. A friend who lived alongside people, laughed with them, shared with them, wept with them, ate with them, relaxed with them, in I am sure a sweet and humble-hearted way. A patient way. He could see the way we as people frequently messed up, he could see the failings, and yet he also valued us, believed in us where we could not believe in ourselves. I am amazed about the person of Jesus. And love him for his friendship, courage and kindness.

(Written in frustration at the schism and aggrandisement we can all be guilty of when - really - Jesus must long for us to stop tearing ourselves apart over him)

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 8:18am GMT


It would be incredibly easy, wouldn't it? In this fallen world, it can't happen, apparently. Perhaps, only widespread real suffering will accomplish it.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 9:26am GMT

Susannah, thank you so much for bringing us back to the heart of the gospel.

Posted by: Anne Lee on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 10:08am GMT

Susannah raises a fair point.

Will there be any consequences for these CofE clergy and highly placed laity?

Or are consequences imposed only in cases of uncanonical marriages, as opposed to uncanonical ordinations?

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!"

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 at 1:27pm GMT

Why do these people feel a call to plant churches in Lancaster, Sheffield and Scarborough where there are already thriving Evangelical churches and evangelical Anglican churches, to boot? It’s the same as the Salisbury scenario that hit the headlines a couple of years ago - that little city is full of evangelical churches of all denominations! Presumably the wrong kind of evangelical?

Posted by: Simon W on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 12:42am GMT

SW--if the US example is useful, conservatives work hard where they know there is a conservative base in place already (TX,SC,CFL).

That isn't the question so much as how the conservative CofE churches in this region regard them. Do they see them as hurting their own witness? Competing for their people? Evangelical co-workers?

Unlike TEC the CofE is the established church. This may lower the potential tension as it represents two very different options. The US is already full of competing denominations.

Posted by: CRS on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 8:55am GMT

I agree with Simon W. In the latest Anglican Unscripted Gavin Ashenden pointed out that there seems to be little Anglican in AiME unless you see Anglicanism simply in Sydney terms.Here in Canterbury we have the City Church,Emmanuel,Barton Free Church,Vinyard, New Life and Victory churches and perhaps others plus a Baptist church ,an evangelical/charismatic URC Church and a well attended C of E charismatic/evangelical Church.AiME can only make headway in some specific places and hardly at all I imagine in the countryside. There is only a certain percentage of the English people who will go for that sort of Christianity. There cant be that many disaffected evangelical Anglicans keen to jump ship and in evangelising the unchurched AiME faces considerable competition.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 9:55am GMT

Just what does the Church of England General Synod propose to do about AMiE-affilated Trust Members pretending to be part of the Church of England anyway - especially if they are claiming that the C. of E. is doctrinally heretical?

What are your diocesan bishops and archbishops doing about Ms Patterson's duplicity? Or is it alright for her to claim membership of both Churches when one is out to destabilise the other?
No wonder GAFCON is gaining ground in the U.K.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 10:17am GMT

Simon, it's easier to open a restaurant in an area with a lot of restaurants than not: there are plenty of people for whom eating in restaurants is a thing, so all you have to do is convince them that your restaurant is slightly more interesting than the places next door. Ditto theatres, coffee shops, whatever. You don't need to build a customer base, you just need to fragment an existing one.

It's hard to think of any reason why it would be different for churches.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 10:30am GMT

And in England it all began in about 2003 with Jesmond and Bishopsgate planting a church in Durham out of the URC church there. They claimed there were no churches working with students in Durham. It is still there, claiming to be Anglican:

Posted by: Charles Read on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 12:20pm GMT

I would politely disagree with the last comments on this and suggest that in my experience (both within the CofE and with free churches) church planting is not and must not be a zero sum game i.e. there are a fixed number of Christians and another church simply takes another share of a fragmented "pizza'. the whole point of church planting is to step out in faith and grow the "pizza" and having been involved in church planting for 20 years it usually does, I believe . (I am excluding here people sent deliberately from the parent church, if there is one). Most people joining a plant outside the "planters" come in my experience from completely non church backgrounds or stopped going to church for a variety of reasons. If its just recycling existing Christians its a complete waste of time. The point about rural (and even more about poorer) areas is a fair one and a number of church planting organisations both Anglican and not are tackling this and aiming to do this. I would also gently point out that church planting is not an "evangelical" pursuit per se anyone of any "tribe" is free to do this. The simple fact is that even if every church in all parts of England was completely full most people would not be in church. Sheffield which was mentioned could double the number of churched and still we would be scratching the surface. Of course one should try to co-operate with all other churches in the area and I have found most churches "on the ground" are pleased to be asked in advance and generally (not always but often) supportive but delays and outright blockages come from within the CofE system which dislikes change and seems to be in the business sadly of managed decline. Where churches are not supportive its because they view church planting as a zero sum game. I would gently argue this may show a lack of faith in Gods ability to grow His church. When e get to heaven we won't care less what domination we met and served the Lord through.

Posted by: Pilgrim on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 12:35pm GMT

AMiE is basically a sheep stealing enterprise. Nothing expecially wrong with that, many churches do it, although most do not make it a matter of policy. Of course it doesn’t advance the Kingdom but does at least make a few comfortable that they are receiving their version of biblically accurate teaching. When I was at school it would have been regarded as a minority sport. The publicity it generates is disproportionate to its influence, as is the recent statement of the PCC of St Helen’s Bishopsgate.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 at 3:05pm GMT

One point. "Rival" Anglican churches have been founded before, such as the Free Church of England that remains as a very small body (allied with the larger US Reformed Episcopal Church which is far from being anything like, for example, my own Sydney Diocese). The Methodist Church when it became a separate body, I suppose, was also a rival". Some of what is written here such as talking of the new group as "basically a sheep stealing enterprise" or putting the title of one of its leaders in inverted commas -"bishop" - is hardly helpful. Let's Keep Calm (that means me too) and Think of ... you know who. Merry Xmas.

Posted by: John Bunyan on Thursday, 14 December 2017 at 11:19am GMT

"In a move that is likely to increase tensions with Lambeth Palace, two senior conservative Anglican leaders, the Archbishop of Nigeria and the Archbishop of Uganda, sent a video message welcoming the move."

If several Archbishops of Canterbury had imposed severe consequences for border-crossing, when TEC was the province whose borders were crossed, we might not now be at this pass.

But as it is, the border-crossing chickens are now coming to London to roost.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at 12:08am GMT

I think that you are missing the point, John Bunyan. The problem is not that rival churches are being set up, but that serving priests and senior officers of the CofE are taking part in the services of the rival church.
In the case of 'BishopPryke', he is purporting to be a bishop in another church whilst still functioning as a curate in a CofE parish.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at 9:51pm GMT
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