Comments: Reform on Southwark ordinations

Dear Simon, I have no idea how large Reform and the Church Society are..... though I can think of a couple of well-known Reform churches. Do you, or anyone here, have figures on their membership (churches, personal members) ?

Posted by Dave at Friday, 11 November 2005 at 6:09pm GMT

OK I found a list of 20+ churches on the Reform website, including that of Rev Raven, here:

They claim to have grown to 150 regular members since setting up in 2002. (I think I read somewhere that the electoral roll of the team ministry left behind was about 125 in 2002).

Maybe +Worcester did him a favour..

[Simon adds: the list is here
though I am not sure this is a complete list as some may not have websites :-( ]

Posted by Dave at Friday, 11 November 2005 at 6:17pm GMT

I read somewhere - sorry can't remember where - that there are 600 active vicars (not including curates and other parish workers) in Reform.
If you have the time I suggest you look at at the petition. If you take the names of the vicars and parish names and put them in your search engine you will find their websites and website links.
You can spend days following links. Also if you look at staffing news it's interesting how Reform vicars and curates and workers transfer between Reform churches. I think this may have been part of the issue in Southwark. Once a church is in Reform I think it stays in Reform. When a Reform vicar moves on there is always another to step in his place.

Other searches of links will take you to Oak Hill College , The Proclamation Trust; The Latimer Trust; 9:38; Moore Theological College Australia; Christ Church Fulwood Sheffield: Jesmond Parish Church; Cornhill Training College; John Piper usa, Diocese of Sydney Australia/Matthias Media/The Goodbook Company - the uk imprint; All Souls Langham Place; ; London/northern men's/women's conventions and on and on and on.

You can literally spend days tracking these links.

Now I realise that all Christians of similar persuasions tend to stick togother but these links can be followed from parish websites. You will find far more than those listed above. They are well organised, they know who each other and they are in your diocese now.

Please everybody don't insinuate I'm paranoid because I can provide this info. I'm just concerned that we have a denomination within a denomination.

Posted by Ruth at Friday, 11 November 2005 at 7:14pm GMT

Worth bringing in the historical perspective perhaps --- ably chronicled in Grayson Carter; Anglican Evangelicals:Protestant secessions from the Via Media c1800-1850 (OUP 2001)

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 11 November 2005 at 8:56pm GMT

Dear Ruth, you mentioned a couple of the largest CofE churches there (JPC, ASLP), and I'm pretty sure that the St Helen's Bishopgate group of churches is in Reform too. I suppose that any of the groups within the CofE could be called a church within a church, depending on how you define the concept (except Affirming Catholics which seems to be more a club for folk in the heirarchy). I suppose the question is at what point that goes too far ? FiF are very much a church within a church as they have their own church law and flying bishops.

Personally I think that we would be better off recognising that much *authority* in the CofE nowadays is expressed through networks and grouping, and redefining the episcopal *power* along those lines. (part of what the Sandy Millar experiment is about ?) More realistic than the existing *geographical* Bishops and dioceses trying to impose themselves - (one background motivation, I think, of several proposed disciplinary and church property measures over the last few years - mostly rejected by General Synod). I think that most diocesans would be terrible at being authoritarian ! They should look more closely to see whether God is doing something new in the church.

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 11:45am GMT

How can this be "principled"?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 1:52pm GMT

Dave Walker provides a unique perspective on the recent Reform conference:

Posted by Jake at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 8:30pm GMT

I have no time for FiF, but in the interest of accuracy one ought to point out that they do not have their own bishops - the Flying Bishops are suffragan bishops to the two archbishops - consecrated by the archbishops - and they do not have their own church law. They remain part of the Church of England's church law, for now at any rate.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 8:41pm GMT

That may make sense, Dave, in terms of holding everything together - then there could be a section of the church which affirmed gay and lesbian people and was openly liberal in theology. Might even be worth being part of!

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 9:36pm GMT


Thanks for your comment. I think that you are right in that "authority" is now expressed through networks and groupings etc. I have heard others express this too. Maybe the future lies in developing these group structures each with a flying bishop.

I also think that people who have been hurt by watching their church change groupings (for whatever reason), people such as me, are in need of everyone's prayers.
My case was my church moving from from MOTR evangelical to Reform with the arrival of a new incumbent.

When I rang my diocese to ask if there was another MOTR Evangelical locally the staff couldn't give me any info. - maybe I spoke to the wrong staff.

I decided to leave my church rather than stay and be a source of contention with that fellowship, afterall they are still my brothers and sisters. I have now via the internet tracked one down so I am fellowshipping again.

I know I must forgive BUT there are times when I don't feel able to do so. I know that I must be before the Lord on this matter and that I need to make the choice to forgive.

Perhaps if anglican churches/parishes/ministers were clear on what grouping they adhered to this would help people to find a congregation they could call home. In this age of websites that shouldn't be difficult.


Posted by Ruth at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 9:57pm GMT

Alan Marsh wrote, "I have no time for FiF, but in the interest of accuracy one ought to point out that they do not have their own bishops - the Flying Bishops are suffragan bishops to the two archbishops ..."

Alan, that's not the way FiF sees it. As far as they are concerned the Bishop of Fulham and the "PEVs" minister to the "FiF integrity", by which I understand is meant all parishes who have "petitioned under the Act of Synod", whether or not formally members of FiF. All the "PEVs" fall within this group, and I supppose they are members of FiF. The Bishop of Fulham is its president. Listening to his presidential address to the recent conference I was left with the distinct impression that he regards himself as ministering exclusively to the "FiF integrity", and his collegues likewise.

Posted by Rodney at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 3:44am GMT


I also think you make a very good point. I don't know how it is in CofE, but in the U.S. location is only marginally important in terms of what local church one goes to. Many (if not most) people of faith, whether Anglican or not, will commute to the other side of town to get to a church they want to attend, bypassing other churches of their denomination that are much closer--i.e., we already align ourselves along lines that have very little to do with geography. Now the questions are--how does one make a system of this type work, and how does one have it accepted by the existing power structure?


Posted by steven at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 4:18am GMT

No dear Ruth,

this is about power. Secret cabals.

Such are not spelled out.

Especially not to those affected.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 9:32am GMT

Anyone seen Jeremy Pemberton's posting on Fulcrum's forum thread "Irregular Ordinations" ?

or call up and use the onsite navigation buttons

Posted by Ruth at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 10:43am GMT

Jeremy Pemberton's piece is on the spot.

Either this is a new German Reformation by Reform or schism.

Your choice.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 2:36pm GMT

I have been an Anglican for a very long time but I am completely baffled by the term, "MOTR Evangelical". I guess the diocesan office concerned was equally baffled when taking the call.

When it reaches the stage of acronym-upmanship then we are all lost. The chances of finding exactly the right Vicar are reduced to getting back the one who has just gone!

I know an Evangelical incumbent who rides a MOTR-bike, but I somehow don't think that is what is meant...

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 4:59pm GMT

Middle of the Road.
I'm not surprised it's a term you don't recognise :-)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 5:04pm GMT

Dear Alan
MOTR = Middle Of The Road - which you knew really, yeah haha.
My diocese does not know what "Open" Evangelical means!!
It took about 10 minutes to explain "Open" to them but when I succumbed to acronyms they seemed to be able to grasp MOTR. Perhaps they are Radio 2 listeners, which I also understand to be the preferred listening of many a Reformed evangelical.

Dear Goran,


You speak truth

Most who are affected have had nothing spelled out to them.

Posted by Ruth at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 6:20pm GMT

I really find it hard to believe that any English diocesan office is not familiar with the term "open evangelical". There are probably more parishes in the CofE that qualify under this label than any other. An odd deanery indeed that didn't have one.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 6:31pm GMT

I have never listened to Radio 2. Only Classic FM these days. I suppose that qualifies me firmly as an OF :-)

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 11:02pm GMT


Sorry but it is true. I couldn't believe it as it was happening. the person I spoke to was a layperson who has been on the staff for a long time. I even heard them turn around to ask a colleague - who had no idea either. Eventually after they rolled off the names of Reform parishes - which incidently they didn't know about either - they finally suggested a local evangelical free church, "which is quite nice".

I must live in an odd deanery.

However to be fair to them I was an open evangelical without realising it for over decade. I innocently believed that I was simply evangelical, ah the bliss of it all. It wasn't my until my equally innocent PCC chose a an Oakhill/Reform vicar that I realised these issues even existed.

PS Is there a a possibility of developing a study on Radio listening habits of different Christians. I listen to Radio 4.

Posted by Ruth at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 11:03am GMT

I am happy simply to be known as "Anglican". I don't see the need for precision acronymics.

My Vicar, incidentally, tells me that the middle of the road is not a safe place to drive. But I knew that, anyhow.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 2:45pm GMT

Goran - I don't sense a new German Reformation by Reform. Rather, it should be matter of great saddness that two men accepted for the ministry by the CoE were not then ordained into the CoE.

A new domination has not been formed so I don't see anything schismatic - simply a transfer of Christians from one denomination to another.

On the issue of Reform parishes, a distinction needs to be made between theose parishes which have a minister who is a member of Reform and those parishes whose PCCs sign up the church to Reform.

Relatively few PCCs sign up to Reform, but in a Conservative Evangelical Church it would not be uncommon for there to be 10-20 members who were members of Reform.

As an insider I would estimate about 10% of CoE ministers were either members of Reform or sympathetic to its aim, which is to win the nation for Christ.

Posted by Martinluther at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 1:35pm GMT

They have not been accepted.

The Church of England in South Africa is schismatic since 1870.

Has anyone asked the CESA bishop why he did this?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 2:40am GMT

Rodney wrote:
"All the "PEVs" fall within this group, and I supppose they are members of FiF. The Bishop of Fulham is its president. Listening to his presidential address to the recent conference I was left with the distinct impression that he regards himself as ministering exclusively to the "FiF integrity", and his collegues likewise."

I rather doubt that the Bishop of Fulham and his colleagues see their ministry in this way. (By the way, technically and legally the Bishop of Fulham is not a PEV, although he functions in much the same way for practical purposes.)

The precise way in which PEVs function varies from diocese to diocese, and depends very much on the goodwill (or lack thereof) of the diocesan bishop. A diocesan bishop may appoint a PEV as an assistant bishop, and there are certainly examples of such prelates carrying out episcopal functions, with the permission of the diocesan, in parishes which had not passed the so-called "Motion C". (I have in mind an evangelical parish in the Diocese of Lichfield where the first Bishop of Ebbsfleet ordained the curate on behalf of the diocesan, instead of the suffragan whom the minister regarded as dodgy.)

There are also cases of priests who are "servants of two masters", serving parishes under +Fulham or a PEV and under a diocesan/area bishop. (e.g. The Rector of Hayes, Middlesex, a "Fulham" parish, is also P-in-C of the neighboring parish of S. Anselm's, a "Willesden" parish. In the Diocese of Birmingham, the PP of the "Ebbsfleet" parishes of S. Agatha, Sparkbrook, and S. Barnabas, Balsall Heath, is now also PP of S. Alban's, where opinion was too divided to pass "Motion C").

+Fulham has also claimed to know a woman priest who got on so well with him that she regretted that the PCC couldn't pass "Motion C" without also passing motions A and B. :-)

Posted by Alan Harrison at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 12:02am GMT
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