There are several stories about the irregular ordinations that took place in South London this week.
Ruth Gledhill in The Times has Church imports bishop to be tough enough on gays
Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph has Evangelicals defy bishop by holding ‘irregular’ ordinations and it gets covered in the Guardian story on Robinson already linked which has a strapline ‘Rogue’ ordinations escalate church crisis.
As background to this, see these statements:
Reform EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IMPORT AFRICAN BISHOP FOR ORDINATION
the co-mission initiative NEWS OF ALTERNATIVE ORDINATION which has a list of signatures of persons supporting this action, including several well-known names, and a link to a press release in Word format. The full text of the latter is reproduced here, below the fold to make it more easily available.
Anglican Church League Sydney The Anglican Church League, Sydney, expresses unqualified support for London ordinations
Text of co-mission press release
EMBARGOED UNTIL 11.30AM THURSDAY 3RD NOVEMBER
EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IMPORT AFRICAN BISHOP FOR ORDINATION
A group of thriving young Anglican churches in South-West London which are part of the Reform network today announced that three of its staff were ordained by a visiting bishop from South Africa at a special service conducted last night in south London. This historic move breaks with church tradition but was supported by a resolution passed by yesterday’s Reform National Conference of evangelical churches.
Rev Richard Coekin, minister of Dundonald Church in Wimbledon, who addressed the Reform conference, said: “We are committed to preaching the love of God in Christ for all. Some Bishops in England think they can re-invent the Christian faith by tearing difficult pages out of the Bible in the name of political correctness and their latest statement on civil partnerships is the last straw.
“Together with many evangelical clergy from across this diocese and the nation we have resorted to this action for the needs of the churches. It also expresses our unity with the many orthodox Bible-believing Anglicans across the world who are outraged at the way things are headed in England. Sadly we are having publicly to distance ourselves from the Bishop of Southwark.”
The churches of the ‘Co-Mission Initiative’ are temporarily facing the reality of ‘impaired communion’ with the Bishop of Southwark after he wrote to Rev Coekin refusing to distance himself from the recent controversial House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement concerning civil partnerships. The Bishop had also previously refused to ordain two of the clergy despite their both being fully trained, eligible for ordination and leading growing Anglican congregations.
Rev Coekin explained: “In ten years we have seen 400% growth, from one congregation of 40 adults to eight congregations totaling more than 600. Yet the Bishop of Southwark has repeatedly refused to assist us through ordaining staff to lead these growing congregations.
If the Church of England really wants to halt its decline and reach the people of England in the 21st century then it must encourage growth, not stifle it.”
The special ordination service was conducted by Bishop Martin Morrison of the Church of England in South Africa and attended by more than 500 people, including many clergy who support the move. The staff ordained were Andy Fenton and Richard Perkins who lead churches in Wimbledon and Balham respectively and Loots Lambrechts, a South African who will lead a bilingual Afrikaans/English congregation in Wimbledon.
– Ends –
Background information – Dundonald Church, in Wimbledon, south west London, is an Anglican Evangelical church which was planted in 1990 from Emmanuel Church, a proprietary chapel in the Church of England. Dundonald Church meets in Dundonald Primary School and is part of the Co-Mission Initiative family of churches.
For further information, or photographs please contact:
Rev Paul Dawson
Mobile: 07791 495824
Office: 020 8404 3894