Updated 9 January
“Anglican Mainstream” has issued a press release. The text of it is
not currently on at last posted to the AM website but meanwhile it can be found here. It says in part (emphasis added):
Following the passing of the Act, the House of Bishops of the Church of England released a pastoral statement on July 25 2005. Anglican Mainstream, the Church of England Evangelical Council, and Reform all issued responses to the Bishops’ statement between July and September. Between them they represent people in over 1000 churches and 2000 clergy throughout England. The Anglican Mainstream letter… has since been personally signed by over 1700 people, including 290 clergy and two Bishops from 260 churches in 38 dioceses. It has today been presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury as evidence of the deep disquiet within the Church about the pastoral situation which the Civil Partnership Act has created.
The statistics included in this press release are rather interesting. (Of course, any AM-originated statistics warrant caution in interpretation.)
Anglican Mainstream UK (which covers Wales, Scotland, and Ireland as well) has a Steering Committee which includes representatives from: Reform, CEEC, Church Society, and New Wine. It is curious that the latter two organisations are not mentioned in the press release.
If this coalition represents only 1000 churches and 2000 clergy in the Church of England then it would seem to be very far indeed from representing “mainstream” evangelical opinion within the Church of England.
What is even more significant is how few signatures AM has managed to obtain, even after several months of active solicitation.
According to the CofE official website, there are:
“… more than 9,000 paid clergy; more than 2,000 non-stipendiary ministers;… around 5,000 active retired clergy; and 1,100 chaplains in colleges, universities, hospitals, schools, prisons and the armed forces.”
and from here:
“The Church of England has some 16,000 church buildings, in 13,000 parishes covering the whole of England…”
And AM obtained less than 300 clergy signatures from only 260 churches.