Thinking Anglicans

Conservative evangelical plans for a rival structure

Updated again Saturday

Harry Farley reports in Christian Today on a document, discussed at a recent conservative evangelical conference, that he describes as containing “extensive plans by conservative evangelicals to form a rival Anglican structure to the Church of England in the UK”.

Read his full report here: Blueprint for Church schism revealed as conservative Christian leaders plot separate Anglican structure. He quotes extensively from the document, which is titled Credible Bishops.

The Conference website is here. The About Us page describes the organisers:

We are a conference organised by Anglican Mission in England, Church Society, and Reform. The conference is chaired by William Taylor, rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London. The planning committee comprises William Taylor, Mark Burkill, Susie Leafe, Lee McMunn, Brian O’ Donoghue, Lee Gatiss and Richard Farr.

Updates
The full text of the Credible Bishops document is available as a PDF here.

The conference has now issued this statement:

‘Credible Bishops’ paper: A Statement from ReNew, Friday 12 May 2017

Reference has been made in newspapers and on social media this week to ‘Credible Bishops’, a discussion document produced for the 2016 ReNew Conference. ReNew’s goal is to pioneer, establish, and secure healthy local Anglican churches across the length and breadth of England, and this document was designed to stimulate debate at last September’s conference.

Recent events, and discussions at General Synod, have served to reduce confidence in the structures of the Church of England.

There should be little surprise that Anglican Evangelicals in England are desirous of orthodox episcopal oversight. They are eager to remain in the strongest possible fellowship with those in the Church of England and in the vast majority of global Anglicanism, who are faithful in theology and practice to our historic formularies.

Such oversight may emerge in different ways for the benefit of the many churches and separate organisations associated with ReNew.

67
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
67 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
35 Comment authors
JCFKurt HillcrsCynthiaSimon Sarmiento Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Tom Downs
Guest
Tom Downs

Sadly, a paper such as this popped up in the US before the break here. In fact those who wrote it followed their plan to the letter.

Kurt Hill
Guest
Kurt Hill

Clearly a case of the chickens coming home to roost. We told you so…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

This is sad. Especially since the CoE leadership seems decidedly homophobic. They aren’t homophobic enough? I’m so confused about the “lack of representation” of the evangelical view, to me it seems like that tail has been wagging the dog. And the upset over +Philip North, who is Anglo-Catholic… I don’t get it. If they feel they need to leave CoE, I hope that it can be a “velvet” revolution/schism. Believe it or not, I wish them well and they are our sisters and brothers in Christ. My beef is that the “anti” positions do not have power over me, LGBTQI… Read more »

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Thank goodness these narrow-minded evangelicals are planning to leave the Church of England. They have contributed to making the brand toxic. Their departure is a cause for rejoicing.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Kurt, unlike TEC, thanks to the CoE’s large evangelical faction, LGBT people won’t be treated as equals in England until the hardliners stop blocking reform. Now the Sheffield debacle’s nixed any hope of persuading them that equality’s compatible with protecting their beliefs, alternative structures are the only hope.

So let them be set up. The sooner they are, the sooner justice will come to England, and the sooner TEC will be brought in from the cold. Liberals should welcome this move.

Turbulent priest
Guest
Turbulent priest

I agree, James. Good fences make good neighbours. “In my house there are many rooms” and it would make for better neighbourliness if these people occupied a different one. A velvet divorce if possible, but a divorce nevertheless. That’s what they think and we should let them go in peace. And realise that arguments about money and property should take a back seat.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Interestingly….extreme Anglo-Catholics in the 19th century tried the same thing by obtaining a ” pure” episcopal line of succession via mysterious clandestine ordinations.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Couldn’t agree more, Cynthia. So long as they go their own way, and give up on imposing their dogma on everyone else, I too wish ’em well.

Now if the much larger group of open evangelicals would just do the same, England, and the rest of the Communion, can at last move on from the Anglican culture wars that’ve reduced the church to a bad joke, and get back to the little matter of enacting the gospel.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

How can members of General Synod be planning this? And why is a woman involved? Shouldn’t she be at home? Or at least wearing a hat? Actually, those are serious questions for people who take that kind of thing seriously when they want to, and not when they don’t.

Davis
Guest
Davis

Cynthia – apparently the Church can’t possibly be homophobic enough.

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

Homophobia isn’t an unpleasant undercurrent at Jesmond Parish Church, it’s been their bread and butter for a least the quarter of a century that I’ve known of them at first hand, and presumably at least since Decriminalization. They face a dilemma: if they leave the *actually* mainstream Anglican polity in England, they surely lose a vital part of their raison d’être: what’s left to protest against once they are in their safe orthodox space (at most two or three churches in the geographical diocese, so we are told elsewhere on these threads)? I doubt they’ll be going anywhere soon. Besides,… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

I see that their statement of belief says that marriage is a lifelong Union between one man and one woman. No divorcees then as well as no nasty homosexuals?

Father David
Guest
Father David

I note that a General Election is in the offing and so far the campaign consists of mere slogans and mantras – “strong and stable” – “Britain for the many not the few” being much quoted examples.
My favourite, however, is “A Coalition of Chaos” and I wonder if this would also be a good mantra for the current condition pertaining within the diocese of Newcastle?

Fr John E. Harris-White
Guest
Fr John E. Harris-White

The more I read this news about Jesmond, and their ilk, the more my heart cries out to our Religious Communities to openly participate in the councils of our church, and by their example show us the way forward of living and proclaiming the Gospel in the life of our nation. We all can speak from our own experiences of the hurt, damage and cruelty received at the hands of these consevative evangelicals, and their negative message. It is only a few weeks ago we read of the close encounter the ABC had with such groups as a student leader.… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

I do not know how this will all play out. Nor, I suspect, do the conservatives who triggered this. I am still less sure that others here read the tea leaves as clearly as they claim. The Anglican evangelical tradition is complex, diverse and in significant transition. This makes it hard for those watching from the outside to read the motives and ‘get’ the behaviour. But the Newcastle initiative has plainly been divisive even within its own ranks on the conservative wing. It is also true that the congregations under these conservative leaders often have little idea of what their… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘Now if the much larger group of open evangelicals would just do the same, England, and the rest of the Communion, can at last move on from the Anglican culture wars that’ve reduced the church to a bad joke, and get back to the little matter of enacting the gospel’.

My dad, who lived and died as an evangelical Anglican, used to say ‘Why should I be the one to have to leave the church I’ve been part of my whole life?’

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

‘Lack of representation of the evangelical view.’ Really? Are they talking about the current Church of England? Where on earth are these people living?

At least the time and cost outlay of placating this particular puritan revival, which the Archbishops will unanimously prioritise on the usual spurious grounds of ‘unity’, will have the unintended consequence of kicking Reform and Renewal into the long grass. Then we can all be freed to get on with the real task of mission.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Simon R asks “Where on earth are these people living?” As a possible answer may I suggest that they are currently domiciling in the same place as Jean-Claude Junker allegedly reported that the Brexitian Prime Minister was living in a “deluded” state and from “a different galaxy”.

Cantab
Guest
Cantab

Let them go if they want to. In fact I’d go further and say that the CofE structures should do everything they can to hurry them on their way. ‘”Cofe” churches that carry on as if they’re independent evangelical churches should be made to be just that : independent of the CofE.

Froghole
Guest
Froghole

@ExRevd: I note the painful but highly perceptive remarks that you have made about the impact that ostensibly ‘successful’ churches can have upon their neighbours, especially if their approach to the structures of deanery and diocese tends to be abrasive. There are a number of instances I have noted where a successful church of the type described at Jesmond (which I do not know) can become a sort of ecclesiological cuckoo-in-the-nest. This is the case even where the successful church relates tactfully with its neighbours. For example, I can think of one church plant close to the City, which has… Read more »

john sandeman
Guest
john sandeman

Cynthia,
are you saying you have “mutual flourishing” in TEC? I may have misread you but you seem to be saying evangelicals and other ‘deplorables’ are only okay at the local level. But for evangelicals to flourish requires bishops to treat them well, for example sending student ministers to appropriate seminaries. Is this happening in your diocese for example?

Stanley Monkhouse, aka Fr William
Guest

This may not be the place to ask, but given all the talk of Bishopsgate, what exactly is happening at St Michael Cornhill? Mr Skrine from Bishopsgate is now P-in-C, succeeding Bishop Platten.

Tom Downs
Guest
Tom Downs

John S., Cynthia–“Is it happening in your diocese?” I’ve certainly seen it work in the dioceses I’ve served over the last 40 years. Local parishes have been given wide leeway to minister as they see fit. Our bishops have bent over backward to accommodate them. And we’ve sent seminarians to Trinity and Nashotah House. The problems start when the local parish won’t support the diocese financially and campaigns to change the diocesan policy or agenda. We only lost clergy and parishioners when they realized they could not make the majority agree with them.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Tim, I don’t envisage anyone leaving, but Anglicanism fragmenting into a loose confederation. In England, some deal would have to be worked out with the cathedrals; but that done, it’d free up churches to go their own way, whether that’s evangelical, liberal, Anglo-Catholic, or po-mo, with affirming churches among all groups.

The trick now is to facilitate a smooth breakup, without protracted lawsuits over church real estate.

Edward Prebble
Guest
Edward Prebble

“…expect the ABY and others will collide with this as they have done for years”. ExRevd

I think you probably meant “collude” there, but both words work quite well.

Kurt Hill
Guest
Kurt Hill

America, in general, is not the type of environment where a specific Anglican Evangelicalism can “flourish,” Obadiah/John. Our religious culture and history are so different from Australia’s in this regard. With the exception of Virginia and a couple of other places, Episcopalianism has always been a minority denomination, surrounded on all sides by Evangelical “sectaries.” If people want the “Evangelical experience,” they don’t turn to TEC; there are plenty of other faith communities that have always offered this. People have historically come to the Episcopal Church because of our blend of Latitudinarian Low Church liberalism and Catholic High Church liturgicalism,… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

Brother Sandeman (and always good to see your words): I don’t know that we’d call it “mutual flourishing;” but, then, we don’t have a formal agreement of that sort. We still have two seminaries that would seem relevant to that discussion (one more anglo-catholic and one more evangelical), and they still get Episcopal seminarians. They also get seminarians preparing for other bodies (we have long used the phrase “continuing Anglican”), although last time I checked (admittedly a while ago) they had more students from TEC than from ACNA bodies. As I said, we have never had a formal commitment/agreement comparable… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

David Holloway is staunchly against the remarriage of divorced persons, but then he chooses a denomination called REACH which is notoriously liberal on divorce. the fact is that conservative evangelicals wedded to sola scriptura and the perspicuity of scripture can’t agree what our Lord taught about heterosexual marriage…hence the careful wording which leaves out the divorce question.

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

Evangelicals have been treated far worse than lgbti ?

News to me.

Some of us have been driven out of ‘the *church of our birth’,. We have felt we had and have little choice (called survival).

Of course, as Evangelicals should / must know, no one denomination is the holy Catholic Church….

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

John, I said that mutual flourishing can really only happen at the local level, and not in a situation where conservatives exercise power to exclude LGBTQI people, women, minorities, etc. And yes, I believe that some TEC conservative parishes are flourishing.

I don’t know about who is getting into which seminary. I didn’t know that there are conservative seminaries for Episcopalians in the US. Most of the clergy I know went to the standard Episcopal seminaries, Yale, Harvard, or a local ecumenical one.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

A divorce is the only way to escape an abusive spouse – both sides are abused by the other. Split. Stop crying about it. You’re victimizing yourselves and pretending it’s all a matter of “love” and “faithfulness,” when what it is – especially on the conservative, but also on the liberal – is a matter of fear, power and the need to be the “winner.” Just stop. Both sides are like Pharaoh – “Go! Get out! HEY! YOU GET BACK HERE!” These are lives you’re playing with, and, worse, souls. Neither side cares about the other’s hurt feelings – that’s… Read more »

John Sandeman
Guest
John Sandeman

Thank you to the Episcopalians who responded to my comment. Instead of “down under” perhaps we should be called “upside down’ because things have turned out so differently Anglican-wise in my country compared to yours. One thing that has often puzzled me is that there are no large flourishing more progressive churches here as there are in TEC. I take the point also that yes, the grads from Nashotah and Trinity must be serving somewhere. Cynthia, I do get what you say about it being hard to know how LGBTQI people can flourish under leaders who exclude. I know it… Read more »

Fr John E. Harris-White
Guest
Fr John E. Harris-White

Mark, Simply ‘Thank you’. It is our Souls that are being damaged, and we all need the courage to stop behaving like 4 year olds, and allow each other to go happily on our journey with our like minded brothers and sisters. My journey began in middle Anglicanism, but I found my true home in the Catholic wing of our church, begining by a bike ride to Winterbourne Down in Gloucestershire, and nosing around the church there, curious of the smell, and the robes.The vicar found me, and had the patience and love to explain and teach me what everything… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

It’ll be interesting to watch how this goes down, because the basic premise of the evangelical hard right — the same sex relationships are a sin crying out to heave — is one shared by Justin Welby and John Sentamu. Yeah, I know they claim they are on a journey and conflicted and struggling and all the rest, but they’re being at best disingenuous: if they thought they could get away with full-on African calls for criminalisation, they would.

crs
Guest
crs

The largest producer of TEC clergy is no longer a TEC seminary. That has been a fact for several years now.

Most assume that leeway at a diocesan level will time out so it is not surprising that the term of reference introduced is the vague “local level” — which means no longer “diocesan.” And that is where Sandeman’s larger point really lies. “Mutual flourishing” will be a largely in-house progressive affair.

One could hope for Byron’s notion above, but it would apply to the CofE and not TEC.

Nicholas Henderson
Guest
Nicholas Henderson

Well I suppose that there’s not much more to say. Except to note that in due course this group will find its way onto the Anglicans Online website that carries a ‘Not in Communion’ list of dozens and dozens of ‘Anglican’ breakaway churches. Each of these groups who have departed the Anglican Communion, (mostly in an indignant and exclusivist way due to the iniquities of the mother Church) has a website, some congregations and lots and lots of bishops. However, it’s an ill wind that blows no-one any good as the guild of ecclesiastical outfitters, should such a thing exist,… Read more »

john (not mccain)
Guest
john (not mccain)

“Evangelicals have been treated far worse than lgbti ?”

Let me know when they start killing themselves because of how they’ve been treated.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“the basic premise of the evangelical hard right — the same sex relationships are a sin crying out to heave — is one shared by Justin Welby and John Sentamu.”

Over to you, Archbishops. Are same-sex sexual relationships, in and of themselves, sinful?

Or can they be holy, like other sexual relationships?

And don’t say that it depends on whether the people involved were married in church. That would be circular reasoning.

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

In the context of news of and thoughts about evangelical anglicans, the developments in the Baptist Union may also be of interest in themselves, and as potential pointers, perhaps ? Especially as the Baptist Assembly is meeting tomorrow in Harrogate. New Website url and a quotation follow below. http://www.affirmingbaptists.org.uk :– ‘ NEW NAME, SAME COMMITMENT NEW WEBSITE: http://WWW.AFFIRM.ORG.UK WHAT’S NEXT? Previously known as the Network of Baptists affirming LGBT Christians, we have updated our name, acknowledging that we continue to seek an inclusive approach to the journey of understanding that many are on regarding human sexuality. We remain committed to… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

“Evangelicals have been treated far worse than lgbti ?”

Let me know when they start killing themselves because of how they’ve been treated.

Posted by: john (not mccain) on Friday, 12 May 2017 at 1:43pm BST

That was what I was drivng at john. Thanks for the good point.

rjb
Guest
rjb

It seems to me that both scripture and the tradition of the Church are thoroughly ambiguous on such marginal issues as women’s leadership and the nature of same-sex unions, and I cannot for the life of me see why divergent views cannot be accommodated within a single ecclesial structure. Christ’s prayer that the Church seek “perfect unity” (John 17:23), however, does not seem to me to allow such a generous plurality of possible interpretations. The true church is the church that most devotedly, and through most patient self-sacrifice, seeks to restore the wholeness of Christ’s body. The only possible response… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

Further to my note about the Baptist Union and affirm ‘s lgbt witness, I came across the BU Conference theme, theme and thought ‘Anointed to do Good’ could hardly be more biblical and as put here , very encouraging and practical :

http://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/257582/Anointed_to_do.aspx

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘not because of any happy-clappy ambience.’ Kurt, I think you are confusing evangelicals with charismatics. There is no necessary connection between Anglican evangelicalism and a ‘happy-clappy ambience’. I doubt if anyone would have called Charles Simeon, John Newton, J.C. Ryle, W.H. Griffith Thomas or John Stott ‘Happy-clappy’, and they certainly don’t apply that description to J.I. Packer, Alister McGrath, Oliver O’Donovan or (to expand the list to non-Anglican evangelicals) Philip Yancey, Joel Green, Timothy Keller, Eugene Peterson, Katelyn Beatty or her fellow-editors of ‘Christianity Today’ magazine. The fact that HTB folks and others like them are described in this way… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Well said, Tim.

As someone who’s suggested that liberal churches adopt “happy-clappy ambience” (not my thing, but it’s popular), I feel it’s important to emphasize that it’s not synonymous with evangelicalism, or any other faith tradition (there’s plenty in the Catholic Church who embrace it).

Sniping at an entire style of worship, and not affectionately, makes liberalism look less motivated by justice than mere preference. If evangelicals and charismatics want to join forces, I embrace them (although not in the Peace ;-).

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Jesmond is not happy clappy..keeps to the liturgy…and sings decent traditional hymns.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Kurt, you said ‘If people want the “Evangelical experience,” they don’t turn to TEC; there are plenty of other faith communities that have always offered this.’

I think there are some similarities here in Canada. I would note, however, that for those of us who want to be *liturgical* evangelicals, the field is a lot less crowded.

Kurt Hill
Guest
Kurt Hill

I can appreciate where Tim Chesterton and some other folks are coming from, and they rightly make some proper distinctions. No shorthand, “pet phrase” can capture the wide range of a school of thought, whether the phrase is “happy-clappy” or “smells and bells.” Nevertheless, historically speaking, American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics, while Evangelicalism has always been more peripheral to the Episcopal Church—with several schisms. American Evangelicalism—particularly in its Calvinist manifestations—has always been what most American Anglicans are not. Many Episcopalians are, in fact, refugees from the various Evangelical denominations here, and have been… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Kurt, one of my problems is that I get different messages from different TEC members. You are telling me that Evangelicalism is peripheral to American Anglicanism, and yet Cynthia tells me that her experience of TEC is total inclusion where all points of view are welcomed and honoured, including evangelical churches. But North America (not just TEC) is different, that’s for sure. The Church of England’s status as an established church has probably encouraged different theological persuasions to ‘stay in’ rather than splinter and form separate denominations as they did in other parts of the world. And of course much… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Tim, Bexley Hall, Virginia Seminary, Sewanee, Western Seminary were all founded as evangelical seminaries. The first wearing of chasuble and Gospel procession in the upper midwest were regarded as Italian eccentricities, un-American, and condemned by the HOB at the time. Kurt Hill has an equally eccentric take on american episcopal church history. He takes the last 40 years and makes them normative over history. It is fine that TEC has become what it is for those who like this, but rewriting history is just that. “American Anglicanism has always been strong on Latitudinarian liberalism and Catholic liturgics” — is rubbish,… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Tim Chesterton, I fear that that well-wishing, rosy-viewed idea of “total inclusion” is the illusion. No organization can hold to a center if it “includes” those who break up its structure, polity and cohesion of viewpoint. That is why this “stay-together-for-God” concept is not anything that serves God. It is a necessity in order to pursue the path God has set to each iteration of His Church. To do other multiplies confusion, hurt, anger, despair. It tells conservatives this “welcome/not-welcome” and it tells those of us liberals profess to care for “welcome/but-not-as-welcome-as-wealthy-conservatives.” A church, like a human, cannot serve two… Read more »