Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Network in Europe consecrates more bishops

The Anglican Network in Europe which describes itself as “an authentic expression of Anglican church life and mission, authorised and supported by the Archbishops of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon)”.

We have reported on this several times in the past:

GAFCON announces its “missionary bishop”

GAFCON consecrates a Bishop for Europe

Those AMiE ordinations

The ANiE now has two constituent units:  the Anglican Mission in England and the Anglican Convocation Europe.

More recently, it announced an intention to consecrate four additional bishops, two for AMiE (Lee Munn and Tim Davies), and two for ACE (Ian Ferguson and Stuart Bell). See GAFCON’s Europe Branch to Consecrate 4 Bishops.

Three of these men were consecrated bishops on Friday 21 October, at a service held at the Vineyard church in Hull (East Yorkshire). The chief consecrator was ACNA primate Foley Beach, the preacher was Rwanda primate Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, and Nigerian primate, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba presided at Holy Communion.  (The consecration of Stuart Bell has been deferred until March next year.)

Andrew Atherstone was present, and has written a very detailed account which is well worth reading in full: New Anglican Bishops for England and Europe

There is a video recording of the service.

The official ANiE press release is here.


Primates criticise appointment of Canterbury dean

The Church Times reports: New Dean of Canterbury comes under fire from GAFCON Primates

PRIMATES allied to the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) have condemned the Archbishop of Canterbury for “refusing to prevent” the appointment of the Very Revd David Monteith as Dean of Canterbury Cathedral (News, 14 October). They have urged Archbishop Welby to repent. Lambeth Palace has responded by saying that the statement is inaccurate.

The subject of Dean Monteith’s appointment takes up a large section of the communiqué issued by the Primates of North America (ACNA), Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, All Nigeria, and the Indian Ocean after a meeting of the GAFCON Primates Council meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, which ended on Wednesday…

And it concludes:

…A spokesperson from Lambeth Palace on Friday described the statement as “inaccurate in a number of ways including the nature of the Anglican Communion, the appointment of the Dean of Canterbury, and the understanding of civil partnerships in England”.

Lambeth also confirmed, in answer to a question from the Church Times, that the Archbishop was engaged in ongoing WhatsApp conversations with Primates. These are described as “closed and private groups and as a matter of policy, all conversations remain private and confidential”.

The Anglican Communion News Service has this: Church of England and Anglican Communion respond to inaccurate press statements which begins this way:

Statements issued this week by the “GSFA Steering Committee” and the “Gafcon Primates Council” contain several inaccuracies, including the nature of the Anglican Communion, the appointment of the Dean of Canterbury, and the understanding of civil partnerships in England, a Church of England spokesperson has said.

The statements criticise the appointment of the new Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Revd David Montieth, because he is in a civil partnership. Much of the criticism levelled against the Dean-designate appears to be based on international confusion about the nature of such civil partnerships.

“A civil partnership in English law dates from 5 December 2005”, a C of E spokesperson said. “Civil partnerships are not recognised as marriage but are a legal means, not involving any church, by which two people (of the same or different gender) can create a bond which, for the purposes of secular law, gives them the same legal entitlements as if they were married.

“Some gay and lesbian English clergy have entered civil partnerships from near the beginning in 2005. They are still bound by the rule that sexual relationships must only be within marriage as recognised by the Church, and are not allowed by being in a civil partnership. Abstention from sexual relationships (celibacy) is required of all unmarried clergy, whatever their sexuality.

“Since 2005, in the Church of England, appointments have not been refused simply because the person concerned is in a civil partnership, so long as they obey the discipline of the church…”

And it concludes

…The C of E spokesperson added: “Let us pray that the commitment made by bishops at the Lambeth Conference to walk together to the maximum degree possible despite our deeply-held differences will endure. Let us continue to build up our common life together on the solid rock of Jesus Christ who calls us to unity so that the world may know His love.”

The two original documents containing the criticisms are linked below, so readers may see exactly what was said.

GAFCON has issued this: Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates Council. The relevant section is in part 2 (do read it all):

…We were deeply grieved by the recent appointment of a man who lives in a same-sex civil partnership as Dean of Canterbury Cathedral. It is a heartbreaking provocation that such a departure from biblical standards would be thrust upon the Communion in the historic See of Canterbury and in opposition to the established teaching and practice of the majority of Anglicans.

The announcement from the Archbishop of Canterbury distanced himself from this appointment, as it was the recommendation of a Selection Panel, requiring the Queen’s approval. Yet it is difficult to see how a Diocesan Bishop, let alone the Archbishop of Canterbury, could not influence the appointment of the Dean of his own Cathedral, especially given the published process for the Appointment of Deans. Moreover, filling this position was the responsibility of Mr Stephen Knott, the Archbishop’s Secretary for Appointments, who is himself in a same-sex marriage. It is disingenuous, if not duplicitous, for the Archbishop to claim that the Church of England has not changed its doctrine of marriage, when he has engaged an Appointments Secretary, whose own union is a living contradiction of marriage as God has ordained it, and which the Church of England claims to uphold. By empowering Mr Knott to oversee the appointments of senior positions in the Church of England, it is hardly surprising that the recommended nominee was likewise in a same-sex relationship. Clearly, the process for appointing senior positions in the Church of England needs to be reformed, so that decisions are in the hands of those who abide by the teaching of the Church of England, especially in relation to same-sex marriage and civil partnerships, which are generally perceived as a cloak for homosexual activity….

This document is signed by

Archbishop Foley Beach, Primate of North America & Chairman
Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, Primate of Rwanda & Vice Chairman
Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, Primate of Kenya
Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, Primate of Uganda
Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, Primate of All Nigeria
Archbishop James Wong, Primate of Indian Ocean & Advisor to Primates Council

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (follow link to see who that includes) has issued this: GSFA Statement on the appointment of the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, England which includes the following (again, do read it all)

We are aggrieved by the announcement on 11 Oct 2022 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Hon & Most Revd Justin Welby (ABC) regarding the appointment of a person in a same- sex civil partnership (The Very Revd Dr David Monteith) as the new Dean of Canterbury….

…It saddens us that in this recent appointment of the Deanery of Canterbury, the ABC shows yet again, that his oft-expressed assurance that Lambeth 1.10 remains ‘the official teaching of the Church’ is merely lip-service [2]. If it is the official teaching of the Church, then it ought to be followed through in the ‘faith & order’ of all Provinces. The appointment of a person in same-sex civil partnership to a senior clerical position clearly contravenes the spirit of Lambeth 1.10, which not only rejects ‘homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’, but goes on to declare that the Lambeth Conference of 1998 ‘cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions.’


GAFCON plans an Australian diocese

The Church Times carried this report by Muriel Porter on 23 July: Conservative Evangelicals plan new diocese in Australia

THE conservative Evangelical group GAFCON Australia has formulated plans for the creation of a diocese for “Anglicans who will be forced to leave the Anglican Church of Australia“, according to a media statement…

Here is the full press release from GAFCON Australia: GAFCON Australia backs plan to form non-geographic diocese for Australian Anglicans

Then on 30 July, there was a further report by Muriel Porter: GAFCON ark too early, Australian Primate observes

..Archbishop Smith criticised the board of GAFCON for not showing restraint until the Australian Church had had an opportunity to discuss the Appellate Tribunal’s decision. Instead, GAFCON’s decision was “ramping up the tensions among us”, he said. GAFCON’s move, he continued, was in contrast to the “very significant restraint . . . shown by people who might want to see movement toward the blessing of same-sex couples”.

Despite the forecasts, there had not been a “flood” of blessings of same-sex unions after the tribunal decision, he said, “Not a flood, not a trickle, not a drip”; so “faithful, orthodox Anglicans can continue with confidence as members of the Anglican Church of Australia. To suggest or insinuate otherwise is to not speak the truth.”

The  letter from the Australian Primate Archbishop Geoffrey Smith mentioned in that report can be read in full over here.