Radical Christian Inclusion…?

“General Synod felt like it reached the watershed this last long weekend.

Superficially we did the usual things: passing obscure legal provisions – for example, giving official permission not to have to wear robes at main services…  the valiant effort to put something to do with mission on the agenda… We even had the obligatory “current affairs” motion…

However, the watershed came apparent from the other seemingly obligatory controversial agenda items. This time, on conversion therapy and transsexual liturgy…”

At Church Society’s blog, Dr Rob Munro, Rector of St. Mary’s Cheadle, near Manchester, observes how much things are changing in the Church of England.

Church of England General Synod votes to ‘welcome’ and ‘affirm’ transgender people

A motion passed at the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting in York:

“That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”

— from the Church of England website.

“Church of England bishops ‘delaying same-sex equality’ move”


“Church of England bishops have been accused of kicking the issue of same-sex equality into the long grass by offloading the topic to a series of working groups that will not report until 2020 at the earliest.

The archbishops of Canterbury and York, the two most senior figures in the church, have established two main groups and four subgroups to advise on pastoral issues and produce a new teaching document on human sexuality. …”

– Report from The Guardian.

A clear biblical focus is not apparent in much of the discussion. Watch Saturday morning’s proceedings from York at this link.

Also from the C of E General Synod: General Synod backs ban on conversion therapy.

‘Beware C of E free-for-all, new Gafcon bishop warns’

“The Rt Revd Andy Lines, con­secrated ‘Missionary Bishop for Europe’ within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), has warned against a ‘free-for-all’ in the Church of England.

Speaking on Wednesday, Bishop Lines, formerly an honorary canon with permission to officiate in the Church of England, said that he expected a ‘small number’ of churches in England to seek his oversight. He rejected the Archbishop of Canter­bury’s description of his move as a ‘cross-border interven­tion’.…”

– Story from Church Times. Photo: ACNA.

Archbishops criticised for inviting proposer of Scottish gay-marriage motion to York

“A group of the General Synod’s laity and clergy have been placed in an ‘invidious’ position, they say, by the ‘entirely wrong’ invitation to the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt Revd John Armes, to the Synod’s York meeting this weekend. They argue that it looks like an endorsement of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s change to its canons to allow same-sex marriage in church. …”

– Story from The Church Times.

(Photo of Bishop Armes courtesy The Scottish Episcopal Church.)

GAFCON and Evangelical Ministry

“I’m at the annual Evangelical Ministry Assembly organised by the Proclamation Trust. Around 900 men and women, mostly from Anglican, Baptist and Evangelical Free churches are here at the Barbican Centre in London; the majority are vicars, pastors and church apprentices wanting to be inspired and encouraged in their ministries.

The primary conviction of the Proclamation Trust is that when the Bible is faithfully preached, God’s voice is heard, and that intentional training is needed for preaching and evangelism, as well as experiencing the thrill, balm and challenge of hearing God’s voice for our own souls. …”

– Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes shares a little of what’s happening at this year’s EMA in London.

Meanwhile: Church of England and Methodists to consider full communion – Anglican Communion News Service.

Loose Canons? Andy Lines and the Canons of Nicaea

“On Friday 30th June, Andy Lines will be consecrated at a meeting of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), as a ‘missionary bishop’ for Europe. This is in response to the recent decision of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to modify its definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, placing it at variance with scripture and with the majority of the Anglican Communion.

In a letter to the Primates of the Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby expressed profound concern over the upcoming consecration of Canon Lines. For Welby, the Church’s continued commitment to ‘those with differing views’ (exemplified by the role of the Bishop of Maidstone in providing oversight for those who oppose the ordination of women), made the appointment of a missionary bishop unnecessary. Such an argument rests, of course, on a theological parity being drawn between disagreements over ordained ministry, and over sexual ethics – a parity that is by no means self-evident, as Lee Gatiss argued last week.

What was most intriguing, however, was what the Archbishop went on to say next: …”

– At Church Society’s blog, Mark Smith takes a look at the Canons of the Council of Nicaea, to which the Archbishop of Canterbury appeals. What do they really say?

Diocese of Truro advertises for Mission leader, but “You do not need to be a practising Christian”

“The Diocese of Truro (strapline: ‘Discovering God’s Kingdom / Growing the Church’) is advertising for a Strategic Programme Manager who will be responsible for ‘the strategic leadership of the Transforming Mission programme’.

This post is not simply managerial, but one of leadership. They specify to potential applicants: ‘You do not need to be a practising Christian’…”

– This story, via “Archbishop Cranmer”, epitomises much of what is wrong with the Church of England today.

See the advertisement here, on the Diocese of Truro website. Full job description (docx file.)

Letter to the Archbishop of York: Please consecrate a second Reformed Anglican Bishop

“Your Grace, It would be quite understandable for you to be less than enthusiastic about receiving a missive from a ‘conservative evangelical’ in the light of the recent consecration of the episcopally licensed Curate of Jesmond Parish Church as a missionary bishop by the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church in South Africa. But I am writing if I may to set forth the case for a second conservative evangelical bishop, in addition to the southern-based Bishop of Maidstone, to serve as senior pastor to churches and ministers in the north of England who desire his episcopal care. …”

– Julian Mann, Vicar of The Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, in South Yorkshire, writes an open letter to the Archbishop of York.

He also responds to comments made in the last week by Church Society’s Lee Gatiss and by Gavin Ashenden.

(Photo: Julian Mann with Bishop Dr. Ben Kwashi.)

Jesmond Conference 2017 talks

Concerning the Church of England:

“One recent survey was particularly depressing. It showed that disbelieving clergy are correlated with church decline, for example, only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was ‘very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians’, compared with 100% of clergy from growing Churches.

Also 100% of clergy and 90% of worshippers from growing churches agreed that ‘God performs miracles in answer to prayers’, compared with 80% of worshippers and 44% of clergy from declining churches. …”

– This excerpt from the February 2017 Jesmond Conference Statement (PDF file download link) highlights the desperate need for clear gospel proclamation in the Church of England.

Bishop Martin Morrison of REACH-SA spoke of one way forward being the irregular consecration of bishops. Conference talks here.

The Jesmond Consecration

Bishop Pryke is a godly man who is committed to the teaching of the Scriptures. He is a conscientious Anglican who believes the classic doctrine of the church as expressed in the 39 Articles and the Book of Common Prayer.

His godly character is attested by those who have observed him in ministry over many years. He is an entirely appropriate candidate for leadership among God’s people. The consecration is valid, there can be no doubt about that.

It is, however, irregular, but that irregularity is borne out of the desperate situation in which believers who remain within the Church of England find themselves. …

– In his latest post at Theological Theology, Principal of Moore Theological College, Dr. Mark Thompson, writes about the consecration of Jonathan Pryke, and why so many see it is necessary.

Jesmond Parish Church Press Statement — New Style English Bishop

“On St Athanasius’ Day, 2 May 2017, Jonathan Pryke, the senior minister, under its vicar, of Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, was consecrated a ‘bishop in the Church of God’.

This was by the Presiding Bishop of REACH SA (the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa), formerly known as CESA (the Church of England in South Africa) …

The service took place neither in a Church of England “place of worship” nor an unconsecrated place of worship designated under s.43 of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011. It did not take place in Jesmond Parish Church. The ceremony was according to the REACH SA consecration Holy Communion service with only REACH SA bishops taking part. …”

Read the whole statement from David Holloway, Vicar of Jesmond Parish Church.

Image: Jonathan Pryke at The Jesmond Conference — Reformation in the Nation and Church, March 2017. Bible Reading 1. Bible Reading 2.

Watch all the videos from the Conference for the theological background to the decision to consecrate a new bishop.

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