Deaf and arrogant — The Anglican Network in Europe on the Church of England House of Bishops

Press Release:

A response to the Church of England House of Bishops’ commendation of Prayers of Love and Faith on 12 December 2023

It is hugely disappointing, but unsurprising, that the Church of England House of Bishops has ignored the pleas of the majority of the Anglican Communion, nearly half of the clergy and laity in General Synod and nearly a third of their own members to push ahead along a highly divisive path which arrogantly rejects the authority of scripture and cravenly follows the latest trends in Western secular culture.

For both clergy and laity now standing at the crossroads and prayerfully considering their future path, we want to reassure them there is a road available which avoids an unknown and unsafe future as part of an apostate denomination, and draw their attention to the recent Gafcon Primates’ statement (9 Nov 2023) which speaks of a way of being authentically Anglican apart from Canterbury-aligned structures: “We… commend the ministry and witness of the Anglican Network in Europe as the appropriate and necessary provision of Gafcon for those who cannot in good conscience remain in a Church which flagrantly abandons the teaching of Scripture.”

Rt. Rev’d Andy Lines
Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Network in Europe.

Received via e-mail.

Note: The Anglican Network in Europe (ANiE) is the provision of the Primates’ Council of Gafcon to provide a faithful ecclesial structure for orthodox Anglicans within Europe. It currently comprises two dioceses: The Anglican Convocation in Europe (ACE) and The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).

Image: GAFCON.

For those at a crossroads — press release from The Anglican Network in Europe

For those at a crossroads

A response to the General Synod of the Church of England’s resolution on 15 November 2023

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”(Jeremiah 6:16 ESV)

Yesterday a majority at General Synod voted to continue to travel along a road that arrogantly rejects the authority of scripture, the historic teaching of the church from earliest times and the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide. They have walked away from the life transforming grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We reiterate the deep sadness we expressed after February’s General Synod: “We grieve with those who have been dismayed and heartbroken by this betrayal in the abandonment of the sufficiency and supremacy of scripture which has until now been the bedrock and rule of the Church of England. We honour those who have courageously contended for orthodoxy… We especially feel the pain of those who continue to make costly stands for godliness and have been abandoned by those who were meant to shepherd and protect them.”

For both clergy and laity who cannot travel the road chosen by General Synod, the next weeks and months will mean much heartfelt prayer, seeking the Lord and wrestling in conscience with the implications of what it means for each one to be faithful. However, we stand with you and we are much in prayer for you.

“You are not alone. You have a home.”

Rt. Rev. Andy Lines (Presiding Bishop of ANiE)
Rt. Rev. Stuart Bell (Assistant Bishop of ACE)
Rt. Rev. Tim Davies (Assistant Bishop of AMiE)
Rt. Rev. Ian Ferguson (Assistant Bishop of ACE)
Rt. Rev. Lee McMunn (Assistant Bishop of AMiE)

ENDS

“Not fit for office” — The Anglican Network in Europe calls on the C of E House of Bishops to repent

Here’s a Press Release from The Anglican Network in Europe, 11th October 2023:

A response to the statement of  the House of Bishops of the Church of England 9th October 2023

Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture! (Jeremiah 23:1)

We grieve with millions of faithful Anglicans around the world at the disastrous decision by the House of Bishops in the Church of England to agree in principle to commend Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples. This action is offensive to the God of love. It replaces his wonderful gospel of grace with a distorted message, blessing what God calls sin. This is heart-breaking, wicked and outrageously arrogant.

Together the House of Bishops have embraced heresy by departing from the clear teaching of Scripture on matters of sexual conduct. As a result, they have betrayed their office. At their consecration service, each bishop was instructed to “be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not.” However, by introducing, and not banishing “erroneous and strange doctrine”, they have become wolves. Together they have demonstrated they are not fit for office. They stand under judgement as did the shepherds of Israel in Jeremiah’s day.

Their shame is further compounded by a seriously misleading and distorted appeal to reconciliation. In the House of Bishops’ statement, the Bishop of London asserts “the heart of the gospel is reconciliation.” However that reconciliation is first and foremost with our heavenly Father through the atoning death of Christ upon the cross, and only then, on that basis, to one another as forgiven sinners who serve Jesus as their Lord. To appeal to the cross as the grounds to “remain together as one Church in our uncertainty”, and, as a reason for embracing sin and failing to call for repentance, is an astonishing and blasphemous corruption of the grace of Christ and an entirely different gospel.

We call on the House of Bishops to repent.

We urge orthodox bishops, who have courageously fought for the truth, now to publicly dissent and distance themselves from their episcopal colleagues who are promoting these dangerous prayers.

We continue to pray for our faithful brothers and sisters in the Church of England as they weep, resist this apostasy and trust our Sovereign Lord.

With God’s help, we remain committed to the unchanging Biblical gospel which brings light, life and love to all who repent and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit compel us to preach Christ faithfully to the nations.

Rt. Rev. Andy Lines (Presiding Bishop of ANiE)
Rt. Rev. Stuart Bell (Assistant Bishop of ACE)
Rt. Rev. Tim Davies (Assistant Bishop of AMiE)
Rt. Rev. Ian Ferguson (Assistant Bishop of ACE)
Rt. Rev. Lee McMunn (Assistant Bishop of AMiE)

11th October 2023

The Anglican Network in Europe (ANiE) is the provision of the Primates’ Council of Gafcon to provide a faithful ecclesial structure for Anglicans within Europe. It currently comprises two dioceses: The Anglican Convocation in Europe (ACE) and The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).

(Received via e-mail.)

“Why we left the Church of England”

Here’s news from The Anglican Convocation in Europe –

On Sunday 1 October 2023, Bishop Andy Lines inaugurated Wellfield Church, Leyland, Lancashire, into the Anglican Convocation in Europe and instituted Mark Simpson as Rector.

Mark reflects on their journey out of the Church of England and into ACE:

“When people used to ask me, ‘Why are you still in the CofE when (a) you have little to do with it; and (b) you don’t like where it’s going?’, my answer used to be the standard evangelical one: It’s a good boat to fish from, and the revisionists are the cuckoos in the nest, not us. The foundational teaching of the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles is excellent, even if many of the leaders don’t seem to believe it, follow it or teach it.

I still think that’s right. However, it’s also quite convenient to take view that mean means you don’t have to change anything. February 2023 was a turning point.

The more I (and church members) watched of that dreadful General Synod, the more we were utterly disgusted. There was the total ignorance of “the Scriptures and the power of God” that many of our leaders displayed; there was the way the Archbishop of York patronised those who appealed to Truth; it was even just that these basic issues were open for debate at that level. I’d taken part in ‘Shared Conversations’ several years ago; I know how disingenuous church leaders can be. But now here they were, not sworn to confidentiality, but in public.

When I said to people in church, for the first time, “I think we have to leave, don’t we?”, they all said yes. I’m not saying that choosing to stay in the CofE is a sin; but actually deciding, after all this time, to leave had the same feeling of repenting of a long-held sin. It felt right.

There were many parts of scripture that drove the conviction to leave. One in particular was Hebrews 13:13, to first-century Jewish Christians who were squeezed out of the life of the synagogue – “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” It must have been hard for them. Maybe, like us, they said, ‘They’re the cuckoos in the nest – this is our heritage!’ Maybe it was hard to hear the writer effectively saying, ‘Let them have it all – the buildings, the infrastructure, the familiarity and stability.’ But this is the way of Jesus and his kingdom.

In many ways it was easy for Wellfield Church to leave. We didn’t have to leave buildings, or church members or a vicarage behind. But really, that’s largely because we’d planned it that way for many years. We’d kept our finances separate from the diocese, bought our own house, got our church building owned in Trust. When the time came to act on our convictions, we were ready.

When we were looking for somewhere else to belong, we were glad to discover ACE. We’re so pleased to be able to stand clearly with the real men of God who lead GAFCON. The covid years showed us that the Conservative Evangelical world that we are a part of is really not the be-all-and-end-all, in terms of having courage and battle-readiness in a hostile world. People in ACE may not all agree on everything, but do agree on the gospel and the pressing issues of our generation, and seek to trust and obey our Lord. That’s the fellowship we were looking for. It might be small, young and fragile; but that’s our story as a church too. And I think it’s the story of the true church down the ages, and what Jesus taught us to expect.”

Photo: Mark Simpson is handed a Bible as a symbol of his pastoral office by Bishop Andy Lines.

Received by e-mail.

To learn more about Wellfield Church, see their website.

Rejoicing to be safe harbour — ANiE response and endorsement of the 2023 Kigali Commitment

Here’s a statement from Bishop Andy Lines, Bishop of the Anglican Network in Europe:

Rejoicing to be safe harbour
ANiE response and endorsement of the 2023 Kigali Commitment

36 delegates from the Anglican Network in Europe, representing both dioceses (The Anglican Convocation in Europe and The Anglican Mission in England) attended Gafcon IV in Kigali, Rwanda.

There was much reason to rejoice and mourn.

Rejoicing in the sufficiency and supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ and his transforming grace, we found great unity in Jesus and partnership with brothers and sisters around the world in proclaiming his word. It has been a significant and memorable experience for us to be part of this momentous gathering. It has been marked by faithful and compelling expositions of scripture, prayerful and heartfelt repentance in personal response, as well as deep concern for the needs of the world. We have been thrilled at the connections made for on-going global partnership as together we ‘proclaim the unchanging truth to a changing world’.

It was a great grief, deep sadness, and with broken hearts that the conference discussed the current crisis in the Anglican Communion. Strong words were used of the ‘betrayal’ and ‘failure’ of the Canterbury-aligned structures to uphold the word of God and banish error. It was with enormous sorrow that we had to conclude the Archbishop of Canterbury and others have ‘abdicated their right to lead’ and their position is now ‘entirely indefensible’. We have rightly mourned.

But we rejoice, therefore, in God’s provision of Gafcon and the ongoing recognition of the Anglican Network in Europe as an ‘orthodox jurisdiction’ and a ‘safe harbour for faithful Anglicans’. We stand with those who are ‘compelled to resist’ within the Church of England, as well as those contending for orthodox Anglicanism within other Canterbury-aligned structures. We welcome Gafcon’s commitment, in partnership with the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans for the resetting and reordering of the Communion and we look forward to playing our part to the glory of God.

We fully endorse the Kigali Commitment.

Bishop Andy Lines
Presiding Bishop

Anglican Network in Europe responds to the Archbishop of the Church in Wales

Here’s a Press release from the Bishops of the Anglican Network in Europe, 24th March 2023:

The Bishops of the Anglican Network in Europe have seen correspondence from the Most Rev’d Andy John and the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales to their clergy concerning the recent consecration of Rt. Rev’d Stuart Bell as a Bishop for the Anglican Convocation in Europe (ACE). In this letter they make clear that they do not recognise Stuart Bell’s episcopal ministry, and instruct Church in Wales clergy to “stand back from receiving communion at services held under the auspices of ACE”.

Archbishop John and his Bench are correct in their assessment that members of ACE are not under the oversight of the bishops of the Church in Wales. They are also right to locate the immediate cause of this division in the decision by the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in September 2021 to permit blessing of same sex couples in church. However, the background to that decision has been many years of promotion by Church in Wales’ leaders of a radically different interpretation of Scripture and Christian life, influenced by Western secularism, and not consistent with orthodox Christianity as recognised by the majority of the Anglican church worldwide.

Stuart Bell, in his powerful speech following his consecration, said that the emergence of ACE in Wales is a tragic necessity in the face of false teaching in the national church. The Archbishop and his Bishops may sincerely believe that all Anglicans in Wales should simply accept what has happened and “live with difference”. But this is not the view of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion. Both Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican have stated clearly that the leadership of the Church in Wales have violated Lambeth 1:10 and further torn the fabric of the Communion.

Contrary to what Archbishop John and his Bishops have said, it is the the Church in Wales which has placed itself out of communion with the majority of Anglicans worldwide by departing the historic, orthodox, biblical faith. Faithful Anglicans living under such failed oversight need a spiritually safe home and a hope for the future. We are grateful that Gafcon has provided this by authorising ACE as a genuine Anglican jurisdiction.

As ACE develops in Wales under Bishop Stuart’s leadership, its members will continue to make plans for the future together, and enjoy fellowship, with those faithful Anglicans who remain in the Church in Wales. Our unity with them remains in the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in his word written, not in recognition by erring institutional structures.

ENDS

See also:

Watch Bishop Stuart Bell’s consecration last weekend – or skip straight to Bishop Bell’s speech following his consecration.

Earlier report.

Image: Bishop Bell speaks after his consecration.

Anglican Network in Europe

The Anglican Network in Europe has written to clarify how they can serve churches and clergy in the Church of England in light of the General Synod vote and moves by the House of Bishops.

They also explain what they are unable to do –

“We recognise that this is a very trying time for you in the light of the direction that the House of Bishops is setting and you face many difficult decisions in the days and months ahead.

We do not envy you the dilemmas you face in remaining faithful to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor do we seek to take advantage of your discomfiture.

There will be many different strategies that you will consider adopting as you seek to do this. …”

Read the full statement via Anglican Ink.

The Anglican Network in Europe asks, “Where is repentance?”

Here’s a Press Release from Bishop Andy Lines and The Anglican Network in Europe:

The Anglican Network in Europe wholeheartedly echos Archbishop Foley Beach (Chair, Gafcon Primates’ Council):

“We, in Gafcon, call on leaders in the Church of England to repent and return to the teaching and practice of Holy Scripture and the historical one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

We do so as the provision for faithful orthodox Anglicans in Europe initiated by the Gafcon Primates’ Council.

The proposals presented by the House of Bishops as the outcome of Living in Love and Faith are incoherent and contradictory but, most seriously, they reject the clear teaching of Scripture in favour of plural truth and personal preference. The suggested use of the commended prayers denies the Lord Jesus Christ’s call to repentance and faith as his loving invitation to all people.

Our heart goes out to those who have been profoundly disappointed and feel sadly betrayed by such abject failure of leadership. We pray for those who are now struggling to discern how to remain loyal to their Lord without compromise and cultural capitulation within the Church of England.

We join with all faithful orthodox Anglicans around the world in deploring this lamentable departure from ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 1:3) and call on them to declare impaired communion with those who have failed to uphold the truth and drive away error.

We commit ourselves to work with others in Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans to safeguard the gospel of Christ in a renewed faithful Anglican Communion as we continue to offer an authentic and globally recognised home under the Jerusalem Declaration.

ENDS

Note: An excellent and helpful initial critique of the House of Bishops’ proposals has been written by Rev Ian Paul at psephizo.com

The Anglican Network in Europe’s Bishop Andy Lines ordains Klaus Hickel

“The German-language congregation of the Leipzig English Church (LEC) has withdrawn from the Diocese in Europe and affiliated with the Anglican Network in Europe.

On 14 December 2022 the Rt. Rev. Andy Lines ordained to the priesthood the Rev. Klaus Hickel to lead the ANiE ministry – the first Diocese in Europe congregation to quit the Church of England for the ANiE. …

In 2012 Klaus and Judith Hinkel came to Leipzig from Australia to develop the German-language ministry at LEC.”

– Story and photo from George Conger at Anglican.ink.