EFAC Global calls for prayer for C of E General Synod

“The General Synod of the Church of England will be meeting in York from the 5th to the 9th of July 2024.

There will be presentations and questions on the Living in Love and Faith report on Saturday afternoon (6 July) and a 5-hour session on Monday afternoon (8 July).

The paper to be discussed is 31 pages long, but the Executive Summary is as follows…”

Anglican Mainstream has republished this call to prayer from Bishop Stephen Hale (Chair), Bishop Henry Scriven (General Secretary) and Bishop Keith Sinclair (Chair of Trustees) on behalf of EFAC Global.

Bishop of Oxford names the Alliance proposal – “disproportionate schism”.

“Dear Colleague,

I write to make a number of points in response to your letter to the Archbishops of 26th June. Your letter makes a series of charges against the bishops of the Church of England and I have no doubt has caused hurt to LGBTQIA+ Christians and their friends and family. Your threat of schism means that we find ourselves on the front pages of the national press on this issue even in the midst of a General Election campaign when the world faces so many challenges and problems. …”

– Unsurprisingly, the Bishop of Oxford, Dr. Steven Croft, doesn’t like the letter from The Alliance and believes they are exaggerating the problem and the number of people who are unhappy. (via Anglican Mainstream. PDF of the letter here via Anglican.ink.)

Among other things he writes,

“You level against the bishops again the charge of Western elitism and ignoring the views of the Global South. However, your own letters pay no attention to the very considerable consensus at the Lambeth Conference in 2022 about accepting different views on sexuality yet still walking together. …”

For background, here are some articles about the claimed “very considerable consensus” at Lambeth 2022:

Archbishop Welby denounces as un-biblical the decision of African Primates to skip the Lambeth Conference – 13 June 2022.

Orthodox bishops to offer their own ‘Lambeth Resolution’ — won’t receive Holy Communion with gay-partnered bishops – 29 July 2022.

Clarity out of Confusion: Lambeth 2022 – 08 August 2022.

Peter Jensen on Lambeth — Repentance is needed – 09 August 2022.

Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches responds to C of E General Synod vote – 10 February 2023.

Read the Letter from The Alliance to which the Bishop of Oxford is responding.

Update:

Comment from Susie Leafe at Christian Today:

“It seems that, just like the Archbishop of Canterbury before him, Bishop Croft would rather forget that hundreds of bishops boycotted the Lambeth Conference because they could not walk together with those who have departed from the teaching of the Church. It also seems to have slipped his mind that many who did attend were also very clear that they too could not walk together.

The truth is, there was no vote at Lambeth and there was no opportunity for bishops to dissent from the party line espoused by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Bishop of Oxford may have forgotten the events of 2022, but surely he cannot have missed the more recent statements from Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, who between them represent about 75 per cent of the Anglican Communion. Again and again they have said that in seeking to change the teaching and practice of the Church, the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury have forfeited their leadership role of the global Communion. …”

A Paper Province or a Proper Province?

“With the announcement of a ‘Parallel Province’, Anglican Futures asks, has The Alliance found the answers to the intractable problems of providing orthodox episcopal oversight within the Church of England? …”

– In the latest post at Anglican Futures, the question is asked how a ‘Parallel Province’ might actually work. The post reminds us how important it is for members of The Alliance to tease out how their goal, if it is needed, would be achieved.

It’s also a good reminder that wisdom would be a good thing to pay for.

“The Alliance” coalition writes to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Alliance – “a broad coalition of leaders of networks across different traditions supported by more than 2,000 clergy within the Church of England” has written to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York outlining their plans to form – if necessary a “parallel Province”.

“…we want to inform you that we are now proposing a positive way forward to allow those churches who support the Church’s teaching to carry on their mission and pipeline of ministry securely, founded on the Church’s doctrine.

If the further departure from the Church’s doctrine suggested by the Synod papers does go ahead, we will have no choice but rapidly to establish what would in effect be a new de facto ‘parallel Province’ within the Church of England and to seek pastoral oversight from bishops who remain faithful to orthodox teaching on marriage and sexuality.

We will encourage all church leaders who are in sympathy with The Alliance to join the parallel Province.

We will take action with immediate effect to open up a new pre-ordination stream for potential ordinands, in partnership with orthodox bishops, to reverse the decline caused in part by this unconstitutional and unorthodox process.

We are not leaving the Church of England or the Anglican Communion. We wish to stay loyal to the one holy catholic and apostolic Church throughout the world rather than be part of a schismatic move which departs from the teaching received…”

They conclude,

“We urge you, even at this late stage, to honour your oaths as archbishops and bishops in England and to follow the lawful constitutional path to preserve the unity of the Church throughout the Anglican Communion.”

Download the full letter (PDF file) from The Alliance website.

CEEC welcomes orthodox bishops’ statement ahead of Synod

“CEEC is grateful to the group of 11 bishops who have today published* a warning, ahead of General Synod, that the LLF proposals currently on the table would go against church doctrine, further endanger the unity of the church and by-pass proper canonical process.

We commend the courage of these bishops as they write, ‘we are among a number of bishops unable to support the direction of travel presented to the bishops at our most recent meeting, or the proposals to be brought to General Synod later this month.’

We support the assertion of this group as they state that while they support the emphasis on and importance of unity highlighted in the proposals, they believe that the proposals will not ‘protect our unity in mission to the nation or our partnerships within the wider Church.’…”

– Read the full Statement from The Church of England Evangelical Council.

Egypt: A CEEC perspective from John Dunnett, National Director

The Church of England Evangelical Council’s National Director, John Dunnett, reports on the GSFA First Assembly in Egypt –

“It was an amazing privilege to attend the gathering of 200 archbishops, bishops, senior leaders and lay brothers and sisters from 40 different countries.

There was an incredible sense of unity amongst people from radically different cultures and backgrounds, all united in the gospel. …

I was struck by a real sense of disbelief, shock, grief and betrayal at the Church of England’s continued departure from its biblical doctrine…”

Read it all here.

Can the Church of England afford same-sex blessings?

“The General Synod meeting in York next month is being overshadowed by revelations of the dire financial state of most of the Church of England’s 42 dioceses.

The staggering picture of the C of E’s financial decline in the Diocesan Finances Review Update, circulated to Synod members ahead of their July meeting, comes as the C of E’s bishops seek approval for their plan to allow standalone services of blessing for same-sex couples to go ahead on an experimental basis. …”

– Julian Mann highlights the multiple financial woes facing the Church of England as the House of Bishops steams ahead with same-sex blessings.

Church Society responds to the latest LLF proposals from the Bishops

“Another synod, another paper on LLF. So, what do we have?

Within the synod paper there is much discussion about ‘discernment’, the idea being, no doubt, to reassure us all that no irreversible decisions are being taken. However, it is important to note that this is not discerning prior to acting but rather discerning through action. Standalone services of blessings for same sex couples will be allowed, and this will be monitored annually through ‘existing data or feedback gathering models’. All this for a three year period.

This is a curious thing. It is normally considered more prudent to discern whether something is right or wrong before you act. When crossing the road it is wise to check there is no traffic before you step out. True, just heading onto the road and being struck by a car would help you discern it was not safe, but would it not be better to have looked for traffic first? Especially when others on the pavement are shouting: ‘Stop!’

This is particularly the case when it comes to issues such as this one …”

Church Society looks at the latest LLF proposals from the Church of England’s House of Bishops and asks, “Is it possible to hold multiple doctrines simultaneously [?]”. You probably know the answer.

Many related earlier posts on LLF here.

(Image modified from a photo by Philip Clark.)

Cof E ‘forfeits leadership’ role in Communion declare Global South Anglicans

“Global South Anglican leaders meeting in Cairo last week repeated their statement that the Archbishop of Canterbury and C of E had “forfeited” leadership and vowed to press on with creating new structures for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Some 200 Global South Anglicans met in Cairo to hear the Archbishop of Sudan, Justin Badi Arama, state that membership of the Communion had shifted ‘from geography to doctrine’. …”

– From The Church of England Newspaper. Republished at Anglican Mainstream.

Photo: Archbishop Justin Badi Arama at Lambeth in 2022, with thanks to the Lambeth ’22 Resource Group.

Canterbury Cathedral to offer Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples

“Same-sex couples already in civil partnerships or civil marriages, or who have sealed a covenanted friendship, can now be offered Prayers of Love and Faith at Canterbury Cathedral, following a unanimous decision by the Dean and governing Chapter. This step has already been taken by many churches and cathedrals. …”

– As if to underline the importance of both GAFCON and the just-concluded GSFA Assembly, Canterbury Cathedral has published this announcement. (With thanks to Anglican.ink for the tip.)

Photo: Dr David Monteith, Dean of Canterbury, with thanks to Canterbury Cathedral.

Related:

Global South Bishops ‘aggrieved’ by appointment of new Dean of Canterbury – October 2022.

Can the GSFA help the CofE bishops tell right from wrong?

“Church of England bishops are not known for their transparency – but sometimes there is a rare glimmer of honesty, particularly when a journalist is prepared to ask the right question.

This week, Dave Piper, a radio journalist, used Facebook to ask Rt Revd Martyn Snow, the Bishop of Leicester a simple question and wonderfully he received an honest answer. …”

This post at Anglican Futures looks at the dilemma facing the Church of England Bishops who want unity over truth.

By way of answer, it draws attention to the address at the GSFA Assembly by the Rev. Sam Ferguson, Rector of The Falls Church Anglican in Virginia:

“Living up to the challenge, in less than an hour, he set out three of the unarticulated assumptions which shape the world in which we live and are seen in the LGBT movement.  He then offered a glorious, biblical alternative to each one.”

Is Article 20 a Roadblock to “Prayers of Love and Faith” in the Church of England?

Quick answer: “Yes”.

Longer answer at Anglican Futures.

Related:

Prayers of Love and Faith” – Church of England.

Gerald Bray Interview on the BCP — Church Society

From Church Society:

“Lee Gatiss talks to Gerald Bray about Gerald’s new Companion to the Book of Common Prayer.”

Listen here.

Why isn’t the House of Bishops prepared to engage?

“It is now fairly clear what the next stage of the Prayers of Love and Faith process will be. In July the House of Bishops will propose that stand alone services for the blessing of same-sex couples (including those who have entered into a civil same-sex marriage) will be permitted under the terms of Canon B5 and will also propose that the current discipline forbidding clergy to be in same-sex marriages will no longer be applied in at least some dioceses

It is also clear that, at the moment, the bishops are absolutely intransigent in refusing to even consider the possibility of either a provincial settlement to meet the needs of traditionalists as requested by CEEC, or even some kind of non-provincial transferred episcopal arrangements for traditionalists.

The maximum they seem prepared to offer is some kind of regionally arranged delegated episcopal oversight, which would still  leave traditionalists under the ordinary jurisdiction of their diocesan bishops regardless of where that bishop stands on the sexuality issue.

What struck me as I digested this news over the weekend is that in coming to their current positions the bishops appear to have simply ignored four key statements made into three previous House of Bishops’ documents.…”

– Martin Davie points out key failures of the Church of England’s House of Bishops.

Image: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Church leaders urge bishops to offer ‘pastoral provision’ to ordinands, as an urgent priority

“Church leaders have called on bishops in the Church of England to allow ‘pastoral provision’ for those being ordained this summer and going forwards, as an urgent priority.

Church leaders, who are part of the Alliance, issued a letter to all diocesan bishops in the Church of England, following a meeting with 80 ordinands last Thursday in London…”

– Report from the Church of England Evangelical Council.

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