Thursday 25 June 2009

Why are Church of England bishops betraying the Communion?

We have reached another seminal moment in the threatened destruction of the Anglican Communion by newly-formed networks of dissidents, Provinces and Primates who claim to represent the majority of the Communion – 80% according to one English bishop. This isn’t a threat coming only from overseas, from North America, Africa, South America and the Far East but from within our own church. We may be heading for schism, or the destruction of the Communion as at present constituted, or the failure and collapse of the dissident movement and the return of the majority to the fold. It’s impossible to predict.

The dissident plot involves the abandonment of the Archbishop of Canterbury as head of the Communion and the replacement of the Communion as at present constituted by the other three Instruments. Instead we will have a Communion of the so-called faithful orthodox constituted around the 39 Articles and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. This Communion will deny an equal place in the church to women, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people among others.

One crucial plot development has been taking place this week in Bedford, Texas. The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) has been formally constituted, adopted Canons and recognised Archbishop-in-waiting Bob Duncan as its head. We’ll return to him in a moment. It proclaims itself to be the legitimate Province for the USA and Canada, aiming to replace The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, because it says it's more orthodox than them.

The next crucial plot development takes place on 6th July in Westminster Central Hall, London, when the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FoCA) is launched in the UK and Ireland. This event is another building block in the dissident scheme to replace the Church of England as currently constituted with a GAFCON-style church.

Both events are timed to precede and trump the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Anaheim from 8th to 17th July and the Church of England General Synod meeting in its shadow in York.

How is the Communion responding to this strategically choreographed threat to its future? A number of English bishops are supporting the threatened take-over.

On behalf of the Church of England Evangelical Council, Bishop Wallace Benn of Lewes (left) and Archdeacon Michael Lawson (right) sent greetings and expressed delight to be in full communion with the dissident Province. On behalf of Anglican Mainstream Canon Chris Sugden (left, who is present at the meeting) and Philip Giddings sent very warm greetings, rejoicing at this very significant stage of development and expressing their fellowship and communion in the Lord with the dissident body. Philip Giddings (right) is Vice Chair (House of Laity) of the General Synod of the Church of England.

A report posted by Anglican Mainstream says that Archbishop Bob Duncan informed the assembly on Tuesday that greetings had been received from the Bishops of Rochester (below left), Winchester (below right), Chester and Chichester. The Bishop of Rochester is speaking at a meeting on Sunday 5th July in support of the launch of FoCA.

The bishops of Lewes, Rochester, Winchester, Chester (right) and Chichester (left) and the Lay Chair of General Synod are all supporting a dissident, ultra-conservative, reactionary movement which aims to destroy and replace the Anglican Communion as at present constituted.

The plan doesn’t end with replacing Provinces in North America. The FoCA launch on the 6th July is the first step in a movement to replace the four UK Anglican Provinces. The only names missing from this list of usual suspects are the bishops of Blackburn (left) and Exeter (right) who signed a letter of support for Bishop Bob Duncan last year.

Whether from ignorance, naivety or deliberate intent, these bishops and a senior lay person have committed themselves to a strategy designed to destroy the Church of England. They may think the strategy will rescue the Church of England from falsehood and error. The majority of Anglicans in this country do not agree with them.

What puzzles me is, how do the rest of the House of Bishops tolerate such dissent? Changing Attitude would like to know why English bishops and senior lay people are prepared to support groups which treat LGBT people and women as inferior third class citizens at best. At worst, they don't believe gay people exist and advocate prejudice and intolerance.


  1. We accept the Bible not butt-sex. Get over it you corrupt fruitcake. I won't even begin to address the lies and distortions is this smear-posting of yours.

  2. Brilliant post! Thank you.

  3. Sorry for a second comment - my comment was directed to the post, not the comment from the anonymous idiot who "won't even begin to address the lies and distortions in this smear-posting" because anonymous cannot do so - there are no lies in your post. Keep up the great work.

  4. Will anyone in the Church of England call them to account? Or is Rowan ok with all of this?

  5. I'm sorry, but the Church of England is already an eyeblink from death. As a national church, its titular head is the Queen of England - and its next head will be the Prince of Wales, who has demonstrated a total antipathy to the unique sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

    The issue driving the establishment of the Anglican Church of America goes beyond homosexuality and the rejection of homosexual practices and lifestyles. It goes to the very heart of the church's witness of the historic Christian faith to the world, of adherence to truth as expressed in Scripture, in the historic Three Creeds, and in the 39 Articles of Faith.

    The side of the American schism (it's real) which happens to control the brand name "Episcopal" has chosen to impose their own brand of truth on individual Christians and congregations who don't adhere to their own brand of liberal worship and the creation of a God in their own image. That side has forced Christian people, laity and clergy, to walk away from church buildings, endowments, clergy retirement, and myriad other wealth in the name of truth and conscience.

    (Wait - doesn't this sound like the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?)

  6. Sad .. sad .. sad.

    When Jesus met the adulterous women in [John 8:11] he forgave her, her sin AND commanded that she go and sin no more. Homosexuality is no different than all others sins, and must not be accepted as 'normal', but as sinful.

    This utter lack of willingness to conform ourselves to Christ shows that not only are the sheep in trouble, the but he shepherds that lead them astray are as well.

    The verse [Mark 7:7] speaks volumes.

  7. Perhaps the Church could consider an alterntive move: reduce the number of dioceses to about 5 or so, as in the middle ages. That would allow bishops to concentrate on their core responsibilities and stop jockeying for prominence. It's the same problem with having too many MPs: they all want their say and they all think they're right.

  8. As though the dissidents would stop at North America and not take aim at what is still viewed as the jewel in the crown of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England.

    Did the Archbishop of Canterbury not see that the dissidents would head in his direction, as he scolded and lectured the Episcopal Church on how to be a church? We'll see how well his wisdom works in holding things together in the CofE.

  9. "That side has forced Christian people, laity and clergy, to walk away from church buildings, endowments, clergy retirement, and myriad other wealth in the name of truth and conscience."

    Excuse me anonymous, could you please give us the name and location of a single clergy person, parish or diocese formerly part of the Episcopal Church that walked away leaving behind the wealth of the Church?

    The clergy pensions remain in their names and are available for them to claim at retirement age.

    Parish and diocesan property of the Episcopal Church is currently being illegally held by the schismatics, who are forcing the Episcoal Church to take them into Court to obtain writs and orders to recover the property and assets of the several parishes and Dioceses.

    In every case, of which I am aware, the schismatics only returned property and assets after Court Orders were issued or the vestries determined that the costs could not be justified when they would in the end lose based on case law precedents.

  10. "That side has forced Christian people, laity and clergy, to walk away..."

    Further, no one has been FORCED to walk away--some in the US have CHOSEN to walk away from the Episcopal Church, but no one has been FORCED to do so.

  11. The story of the woman taken in the act of adultry (where was the guy?) has Jesus waiting until the last of the sanctimonious hypocrites has left before he addresses the woman. Unseemly the comfort they take in knowing that the Master did tell her off in the end.

    Unwillingness to conform to Christ? Where does Jesus say anything about homosexuality (as we now call this aspect of the range of sexuality) -- except where he commended the faith of a Roman centurion and healed his young lover.

    Murdoch Matthew

  12. Someone asked "is Rowan OK with all this?"

    I doubt it, but what can he do except ignore the ACNA. As for the dissident UK bishops - shame on them! I suspect they will be privately spoken to but not publically reprimanded for fear of deepening division.

    I do actually belive that in retrospect all this is more likely to appear as a blip on the graph of the Church rather than look like the events of the 16th century.