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.