The Church Times is reporting that three English un-named priests ordained in Kenya by the chair of the GAFCON Primates council are ready to serve parishes in a Church of England diocese that has not invited nor authorized them to function. Five English bishops are also ready to defy local diocesan bishops that they disagree with by sending these three (and other?) clergy into places they are not authorized to go.
The three unnamed clerics were ordained in Kenya on 11 June by the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, who chairs the GAFCON Primates’ Council, formed after the Global Anglican conference in Jerusalem in 2008. All three come from the diocese of Southwark. The diocese said on Wednesday that it had received no request for permission to officiate there.
Dr Williams was in Kenya last week. A Lambeth spokeswoman was unable to say this week whether the two had discussed this development.
The three still unnamed priests are from the Diocese of Southwark and they are to be sent into that diocese if the Bishop allows openly gay and partnered clergy to minister in the diocese.
The Revd Charles Raven, the director of the Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine, wrote on the organisation’s website on Thursday of last week that the three men had gone to Kenya to be ordained “because the English diocesan bishop concerned had refused to give any assurances that he would uphold biblical teaching on homosexual practice”.
The chairman of the AMiE steering committee is the Revd Paul Perkin, Vicar of St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, and the group’s secretary is Canon Chris Sugden.
These men could also attempt to function in a diocese that would have a woman bishop.
The Archbishop of Kenya wants the three to operate under the Church of England's Overseas Clergy Measure but be under the care of a Kenyan bishop, not an English one. Presumably that would mean that not only the clergy would report to the Kenyan Bishop, but that the Kenyan Bishop would also sooner or later come to England to minister to any congregation that refused their local bishop's ministry.
Dr Sugden said that the group was awaiting a response from Dr Williams to Dr Wabukala’s request that the three clergy be granted permission to officiate under the Overseas Clergy Measure. The chairman of Reform, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, said that “episcopal oversight” of the three men “has been delegated to the AMiE bishops”.
The AMiE has appointed its own “panel” of five bishops “to provide effective oversight in collaboration with senior clergy”. The panel consists of one serving bishop, the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, and four retired bishops: Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Rt Revd John Ball, the Rt Revd Colin Bazley, and the Rt Revd John Ellison.
The Church Times twice contacted Bishop Benn’s office asking for comment, but did not receive a response
Thinking Anglicans has two responses to these developments.
Riazat Butt says:
...this means if you don’t like your bishop you can have another one that fits more neatly with your world view. They don’t even have to be a bishop in the Church of England. I have three words for you – cross-border intervention. I also have four words for you – church within a church. What do the sages at Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe have to say about this parking of tanks on the CoE lawn? I’ll tell you – nothing! What should they say? Get off my land, that’s what.
Savi Hensman wrote:
In May, a statement was issued by the council of primates (most senior bishops) of Gafcon/FCA, which lamented “the promotion of a shadow gospel that appears to replace a traditional reading of Holy Scriptures and a robust theology of the church with an uncertain faith and a never ending listening process”. Yet for many, the “listening process” on sexuality never truly started…
Fulcrum is concerned that the divisive breakaway strategies that have been at work in the US are now being readied for England.
The creation of a society with a conservative evangelical ‘political’ agenda not simply mission
The creation of a panel of bishops that signals the intention of offering alternative oversight without collaboration with senior leaders of the Church of England
Indications that the society will take its own path in the authorisation of ministry, as evidenced by its approval of the recent secret ordinations in Kenya, which is an escalation of the earlier regrettable Southwark ordinations