UK: GAFCON bishop loses permission to officiate

UK: GAFCON bishop loses permission to officiate
Bishop of Southwark blocks Bishop Andy Lines from ministry

CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWSPAPER
July 28, 2017

GAFCON’s appointment of a missionary bishop to Europe suffered a setback this week after the man they consecrated last month has his permission to officiate in the Diocese of Southwark withdrawn.

Such permission is necessary for a priest to undertake any duties in a Church of England parish.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Southwark told The Church of England Newspaper this week: “All PTOs in the Diocese of Southwark fall due for renewal on 30 June each year. Andy Lines wrote to explain that he had moved his canonical residence to the Anglican Church in North American and in view of this change in circumstance his PTO has not been renewed.

“This is a Provincial matter and would need to be dealt with at a Provincial level.”

Supporters of GAFCON in the UK expressed their surprise this week at the move, and it likely to inflame still further the discontent conservative evangelicals feel with the leadership of the Church.

Many are unhappy at two recent votes on General Synod — one on so-called conversion therapy for people with “unwanted same-sex attraction” and a second authorizing liturgies to mark a person’s gender transition.

The vote last month by the Scottish Episcopal Church to permit same-sex weddings in churches had been anticipated by the GAFCON group, who moments after the vote announced that Andy Lines would be consecrated as their missionary bishop for Anglicans in Scotland, the UK and Europe.

He was duly consecrated as a bishop by the Anglican Church in North America’s (ACNA) College of Bishops.

This week the director of REFORM, Susie Leafe, commented: “It is extraordinary that the Bishop of Southwark would with to prevent a godly, mission-minded man like Andy Lines from ministering in the diocese.”

Questions are being raised by conservatives because the Church of England recognises the ministry of the Anglican Church in North American as well as The Episcopal Church.

Prior to the news about the removal of Andy Lines’ permission to officiate, a number of conservative evangelicals wrote to The Daily Telegraph to express their unhappiness and to suggest that new arrangements would be considered later in the year.

The developments will prove uncomfortable for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who as an evangelical will find himself at odds with those in his own constituency in the Church.

This issue of human sexuality had dogged the Church for decades but after a General Synod rebuff to the House of Bishops’ statement in February a new Teaching Document on the subject was promised. Conservatives fear that the Church of England is now on a more liberal trajectory than they will accept.

Comments after the February Synod by Archbishop Justin Welby and John Sentamu signalling a new policy of “radical inclusion” has also angered conservatives who view traditional views on marriage as a defining point of the Christian faith.

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