Consecration Prompts Debate

Bishop Andy Lines

The Most Rev. Glenn N. Davies, Archbishop of Sydney, and the Rt. Rev. Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania, were among the bishops who consecrated the Rev. Andy Lines on July 1 as GAFCON’s missionary bishop for Europe.

Archbishop Davies wrote to Australia’s College of Bishops on June 26 to explain his decision to join the service:

The decision to consecrate a missionary bishop does not come lightly. It is very different from the decision of the parish of Jesmond in Newcastle, UK, where an assistant minister of the parish was consecrated a bishop hoping, I believe, to minister within the Church of England, despite the lack of canonical process and the agreement of either the Bishop of Newcastle or the Archbishop of York. Rather, the consecration of the Reverend Canon Andy Lines at the end of this month is for the purpose of providing episcopal oversight to those faithful Anglicans who can no longer in good conscience remain under their bishop or be a part of the church they once cherished. As a missionary bishop to Europe, Canon Andy Lines would not be ministering within the Church of England (which extends to continental Europe) or within the Scottish Episcopal Church, but rather to those who have left these churches. Since the Anglican Consultative Council has not declared ACNA to be a part of the Anglican Communion, such a ministry can no more be called ‘border crossing’ than the ministry of other Christian denominations in the UK.

As it turns out, I shall be in Wheaton, Illinois, at the time Canon Lines is to be consecrated as a bishop in the church of God. I have been invited to participate in this consecration and after consulting the Standing Committee of the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, our Primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury, I have decided to do so.

From the Primate’s response to this decision and his counsel not to participate, I understand that some of you will disagree and disapprove of my participation. I do not make the decision lightly, nor do I wish to cause division among our episcopal ranks. However, I believe that my participation is an act of solidarity with those who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Not to participate, since I shall be present, would send a signal of a different kind, and one which I do not believe would bring honour to Christ and his gospel.

Read the rest [PDF].

The Most Rev. Philip Freier, Bishop of Melbourne and Archbishop of the Australian Anglican Church, responded on July 3:

The consecration of Canon Lines and the participation of our colleagues raises significant questions how the close fellowship, co-operation and collegiality of the Communion to which I referred above is affected and, just as importantly, how individuals and member dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia should conduct themselves to live out in accordance with the Constitution the mandated model of a Church in communion with other churches of the Anglican Communion so long as communion is consistent with the Fundamental Declarations contained in the Constitution.

On 8 June 2017, the Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion, voted on same sex marriage. That day the ACNA announced their decision to proceed with the consecration of Canon Andy Lines ‘to serve clergy and congregations who are outside other Anglican structures in Europe, providing an opportunity for ordination and oversight from a perspective of Biblical orthodoxy.’ Neither the Archbishop of Canterbury (who has responsibility for Europe) nor the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church has given their concurrence to the consecration or the proposed Episcopal ministry.

Whilst I appreciate the courtesy of my Episcopal colleagues in seeking my advice, I regret very much that they have decided to act contrary to it. The consecration in the ACNA is not on any view an act in communion with the Anglican Communion and its member churches, particularly the Provinces of the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and existing jurisdictions in Europe. Whilst any individual and any diocese may form a view as to whether continued communion is consistent with the Fundamental Declarations, it is for the General Synod of our Church alone to determine such a question.

Read the rest.


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