Twelve New Zealand parishes have founded a new Gafcon diocese and chosen a bishop.

“By the grace of God we are a new Anglican Diocese in these Islands, standing firmly in Anglican faith and practice, and structurally distinct from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia,” the group said in a statement released May 17.

The group said it has elected the Rev. Jay Behan, vicar of St. Stephen’s Church in Christchurch, as its founding bishop.

Gafcon’s Primates’ Council said in its most recent communiqué: “The Council gladly endorses the new Diocese, recognizes it as authentically Anglican, declares itself to be in full communion and celebrates our common life. The Council encourages the participation of Gafcon bishops in the consecration of the new Bishop, once duly elected for the Diocese.”

John Martin

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