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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Order or Chaos?
A New Way Forward
Association & others
Preface for North America
The hard work of
orthodox Anglicans in North America to create a new province [ACNA] and the
Federation of Anglicans in waiting, has inspired traditionalists in the UK.
This booklet, written for a British audience, reveals the search for a future
with the same ecumenical partners. If, by working in parallel, traditional
Anglicans on the various continents could achieve a rebuilding of the Catholic
Anglican witness with exciting new Ecumenical opportunities.
The loss of serious
dialogue with the other Catholic Churches of the West and East has been the
greatest price Anglicans have paid for “political correctness”. As the Church
of England in November 2013 becomes close to creating women bishops, and same
sex marriage ceremonies, a further break with orthodox faith and morality will
have taken place. So it is that with Anglicans in North America, the need to bring
order out of the chaos becomes even more urgent for us all.
We hope and pray that
in 2014 the joint consultations with all those ecclesial parties listed above,
both in Europe and America will be close to completion.
this rock I will build MY Church”.
history, the Church of God on earth, consisting as she does of human beings,
has been influenced by current secular human thought. This is particularly the
case of the Church of England today.
proportion of the present General Synod, lay and ordained, act as ifthe Church of
England is a ‘human construction’, and therefore her Faith and Orders are
subject to change by any competent, legally-constituted, human agency (of which
they considers themselves to be one).Such a view contradicts the teaching of
Jesus, and that of the popular hymn, of Samuel
J. Stone (1839—1900)
The Church’s one
Is Jesus Christ, her Lord
She is His new creation
By water and the word…
If the Church is
a Divine creation, then secular beliefs and principles, however popular at any
given time, do not provide the authority to modify, or disregard what the vast
majority of Christians have always believed to be a God-given feature affecting
her very nature.
because the “Truth” matters. (1 Tim 3 “The
body of Christ is the pillar of truth.” Moreover, actions which are
overriding Christian tradition, not only are driven through regardless of the
consequential divisions, but also making no provision for those lay or ordained
who seek to continue in the historic tradition.
This booklet has
been produced, in the Spring of 2013, after much research, in the belief that
its suggestions would afford such a provision as would become necessary for Catholics
and Evangelicals in the CofE in the event either of women, or practising
homosexuals, being ordained as bishops.
It does not seek
to address either the theological or ecclesial issues which would be involved
in taking either or both such steps. This has been frequently and adequately
and adequately dealt with to our satisfaction by such books as Consecrated
What the Anglican
Association seeks to do by publishing this booklet is to explain a course of
action which will minimise the damage being done by the widespread
introduction, not least by the Synodical Process, of misguided and erroneous
beliefs at all levels into the Anglican Communion as a whole, and in particular
and critically into the Church of England at this juncture.
So let this
booklet now speak for itself!
deliberations of the General Synod of the Church of England [CofE] grind on in
2013, Catholic and traditional Evangelical Anglicans face continuing
difficulties within the Established CofE, trying, as they have done for so
long, to maintain doctrinal and moral orthodoxy.
In 1996 Bishop
John Broadhurst, the first Chairman of Forward in Faith [FiF.UK], wrote, in the
conclusion of the book Quo Vaditis?,
about how the same predicament also existed within the Churches of Northern
Europe who have likewise succumbed to
Across the European
continent (as well as in North America and other parts of the world), there is
an urgent need for Christians of orthodox episcopal and liturgical heritage to discover
one another by setting about “working together for the day when they can be
one” and thereby grow into a single Catholic communion, and bringing with them
the richness of their distinctive histories and spiritual gifts (charismata).
That hope of the 1990s may now be close to being
realised. Developments have been quietly taking place, and the time has come to
look beyond the limitations of Canterbury and York, and create, together with
ecumenical partners, an honest and realistic means of maintaining an orthodox
Anglican patrimony into the future.
New Directions published in
April 2013 a brief article by Dr John Fenwick,
a bishop of the Free Church of England [FCE], pointing out that a small free
Anglican Province, which has already existed in England for 150 years, has now become
recognised as such by the Archbishops of the Established Church, by virtue of
action taken and announced in January 2013 – namely the ‘recognition and
acceptance’ of the Orders of the Free Church of England under the Overseas and
Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. [See appendix 1].
Anglican Association believes that Bishop Fenwick’s article deserves immediate
and serious consideration, as this is the first instance of an existing ‘Continuing
Church’ being so recognised by the CofE.
The Anglican Association, though
still hoping for a positive outcome from the General Synod, offers this booklet
with some additional information, and it would
welcome a debate on the matters raised by Bishop Fenwick in his article and on
the possibilities it may have to offer.
The Free Church of England [FCE]
The Free Church
of England has existed in the British Isles since the 1840s. Its origins lie
with Evangelical Churchmen who, though they had left the Established Church,
nevertheless wished to maintain a definite Anglican identity and liturgical
It is the sister
Church of the Reformed Episcopal Church [REC], itself now part of the Anglican
Church in North America [ACNA]. In 1876 the Free Church of England received the
historic episcopate from the REC. It is this Apostolic Succession, enriched
over the years by canonical Old Catholic and Indian Orthodox successions, that
the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have now recognised and accepted,
following several years of careful dialogue between the two Anglican bodies,
the Free Church of England and the Church of England.
As a result of
this recognition there is already a parallel jurisdiction which, we believe, will
provide a lawful place for some of us at least to exercise our ministry. The
legal framework is now in place to permit clergy of the Free Church of England
to function interchangeably with the Established Church, and for FCE and CofE congregations
to participate in “Local Ecumenical Projects”, such as already operate widely
throughout the country. This would require from the CofE no more than the same
degree of generous cooperation that she already shows to other Nonconformist churches.
In recent years the
FCE has also been looking beyond its own boundaries for secure ecumenical
partners with whom full inter-communion could be established. A natural place
to look for such partners has been those churches which once formed the Old
Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, with whom the worldwide Anglican
Churches once had bonds of communion. It was this same approach that had
inspired the leadership of Forward in Faith UK in the early days of the
In the early
1990s FiF leaders were actively working with the Northern Europeans and the Polish
National Catholic Church [PNCC] leaders in a search for a non-Papal Catholic
future, regrouping the orthodox part of the former Union of Utrecht, which had
split over the issues of the ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex unions.
has, after many years, begun to bear fruit. [See appendix 2.]
In 1999Norwegian Lutherans were admitted into the [PNCC], to
form the Nordic Catholic Church [NCC], which was subsequently given formal
recognition by the Norwegian State in 2000. These together form the Union of
Scranton, based on an agreed Declaration similar to that of the Union of Utrecht,
which specifically excludes the ordination of women and same-sex unions. Both PNCC
and NCC enjoy positive and ongoing relations both with Rome, and with the Holy
For some time the
Free Church of England has been in dialogue with the Nordic Catholic Church
[NCC]. This has recently been extended to include the PNCC. The Convocation of
the FCE has formally recognised the PNCC and NCC as sister Churches and it is
anticipated that the FCE will be invited to join the Union of Scranton. This
invitation to be united with two other Catholic jurisdictions, at last makes
possible the fulfilment in the near future of those early hopes of Forward in
Faith. [See appendix 3.]
What next ?
This means that Forward
in Faith, the Catholic Group and Catholic Societies in the Established Church, now
have friends and allies within the
UK, but outside the synodical
structures of Canterbury and York. This Free Catholic Anglican Province (the
Free Church of England) has offered to support them and work alongside them, as
they both sail together as allies and partners.
It will provide
an access to orthodoxy in the wider world and the chance of developing on-going
ecumenical life that is denied to them within the State Church. The intention
of the FCE in accepting the invitation to be in communion within the Union of
Scranton, would be not only to seek closer bonds of communion, but also facilitate
the spread of the Gospel, while ensuring the integrity of Anglican Apostolic Orders
for the future. [See appendix 4].
appreciates that her present usages differ in some respects from those familiar
to some Catholic Anglicans. Her Convocation has therefore approved a structure
that will allow those Anglicans who may find themselves unable in conscience to
continue their ministry, lay or ordained, within the Church of England, to be
given an immediate home, while allowing space for an agreed liturgical usage to
develop. It means, therefore, that those who can no longer maintain their
Catholic heritage in the CofE will be welcomed into a free jurisdiction, in
which Holy Orders are free from doubt and compromise, in line with Canon A4.
The system of Provincial Episcopal Visitors [PEVs]S has functioned fairly
well since 1993, but the present arrangements will become
unworkable, if and when the House of Bishops (of which the PEVs are presently a part) incorporates women
amongst its members. Because the collegiality of ‘impaired’
communion will then have been finally and fatally fractured, now is the time to look for, and
consider, a better alternative.
presented us by the Free Church of England will undoubtedly involve personal
hardship and self-sacrifice, and there will be many practical difficulties to
be overcome, but the top-heavy management structures that are crippling the
Established Church by turning it evermore into a business organisation, will be
a thing of the past. The Anglican Patrimony, which has been recognised by other
Christian Churches over many years as one of its gifts to the wider Church,
will be enthusiastically restored and continued.
Most importantly, the time and energy which are
currently spent in safeguarding our Heritage from its systematic erosion by
those who esteem Novelty to be in itself of greater moment than the revealed ‘Faith-once-delivered’,
will be released for evangelism, church planting, catechesis and service. We
can at last concentrate on the re-conversion of England.
The General Synod is frequently but mistakenly described in the
media as “the Parliament of the C of E”. Synod was originally designed by
Parliament in 1969 to have devolved legislative powers in order to meet the
demands that had been growing, to be free from dependency in matters of faith
and order upon the increasingly secular mind of the state legislature. The
reverse has taken place. Synods have become equally driven by the secular mind
while at the same time, loosing contact with Christian theology and history.
Driving through its politically correct agenda, the synod has been
willing to pay the price of ever more disunity, bitterness and division. Not
only division within the ranks of its own members but division with those
episcopally led Churches of the Eastern and Western Christian world with whom
it once held strong filial bonds.
Sadly in 2012 the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hillarion stated the
predicament; “... dialogues with Protestants and
Anglicans which we have had for decades are now under threat because of
processes taking place in the Protestant communities of the West and North. I
mean the continuing liberalization in the field of theology, ecclesiology and
moral teaching. Certain denominations have legitimized the blessing of same-sex
unions and the ordination of people openly declaring their non-traditional
This is not merely the loss of the hope of real unity of ancient Episcopal
Churches but goes even further by placing Christians on opposing sides.
Within the English Church, the General Synod is holding its members
captive to a hermeneutic of sociological reductionism that rejects not only the
classical Anglican mind but also the Christian mind of the Fathers, the
Apostolic Tradition. Sacred Tradition is now in conflict with the
ecclesiastical engineering that has become the agenda of Synod. At the heart of
the mind of Synod is the same political correctness that operates in British
Politics and with the same divisive results. Like the other parliament in
Westminster the whole nation is being reduced to a mess by a kind of cultural
The Anglican tradition and identity, as in the Prayer Book,
Formularies and Canons, has become progressively rarer in Synod’s discussions
and is in danger of becoming virtually extinct. When a person loses their
identity and memory it is the first stage of senility and disintegration.
Anglican principle of liberality, a generosity of spirit, has been displaced by
a militant liberalism that will not tolerate any questioning of Synod’s
policies. Opponents of Synod’s innovations, orthodox Anglicans, can no longer
have an honoured place in the Church of England. It leaves such Anglicans to
seek an Anglican solution in other alignments outside the Province of
Canterbury and York where the Christian mind can flourish again, and fidelity to the Apostolic tradition will be the proper
means for the restoration of unity among Christ's disciples
Official Statement from the Provinces of Canterbury and York.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have recognised
the Orders of the Free Church of England under the Overseas and Other Clergy
(Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967. The Measure gives the Archbishops
authority to determine whether the Orders of any Church are 'recognised and
accepted' by the Church of England.
The recognition of the Orders of the Free Church of
England follows approximately three years of contact between the bishops of the
Free Church of England, the Council for Christian Unity and the Faith and Order
Commission, which recommended that the Orders of the Free Church of England be
recognised. That recommendation was subsequently endorsed by the Standing
Committee of the House of Bishops.
When someone who was originally ordained in the Free
Church of England or any other church whose Orders are recognised under the
Measure wishes to minister in the Church of England, the first questions to be
considered are those of whether the person concerned is suitable for ministry
in the Church of England and if so, whether any further training is necessary.
Where those questions are resolved satisfactorily, the Archbishop of the
relevant Province can decide to give the minister permission to officiate in
the Church of England without re-ordination, either permanently or for a
specified period. The Right Revd Christopher Hill, Chair of the Church of
England's Council for Christian Unity, said: 'I hope there will be good
relations between us and especially in those places where there is a Free
Church of England congregation.'
In a statement, the Right Revd John McLean, Bishop
Primus of the Free Church of England, said: 'We are grateful to the Archbishops
for this recognition of our common Episcopal heritage. I pray that it will not
be an end in itself, but will lead to new opportunities for proclaiming the
Official Statement from the International Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Union of Scranton and the Free Church.
On September 15, 2012 made the following motion:-
The ICBC authorizes Bishop Flemestad of the NCC to begin a dialogue
with the Free Church of England on behalf of the Union of Scranton based upon
the ‘Requirements for Communion with the Polish National Catholic Church’ (October,
2010) with the eventual goal of membership in the Union of Scranton.
Since then Bishop Flemestad has met on several occasions with
representatives of the Free Church of England.
At a meeting
in Scranton, Pennsylvania on 11-12 February, 2013, Bishops of
the Polish National Catholic Church, the Nordic Catholic Church and the Free
Church of England met and had a very fruitful discussion during which
documentation was presented and discussed. In light of this meeting
the International Catholic Bishops Conference anticipates being able to work
with the Free Church of England to build up a Catholic jurisdiction in
the United Kingdom.
Official Statement from
theFree Church of England
Recently the Free Church of England has received
expressions of concern about developments which affect Christian life and
witness in the UK (including the likely consecration of women ‘bishops’ in the
Church of England), asking whether we are able to provide a home and oversight
for those who can not in conscience accept such developments. This we are
very happy to do.
Among those who have approached us are the Nordic Catholic
Church and the Polish National Catholic Church, who together constitute the
Union of Scranton, a communion of Churches of Old Catholic heritage. After
initial informal contact, the conversations are now authorised by the
International Catholic Bishops Conference of the Union of Scranton and the
General Council of the Free Church of England.
Our Churches have very different histories and
great care has been taken to see whether this is something that we can do with
integrity. Having examined the Declaration of Scranton (the primary doctrinal
statement of the Union of Scranton) in the light of our Declaration of
Principles, the bishops of the Free Church of England have reported to the
General Council that ‘within the degree of latitude permitted by the Bonn
“consonant in substance” with the faith of the Free Church of England.’ On that
basis the General Council has agreed that we are able to proceed.
Official Free Church of England Statement on the Declaration of
Declaration of Scranton is essentially the same as the Declaration of Utrecht,
agreed by the Old Catholics Churches in 1889, but with an additional clause
concerning the ordination of women and same-sex unions. It was agreed by the
Bishops of the Polish National Catholic Church, following the cessation of
their sacramental communion with the European Old Catholic Churches which had
departed from traditional teaching and practice on these two issues.
the 1920s the Declaration of Utrecht and the historic formularies of the Church
of England (principally the Prayer Book and the 39 Articles) were discussed by
representatives of the Old Catholic Churches and the Anglican Communion. On the
basis of these, the Old Catholic
Churches recognised Anglican Orders in 1925 and the Lambeth Conference of 1930
concluded that, ‘There is nothing in the Declaration of Utrecht inconsistent
with the teaching of the Church of England’[i]
The following year the Bonn Agreement was made between the two families of
Churches. The Free Church of
England was not involved in the discussions that led to the Bonn Agreement, but
the Free Church of England theological position was represented by the Revd
Charles Graham-Brown, Principal of Wycliffe College, Oxford and later Bishop in
Jerusalem. It was he who drafted Clause 3 of the Agreement.