Best wishes and a rebuke as ACNA ordains “Missionary Bishop” for Europe

Following through on GAFCON’s recent announcement of a Missionary Bishop to offer alternative oversight in provinces deemed to be insufficiently orthodox, the ACNA ordained Canon Andy Lines on Friday at Wheaton, IL.

Writing for ACNA, the Rev. Canon Phil Ashley maintained,

Canon Andy Lines’ consecration will not be irregular or invalid.  His Holy Orders in the Province of South America have been duly and lawfully transferred to, and likewise received by, the ACNA. He will be consecrated by acting primates, archbishops and bishops of the Anglican Communion. His consecration will fall within the historical tradition of faithful Bishops who have created order in the Church during times of crisis. These are times when faith and doctrine have been threatened by others’ failure to guard against false teaching—or worse, have actively promoted such false teaching.

GAFCON was particularly exercised over the Scottish Episcopal Church’s recent decision to move towards marriage equality in that province.

According to Christian Today, the Bishops of Blackburn, Birkenhead, and Maidstone in the Church of England have offered their support and prayers for the ordination, with the Rt Rev. Rod Thomas stating,

‘I therefore welcome the steps that GAFCON (the global fellowship of orthodox Anglicans) is taking to support those who are seeking to stand firm by the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships, and wish to assure Canon Andy Lines of my prayers as he becomes a missionary bishop.’

But the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, wrote an open letter to his bishops, decrying in measured tones the attendance of two of their number at the ordination service.

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.

Our Consecration of Bishops Canon 1966 mandates the permissible manner of consecration of bishops.  It binds all of us as bishops in the Church. It provides expressly for the circumstances of a bishop consecrated to serve in Australia being consecrated in a Church in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia in accordance with s6 of the Constitution and stipulates the manner of that consecration.  It does not appear to provide expressly as to the current circumstances.

In a photo caption, Christian Today wrote that, “Andy Lines has been told by the Archbishop of Canterbury his authority will not be recognised by the Church of England.”

Read more at Christian Today, and find Archbishop Freier’s open letter here.

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