Reform threatens to walk

Thinking Anglicans provides a roundup of the just concluding Reform Conference. Included is this link to an article by Ruth Gledhill of The Times who smells schism; Us? We’re skeptical. An excerpt from Gledhill:

Without agreement from the Synod of the kind that set up “flying bishops” for traditionalists who opposed women bishops, to seek alternative oversight from a bishop outside the diocese would be tantamount to schism in all but name.

Two bishops in the frame to provide this oversight are the Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali and the Bishop of Lewes Wallace Benn.

However, it is also possible that Reform could consecrate its own new bishops, in effect setting up a “rival” Church of England diocese.

Of the 25 congregations understood to be interested, several are already outside the formal structures of the established church, having failed to win recognition from their local diocese. A new structure would also bring these congregations into the fold.

It would be run under the auspices of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, the new body set up by the summer’s Global Anglican Future meeting of conservative Anglican bishops, clergy and laity from around the world.

Even without a discount for possible hyperbole this doesn’t sound like much.

Meanwhile, from Sydney, Peter Jensen continues to assert “Persistent attempts to portray GAFCON as a breakaway movement or an attempt to split the Anglican Communion are perverse, almost malign. … [The Anglican Communion] is a highly significant entity, to be cherished and maintained, not torn apart. The aim of GAFCON is to renew and invigorate the Communion and to help bring order and peace out of the mayhem created by the American division.”

Addendum: Thinking Anglicans makes the address by Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, available here. A phrase jumps out: “the reason we’re interested in Episcopal oversight at all is that we believe in being part of an Episcopal church for good theological and pragmatic reasons. We are not Congregationalists in that we believe it biblical to be connexional. It is right therefore that it should not simply be the local congregation that validates its own senior ministry.”

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