Comments: GAFCON launches its Society: AMIE

Watch your backs, CoE

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 12:43am BST

One way to draw attention to one's group is to change the name. The new acronym spells out to the feminine of "friend" in French. Smart move.

I note the group is dedicated to the conversion of England. I wonder if a secondary intention might be the conversion of the Church of England.

Posted by Grandmère Mimi at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 2:03am BST

Well well well.
I wonder how - or if - the ABC will respond to this. Will His Aloofness even notice it? He's so busy lecturing others on their own bidness.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 3:40am BST

"The AMIE is determined to remain within the Church of England…"

Well, perhaps. And the American Anglican Council includes folks who are still nominally Episcopalians. However, when one considers the history of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), and the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), I would warn the Church of England to be alert and cautious.

It does not help that this is in some sense sponsored by the FCA folks. Some of those primates have, after all, made clear their willingness to walk apart from communion with Canterbury.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 5:17am BST

Deja vu -- good luck +Rowan - now you will see what we in TEC have been suffering.

Posted by Ann at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 5:35am BST

"The AMIE is determined to remain within the Church of England"

As if!

How will they reconcile that w/ "There is a steering committee and a panel of bishops. The bishops aim to provide effective oversight in collaboration with senior clergy"?

There already IS "oversight": that's what a bishop is!

This new structure is INEVITABLY going to compete w/ established episcopal order. I'll leave it to better minds to guess what happens then...

Posted by JCF at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 5:48am BST

This is a wonderful development! It's very encouraging to know that orthodox Christianity will have a future within the CoE. I'm sure all thinking Anglicans will welcome this, so that no one will be forced out and the CoE will remain inclusive, even making room for the 'faith once delivered.'

Posted by Robert M at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 6:48am BST

it is more like a cancerous growth - it seems to me.

They re wasting their time.

Does England need converting ? If so what to ? What do this crew have to offer anyone ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 8:58am BST

And there's me, still high from Corpus Christi last night, thinking I WAS an orthodox Anglican - thank Heavens I am SEC and not C of E!

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 9:12am BST

'....dedicated to the conversion of England...'

I remember the conversion of England in about 1974 was it? A man came to the house and converted us to natural gas. So what are these people going to try to convert us to I wonder? Interesting that they don't actually say. Which seems to indicate to me that their priority isn't actually the good of our souls but the imposition of their beliefs on the rest of us through the exercise of their power. I am just heartily glad that England, for the past 60 years or so, including the infamous 'Decade of Evangelism', has proved itself impossible to convert (except to natural gas).

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 9:34am BST

I wonder who the three english clergy ordained in Kenya are? Where were they trained? Did they go through the system here and at some point drop out? I wonder what their precise status is, in England, given the Overseas Clergy Act?

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 9:53am BST

I can imagine the Leaders of the Anglican Churches in North america will be saying to the archbishops of England and Wales - "Don't say we didn't warn you" - of what would happen in the GAFCON churches got their own way in the United Kingdom.

People like 'ministers' Chris Sugden and Charles Raven are anxious to prove their credibility as authentic moves and shakers in the Mission of the Orthodox to the Churches of England and Wales. May the Church of England stop the rot right now by reviewing the licences of those involved in this hubristic piece of evangelical brinkmanship.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 12:11pm BST

Robert M: Conservative Evangelicalism with a unique fixation upon the morals of the 1950s was not "the Faith once delivered" to the C of E, as any real conservatives well-read in ecclesiastical history would surely know.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 12:48pm BST

Convert or conquer?

Posted by Counterlight at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 1:38pm BST

"People like 'ministers' Chris Sugden ... May the Church of England stop the rot right now by reviewing the licences of those involved in this hubristic piece of evangelical brinkmanship."

I'm sure Sugden holds a licence somewhere but as far as I am aware - apart from a curacy several decades ago - he has never had a parish nor been employed in any context within the Church of England!

Posted by Laurence C. at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 2:22pm BST

Do you think my message got through , and they are not using a Catholic Saint as their patron or for their name?

Note how the Methodists started as a Church within a church, and ended up as the biggest schism in Anglican history.

In the US there are 10 million plus Methodists and 2 million Episcopalians.

Posted by Robert ian Willaims at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 5:00pm BST

For the CofE audience..... for those of you who really want to know what is in store, please review the documents in the Calvary/ Diocese of Pittsburgh case while +Duncan was bishop. You will read constant denials by the attorneys representing Pittsburgh that it had any notion of leaving the Episcopal Church. Ironically, the judge hearing the case actually restated the concern of Calvary in that it believed that was the intention of the diocese since, it was obvious to him as it was to anybody but Pittsburgh, that that was the concern. Now, this, I admit was 2005, but, by 2007 and the "secret" memo by Duncan to the Global South Steering Committee, (secret being in the title of the memo) revealed in the discovery of follow-up litigation for enforcement, it was absolutely clear that it was their intention and to take the property with them. Even the judge could see this document as the smoking gun that that was their intention. Now it is possible that ++Duncan could have come to this position in a developmental mode...assuming that the development was his realization that he was not going to get what he wanted i.e. a church within a church. But, if the US/ Canada experience is predictive, church within a church only will work if the inner circle gets its way, if it doesn't, well then a glance across the pond to your ex-colonies might prove instructive.

Posted by EmilyH at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 5:50pm BST

“In the US there are 10 million plus Methodists and 2 million Episcopalians.”—Robert Ian Willaims

Yes, but Robert many of these American Methodists are much more “high church” than most Sydney “Anglicans” in that they have altar lights, choral services, and a few Methodist churches even use incense once in a while.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by Kurt at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 6:13pm BST

And Robert Ian Williams, at last count there were 22 different Methodist denominations in the US. Church splitting is as natural as sunrise and sunset it seems.

Posted by Brian at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 10:54pm BST

The Methodists, as I recall, are about as deeply split and conflicted over the gay issue as the Anglican Communion, at least in this country. They are hardly a model of perfect unanimity on just about everything. In my experience (I was born and raised in that church), Methodists range from fire-breathing apocalyptic fundamentalists to liberation theologians and feminists to the left of the most left-wing Episcopal congregation.

Posted by Counterlight at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 12:40am BST

Will Presiding Bishop Katharine send an official observer to their first AGM? That would seem to balance what Fr Seville is doing at ACNA's Provincial Council.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 3:18am BST

I am so glad the new body will be standing up for Biblical truth and I look forward the the reintroduction of polygamy, capital punishment by stoning and genocide.

The more I read about these groups the more their obsessional opposition to homosexuality looks like plain old prejudice, nothing to do with the Bible at all.

Posted by sjh at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 7:44am BST

The AIME is determined to remain within the Church of England.

Of course it is! Evangelicals of a particular sort have always seen the C of E as the best boat to fish from. Parochial religion and what follows from Establishment is an enormous benefit.They know that if they left their buildings the number of laity who would follow would be few..and the costs of setting up your own church ( buildings/rents, clergy costs/pensions etc) extremely high in a church culture where giving is not that great despite years of stewardship campaigns. And in the posher churches like St Helens Bishopsgate there would be no cachet in belonging to a conventicle.

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 1:01pm BST

Mark Harris has written about this:

As predicted, the wedge is driven, the oak is being split, the CofE will learn.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 26 June 2011 at 9:14pm BST

Brian..there are 29 bodies claiming to be Anglican in the US as well...they number in total about 100,000 souls.

So I was right the most successful Anglican schism was the Methodist schism.. the united Methodist Church has 8,000,000 members.

Posted by robert ian Williams at Sunday, 26 June 2011 at 9:45pm BST

The Church Mouse has written about this also, see
Why Rowan Williams should respond early to AMIE

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 27 June 2011 at 9:47am BST

Perhaps Ministry Division might shed some light on the three young clergymen "of the highest calibre" ( Charles Raven). If they have trained for 2/3 years at a C of E College, are they going to pay the money back?? Min Div needs to be vigilant I think...esp if ordinands start displaying separatist tendencies at refusing to receive communion in placement churches etc ( a phenomenon which I encountered when I was a DDO)or even at the college itself. Bishops need to withdraw sponsorship at an early stage and nor shilly shally or a lot of money will be wasted on ordinands who will either not be ordained in the C of E or drop out within a year or two...

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 27 June 2011 at 11:03am BST

Expect the Methodists to split again over the gay issue. They are only a step behind the Anglicans.

In the USA, they already split once before over slavery (poor John Wesley! the very idea of people who called themselves his followers defending slavery, something he worked vigorously to end, would have broken his heart). They came back together, after a century. And now, they may well split again, curiously along the same regional and demographic lines as the first split.

Posted by Counterlight at Monday, 27 June 2011 at 5:42pm BST

SJH - I fear this may be a stereo-type as from me extensive experience with evangelicals...and even the most conservative.... (within the UK that is) I haven't found them to have an "obsessional opposition to homosexuality". Passionate about the Gospel and teaching the Bible, yes. Being homophobic and speaking with

Perry - St Helen's Bishopgate...the church is in the centre of London's "mile" and consquently the number of people who actually live in the parish is very small - the number who attend sunday services is very big. There is no parish benefit for St. Helen's I would have thought....

Perry - why should they pay money back? They trained at a C of E College and are now ordained in the C of E...

Posted by AH at Tuesday, 28 June 2011 at 10:03am BST

AH: These young men were ordained in Kenya and not in England. They may be ordained in the Kenyan Church and perhaps be able to have their orders recognised in The Church of England, receiving a Permission to Officiate or a Diocesan Bishop's Licence. Please be more precise in what you say and accurate in what you claim.

Posted by commentator at Tuesday, 28 June 2011 at 4:38pm BST

Apologies Commentator for the ambiguity on my part. I was meaning the C of E in the broadest sense of the worldwide Anglican church but understand that, of course, they have not been ordained in this province. However with the launch of AMiE are desiring to be recognised within the C of E in England. The thing that strikes me in all this is the desire of AMiE, FCA and GAFCON not to break away and start their own denomination but rather to still be part of the very diverse Anglican Communion which is afterall what is unique and good about Anglicanism.

Posted by AH at Tuesday, 28 June 2011 at 11:58pm BST

"Passionate about the Gospel and teaching the Bible, yes. Being homophobic and speaking with" - AH

Precisely! It's only those higher up the food chain who are causing all this mischief.

Posted by A J Barford at Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 7:58am BST


There is no worldwide Anglican Church. There is a confederation (communion) of various churches claiming a common heritage in Anglicanism. For instance, the CofE is the Church of ENGLAND, not The Church Universal of Anglicanism, and its authority, rights, responsibilities and privileges stop at the UK.

Also, quite apart from wishing to remain *in* a diverse family of churches, it is readily apparent that the intention of such organizations as GAFCON and AMiE is to remake the entire Anglican Communion *into* a worldwide church in their own conservative image, squelching the diversity and claiming - by their own declaration, in the case of GAFCON - the right to declare themselves the *only* true Anglican body within the provinces with which they are disaffected. To claim they wish to ". . be part of the very diverse Anglican Communion . . ." is singularly inconsonant with reality. They wish to become THE Anglican Communion, and remove any but the most surface appearances of "diversity."

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 8:18am BST St Helens point was that people who go there are affluent professional people. They wouldnt relish being part of a schismatic body worshipping in a Primary school Hall like many Independent Churches..and what social cachet would they have if they werent in some sense flying under C of E colours?

re the young "Kenyan" clergy. If they were accepted for training by the C of E it was on the expectation that they would serve a title in the Church of England and minister within it.Thats why an awful lot of National Church and Diocesan money was invested in them esp if they underwent residential training. They can only be accepted under the Overseas Clergy Act if they have a job in the C of E to go to or at least are capable of being licensed by a C of E bishop.

Posted by Perry Butler at Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 3:15pm BST

"Precisely! It's only those higher up the food chain who are causing all this mischief."

If only that were true!
As contact point for Changing Attitude in my Diocese I have to say, though, that homophobia and active anti-gay bullying are rife much much lower down the food chain and that many feel that the official church position legitimises their behaviour.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 5:17pm BST

AH, the schismatics in North America started with the same spin about being loyal. They lied.

Of course, it is possible that the AMIEites really mean what they say, but given how intertwined they are with the North American schismatics, I rather doubt it.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Wednesday, 29 June 2011 at 5:24pm BST

"If only that were true!" - Erika Baker

It is true, Erika! Attitudes cascade down from on high...

Posted by A J Barford at Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 12:23pm BST

So my real life examples are... inventions? Not actually as bad as all that? Only the responsibility of those higher up the grease pole?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 12:39pm BST

"So my real life examples are... inventions?"


"Not actually as bad as all that?"


"Only the responsibility of those higher up the grease pole?"


Posted by A J Barford at Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 3:51pm BST

A Barford

Do you think we could possibly have a proper conversation? One where you don't just make cryptic remarks?
I get the feeling we're both not that far apart but I never quite understand what you're trying to say.

You say that it's "only" those higher up the food chain who cause mischief, my experience is that this cuts right through all layers of organised Christianity.
You counter that by ignoring what I said and just cryptically stating that attitudes percolate top down, and then you appear to agree with me that my appalling experiences from the grassroots level are correct.

Please... a proper conversation where people engage with the points made and give reasons for their reply so it can be understood properly and, in turn, engaged with?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 9:41pm BST

Sorry Erika. I completely agree with you on this and don't feel the need to add or subtract from what you have said.

Posted by A J Barford at Friday, 1 July 2011 at 3:37am BST
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