Two well-known evangelical churches distance themselves from Church of England leadership
St Helen's Bishopsgate church says “there is no long-term security for Church of England evangelical churches”. St Ebbe's clergy states that they “are in impaired communion with the bishops in our diocese”.
Christian Today · LONDON · 03 MARCH 2023 · 16:25 CET
The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) publicly stated that by doing that “it disqualified herself from leading the Communion as the historic 'Mother' Church”, so that they “no longer recognise the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as the 'first among equals' leader of the global Communion”.
For Gafcon, another global evangelical movement inside the Anglican Church on a international level, the decision “attacks the very core of biblical authority”, and they also asked Welby “to step down from his role in leading the Anglican Communion”.
But they are not the only ones, the list of churches and individuals, inside and outside the Anglican community, that are turning their backs on the Church of England continues to grow.
Pursuing a closer union with orthodox Anglican leaders
William Taylor, pastor of St Helen's Bishopsgate, one of the largest churches in London, recently announced that they are actively pursuing a closer union with orthodox Anglican leaders.
In a video message, Taylor stressed that with its decision to bless same-sex unions, the Church of England sets aside the views of traditionalist Anglicans, putting their desire for “an institutional political consensus before the authority of Word of God”.
“Despite the very substantial minority vote in the House of Clergy and Laity, the bishops seem determined to persist with their proposals, exalting their own views above a very substantial minority of those who cannot accept it”, he added.
According to Taylor, “leadership cannot be deemed effective when vast sways refuse to follow […] there can be no long term security for Church of England evangelical churches or clergy”.
Although “the bishops of the Church of England have walked away from us”, St Helen's pastor pointed out that they want to remain within the Church of England.
That is why St Helen's annual clergy review process will now fall under the supervision of Archbishop Foley Beach, chair of Gafcon, who, along with the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, and other conservative leaders, publicly supported Taylor's statement.
No more payments to the Church of England
The decision of the Church of England, has also led St Ebbe's Oxford, a large Anglican evangelical church also in London, to divert payments previously made to the Oxford diocese to a trust fund.
“St Ebbe's clergy have already declared that we are in impaired communion with the bishops in our diocese, which means that we will not welcome them to preach, confirm, ordain or conduct our ministerial reviews, and we will not take communion with them”, said St Ebbe's rector, Vaughan Roberts.
He underlined that the St Ebbe's Parochial Church Council (PCC) has “taken action to ensure that any money we pay within the diocese is distributed via the Oxford Good Stewards Trust (OGST) and is only used for faithful gospel ministry and essential administrative costs".
St Ebbe's operations minister, Tim Dossor, explained that donations into the OGST Oxford Diocese Fund are granted to the diocese on a monthly basis, so that “St Ebbe's PCC is currently scrutinising the Oxford diocese budget with considerable care”.
When they complete the scrutiny, “the PCC will make a grant to the OGST Oxford Diocese Fund that covers the ministry costs of St Ebbe's and the many faithful support activities of the Oxford diocese (...) The PCC will grant any remainder from the total sum that has been requested for Parish Share to the OGST to support ministries which uphold the Church's traditional teaching on marriage. for the present both the Rector and Curate stipends are paid for by the diocese/Church of England”, added Dossor.