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Church of England
World News

Breakaway Anglican group unable to work with CofE following same-sex vote

by Heather Preston

The Anglican Network in Europe (ANiE) says it cannot carry out episcopal ministry within the Church of England (CofE), after it voted to bless same-sex unions.

The House of Bishops' proposals from the Living in Love and Faith process were passed at General Synod last week.

At the time, the ANiE gave a statement "lamenting" the CofE's decision, calling it a "betrayal in the abandonment of the sufficiency and supremacy of scripture."

Following this, the ANiE, a conservative Anglican group which broke away from the Church, has produced a document to clarify its future service to the CofE, as part of the Anglican Communion "and to be clear about what we are unable to offer in this context."

"To those in the Church of England who share the biblical convictions that authentic Anglicans have always held, we, your brothers and sisters of the Anglican Network in Europe commit ourselves to praying for you…"

"We do not envy you in the dilemmas you face in remaining faithful to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor do we seek to take advantage of your discomfiture. There will be many different strategies that you will consider adopting as you seek to do this."

The document says ANiE will seek to serve people through prayer, one-to-ones for those wanting to process their emotions and clarify their thinking, invitations to attend events and Q&As and support for those deciding to leave the Church of England.

It says it will focus on "continuing to build a healthy Anglican jurisdiction where the biblical Jesus is worshiped, where his people are cared for, where the gospel is preached faithfully to the nations."

ANiE says it cannot offer informal episcopal oversight to those who choose to remain and contend within the Church of England (or the Scottish Episcopal Church or Church in Wales).

It will also not carry out any episcopal ministry within the Church of England (or the Scottish Episcopal Church or Church in Wales) - including ordination and licensing of clergy, confirmation, baptism, presiding at Holy Communion, preaching and oversight and discipline of clergy and congregations.

"We will seek to honour the consciences, decisions and timing of faithful brothers and sisters whether they remain and contend within Canterbury-aligned provinces or seek alternative provision.

"We do not believe that ‘delegated’ or ‘extended’ episcopal oversight or ‘external episcopal visitors’ works in practice or in the long-term because every church and licensed clergy person in the Church of England is legally under the authority and oversight of the Diocesan Bishop.

"Practically this means that ordination, succession and church planting remain (by law) with the Diocesan Bishop. Pastorally it means that the care and discipline of clergy remains with the Diocesan Bishop, the Church of England’s codes of conduct and the diocese’s safeguarding policies and procedures."

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