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Diocese of Liverpool
UK News

Liverpool Diocese "crossed a line" recruiting pro-same sex marriage bishop

Chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) , Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, has become the latest Anglican figure to criticise the decision to appoint Rt Revd Susan Goff from Virginia as an honorary assistant bishop.

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh, who is also Primate of All Nigeria at the Anglican Communion, warned the focus of GAFCON's concern is "increasingly with the British Isles", adding "the false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalised in England."

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His statement follows a letter published by the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, defending he decision to invite Rt Revd Susan Goff, who is the Suffragan bishop of Virgina.

The bishop said: "I remain delighted that our ministry here will be enriched by what Susan will bring to us as a teacher, pastor and disciple.

"She will also be able to hear and to engage with the wide range of views in our Diocese on the way the Gospel is understood in these days."

Bishop Paul Bayes said he regretted a decision by a Nigerian bishop to withdraw from a three-party diocesan partnership involving to Diocese of Liverpool and the Diocese of Virginia, in light of Rt Revd Goff's role.

Simeon Borokini, Bishop of Akure Diocese, wrote: "...being aware of the fact that Nigeria does not support same sex marriage, we in Akure Diocese cannot have any link with Liverpool Diocese."

Gay Marriage - Copyright Alain Robert / Apercu / SIPA / SIP / REX

Speaking on Premier Christian Radio's News Hour programme, Susie Leafe from Reform - a group which includes conservative Church of England churches - said Bishop Paul Bayes' decision was an "unnecessary and provocative step."

She said: "What we have seen is that Bishop Paul Bayes has chosen to appoint someone into a position of authority - it is an honorary position but it is a position of authority - to bring the Episcopal church into the heart of Liverpool Diocese."

Bishop Paul said: "Despite the tensions that beset us, the Anglican Communion still testifies to the love of the God who brings us together. In Liverpool I want us to play our part in this testimony of love.

"In the Holy Scripture we read "If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Rom 12:18).

"In this spirit, I want to continue as far as I can to walk together with partner dioceses, to learn from them, and to engage in fruitful conversations both about the issues which divide us and the matters that bind us together."

GAFCOM's Archbishop Nicholas Okoh says he organisation has a role in restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion - the organisation which represents international Anglican community.

He added: "When the GAFCON movement began in 2008 with our first conference in Jerusalem, my predecessor as Primate of All Nigeria and former Chairman, His Grace Peter Akinola, declared that GAFCON was a rescue mission for the Anglican Communion.

"His words were prophetic and they are being fulfilled. Let us be confident of all that is yet to come. Let us work and pray for the reform and renewal of our beloved Communion.

"Let us trust in our God who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think."

You can listen to Susie Leafe from Reform speaking with Premier's Aaron James by clicking here.

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